Section 16 Vehicle access

Vehicle access

  1. Introduction
    1. Buildings not fitted with fire mains
      1. Buildings fitted with fire mains
        1. Design of access routes and hard-standings


          16.1For the purposes of this Approved Document vehicle access to the exterior of a building is needed to enable high reach appliances, such as turntable ladders and hydraulic platforms, to be used and to enable pumping appliances to supply water and equipment for firefighting, search and rescue activities.

          Access requirements increase with building size and height.

          Fire mains (see Section 15) enable firefighters within the building to connect their hoses to a water supply. In buildings fitted with fire mains, pumping appliances need access to the perimeter at points near the mains, where firefighters can enter the building and where in the case of dry mains, a hose connection will be made from the appliance to pump water into the main.

          The vehicle access requirements described in Table 19 for buildings without fire mains, do not apply to blocks of flats, because access is required to each individual dwelling (see paragraph 16.3), or to buildings with fire mains.

          Vehicle access routes and hard-standings should meet the criteria described in paragraphs 16.7 to 16.10 where they are to be used by fire and rescue service vehicles.

          Notes:Requirements cannot be made under the Building Regulations for work to be done outside the site of the works shown on the deposited plans, building notice or initial notice.

          In this connection it may not always be reasonable to upgrade an existing route across a site to a small building. The options in such a case, from doing no work to upgrading certain features of the route e.g. a sharp bend, should be considered by the Building Control Body in consultation with the Fire and Rescue Service.

          Buildings not fitted with fire mains

          Table 19

          16.2There should be vehicle access for a pump appliance to small buildings (those of up to 2000m2 with a top storey up to 11m above ground level) to either:

          • a15% of the perimeter; or
          • bwithin 45m of every point on the projected plan area (or ‘footprint’, see Diagram 48) of the building; whichever is the less onerous.

          16.3There should be vehicle access for a pump appliance to blocks of flats to within 45m of all points within each dwelling.

          Notes:If the provisions in paragraph 16.2 or 16.3 cannot be met, a fire main should be provided in accordance with paragraph 15.3 and vehicle access should meet paragraph 16.6.

          16.4Vehicle access to buildings that do not have fire mains (other than buildings described in paragraph 16.2) should be provided in accordance with Table 19.

          16.5Every elevation to which vehicle access is provided in accordance with paragraph 16.2 or Table 19 should have a suitable door(s), not less than 750mm wide, giving access to the interior of the building. Door(s) should be provided such that there is no more than 60m between each door and/or the end of that elevation (e.g. a 150m elevation would need at least 2 doors).

          Buildings fitted with fire mains

          Table 20

          16.6 In the case of a building fitted with dry fire mains there should be access for a pumping appliance to within 18m of each fire main inlet connection point, typically on the face of the building. The inlet should be visible from the appliance.

          16.7In the case of a building fitted with wet mains the pumping appliance access should be to within 18m and within sight of, a suitable entrance giving access to the main and in sight of the inlet for the emergency replenishment of the suction tank for the main.

          Notes:Where fire mains are provided in buildings for which Sections 15 and 17 make no provision, vehicle access may be to paragraph 16.6 or 16.7 rather than Table 19.

          Design of access routes and hard-standings

          Diagram 50

          16.8A vehicle access route may be a road or other route which, including any inspection covers and the like, meets the standards in Table 20 and the following paragraphs.

          16.9Where access is provided to an elevation in accordance with Table 19 for:

          • abuildings up to 11m in height (excluding buildings covered by paragraph 16.2(b)), there should be access for a pump appliance adjacent to the building for the percentage of the total perimeter specified;
          • bbuildings over 11m in height, the access routes should meet the guidance in Diagram 49.

          16.10Where access is provided to an elevation for high reach appliances in accordance with Table 19, overhead obstructions such as cables and branches that would interfere with the setting of ladders etc, should be avoided in the zone shown in Diagram 49.

          16.11Turning facilities should be provided in any dead-end access route that is more than 20m long (see Diagram 50). This can be by a hammerhead or turning circle, designed on the basis of Table 20.