The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises – What is fire engineering? – Part 5

October 19, 2020 11:35 am

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 4 of Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises, LWF considered what fire engineering is, from the perspective of fire safety in healthcare environments. In part 5, we look at the design process for fire engineering in more detail.

As mentioned in part 4 of this series, BS 7974 – Application of fire safety engineering principles to the design of buildings. Code of practice.  outlines an approach to the design process which begins with qualitative design review, followed by a quantitative design review, which, if it fails, returns to the qualitative design review stage. Upon the review passing, the results are reported and the process finishes.

At the design stage and most particularly, at the qualitative design stage, the interaction of the healthcare building systems must be considered along with the detailed performance of the fire-protection systems. HTM 05-03 – Part J aims to guide individuals on the subject of fire engineering and provide an overview of the processes followed.

The qualitative design review, as the beginning of the fire safety design process, is where the scope and objectives are defined and the performance criteria established. For a detailed quantitative assessment, one or more potential designs will be considered and if the proposed designs are unsatisfactory, the process of the qualitative design review will be repeated and new or amended designs will be presented.

For large projects, the qualitative design review will be undertaken by a team including members of the design team, fire engineers and, potentially, representatives from building control, the fire service, the trust fire adviser and insurers.

The design should be checked and signed off by professionally qualified staff. The results of the qualitative design review must be included in the final design report submitted for approval. In cases where the initial design does not meet the performance criteria, a new design will be required.

In Part 6 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at how the presented fire safety engineered designs should be assessed. 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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