The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Relationship to BS 5839-1 – Part 115

February 17, 2020 2:37 pm

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, our aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 114, LWF looked at occupant profiling – the ways in which the behaviour of people who will use the healthcare building should affect the measures provided to protect them from fire. In part 115, we will look at how fire alarms and fire detection systems in healthcare buildings relates to BS 5839-1.

Fire alarms and fire detection systems in buildings are covered by British Standard 5839-1. The standard is a code of practice with general recommendations for most building types, there are, however, no specific recommendations contained within which relate to healthcare buildings. The standard does not make recommendations that fire alarm systems should be installed in a particular type of building, it simply provides a code of practice for system design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire alarm and detection systems where they are considered suitable for use.

HTM 05-03: Operational provisions Part B: Fire detection and alarm systems provides more specific guidance and is designed to supplement BS 5839-1. It does so by:

i) applying the recommendations of the standard to healthcare premises which are occupied by dependent and highly dependent patients
ii) amplifying and interpreting specific clauses of the standard in light of the above, and;
iii) providing additional recommendations over and above those given in BS 5839-1 and which may apply and modify that standard.

With that in mind, it is important that HTM 05-03 is read in conjunction with BS 5839-1 and that HTM 05-03 is intended to supplement and in some areas, increase the standards required by BS 5839-1. Where HTM 05-03 amends requirements of BS 5839-1, one example being reducing audibility of the alarm in patient areas, this should be recorded on the design, installation and commissioning certificates.

Contracts for fire detection and fire alarm systems in healthcare premises should comply with both standards, despite the fact that both documents contain recommendations rather than specifications. The recommendation given in HTM 05-03 is that contracts should include appropriate technical specifications interpreting the recommendations to suit the particular site circumstances.

In Part 116 of the series, LWF will consider the function of fire alarms in dependent occupant environments. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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