The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Sprinklers – Part 45

October 25, 2018 12:51 pm

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 44 of this blog series, we began discussing the use of sprinkler systems in healthcare venues and in part 45, we continue from that point with such issues as zoning arrangements, life-safety sprinklers and the related standards.


Automatic Fire Detection (AFD) zoning arrangements should take precedence over the sprinkler system including in the cause and effect, this should help to avoid conflict.


Many sprinkler systems are installed in buildings, whether healthcare or not, to protect property and contents by slowing down the development of fire, with the potential for some sprinkler systems to extinguish a small fire before it is able to grow and ‘take hold’.


Other sprinkler systems are installed for the protection of life and these are known as ‘life-safety sprinkler systems’. They are defined in BS EN 12845 Fixed firefighting systems. Automatic sprinkler systems. Design, installation and maintenance as “sprinkler systems forming an integral part of measures required for the protection of life”.


Life-safety sprinkler systems can be enhanced by the inclusion in the design of quick-response sprinkler heads which allow the system to activate quickly, once the sprinkler heads have achieved their operating temperature (in cases where the sprinkler heads are heat-detecting). This allows the system to work much more quickly than in conventional heads which are generally developed for the purposes of property protection.


Where it is required that a sprinkler system is installed, either throughout the building or in part, it should be designed in accordance with the requirements of BS EN 12845:2015 – Fixed firefighting systems. Automatic sprinkler systems. Design, installation and maintenance (the document which has replaced document BS5306-2, stated as an alternative in HTM 05-02) and is to include the relevant hazard classification together with the special requirements for life safety systems.


It should be noted that any sprinkler system installed to satisfy the requirements of HTM 5-02 or Part B of the Building Regulations should be regarded as a life-safety system. However, there may be certain circumstances which mean that a particular life safety requirement stated in BS EN 12845 is considered inappropriate or unnecessary. Such circumstances must be addressed fully in the design document.


In part 46 of this series, LWF will look at the water supplies for sprinkler systems. 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 Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.


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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