The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Venting of Basements – Part 62

February 18, 2019 2:09 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 61, LWF considered the effects of smoke on basement levels and the use of venting. In part 62 of this series, we will look at the mechanical extraction of smoke from basement levels and the construction of outlet ducts and shafts, before introducing the forthcoming overview of HTM 05-03: Operational Provisions.


While natural ventilation of basement levels in healthcare buildings is used as standard, there can be situations where natural ventilation either isn’t possible or isn’t sufficient. In these cases, mechanical ventilation is an alternative when used alongside a sprinkler system which adheres to the conditions in BS EN 12845:2015 – Fixed firefighting systems. Automatic sprinkler systems. Design, installation and maintenance.


The mechanical air extraction system must provide at least 10 air changes per hour and should be capable of dealing with gas temperatures of up to 300°C for not less than an hour. The system should be automatically activated along with activation of the sprinkler system and/or the fire detection and alarm system.

Outlet ducts and shafts for both mechanical and natural ventilation systems, including any associated bulkheads over them, should be fully enclosed in non-combustible fire-resisting construction.


Where natural smoke outlet shafts from different basement compartments of the same storey, or from different basement storeys are in use, they should be separated from each other by the use of non-combustible fire-resisting construction.


Fire safety measures for health sector buildings (HTM 05-03) covers a range of general fire safety measures that apply throughout healthcare premises and works alongside the other HTM documents in the Firecode series.


Part 63 of LWF’s blog series will begin by looking at the scope and background of HTM 05-03 and the role of management and staff in designing, implementing and disseminating fire safety and prevention policies in healthcare venues and in providing suitable training for staff members in order for them to act appropriately and responsibly in a fire situation.


LWF’s aim in reviewing the series, as fire engineers, is to reflect upon the content of the original text and add any relevant information which might prove interesting and informative. The original document should be consulted by responsible persons to provide a basis for any fire prevention and safety decisions.  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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