17.1In low-rise buildings without deep basements fire and rescue service personnel access requirements will be met by a combination of the normal means of escape and the measures for vehicle access in Section 16, which facilitate ladder access to upper storeys. In other buildings, the problems of reaching the fire and working inside near the fire, necessitate the provision of additional facilities to avoid delay and to provide a sufficiently secure operating base to allow effective action to be taken.
These additional facilities include firefighting lifts, firefighting stairs and firefighting lobbies, which are combined in a protected shaft known as the firefighting shaft (Diagram 52).
Guidance on protected shafts in general is given in Section 8.
Notes:Because of the high degree of compartmentation in blocks of block of flats, the provisions for the design and construction of firefighting shafts is different to other buildings.
Provision of firefighting shafts
17.2Buildings with a floor at more than 18m above fire and rescue service vehicle access level, or with a basement at more than 10m below fire and rescue service vehicle access level, should be provided with firefighting shafts containing firefighting lifts (see Diagram 51).
17.3Buildings in Purpose Groups 4, 5 and 6 with a storey of 900m2 or more in area, where the floor is at a height of more than 7.5m above fire and rescue service vehicle access level, should be provided with firefighting shaft(s), which need not include firefighting lifts.
17.4Buildings with two or more basement storeys, each exceeding 900m2 in area, should be provided with firefighting shaft(s), which need not include firefighting lifts.
17.5 If a firefighting shaft is required to serve a basement it need not also serve the upper floors unless they also qualify because of the height or size of the building. Similarly a shaft serving upper storeys need not serve a basement which is not large or deep enough to qualify in its own right. However, a firefighting stair and any firefighting lift should serve all intermediate storeys between the highest and lowest storeys that they serve.
17.6Firefighting shafts should serve all floors through which they pass.
17.7Shopping complexes should be provided with firefighting shafts in accordance with the recommendations of Section 3 of BS 5588-10:1991.
Number and location of firefighting shafts
17.8Fire fighting shafts should be located to meet the maximum hose distances set out on paragraph 17.9 or 17.10 and at least two should be provided in buildings with a storey of 900m2 or more in area, where the floor is at a height of more than 18m above fire and rescue service vehicle access level (or above 7.5m where covered by paragraph 17.3)
17.9If the building is fitted throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with paragraph 0.16, then sufficient firefighting shafts should be provided such that every part of every storey, that is more than 18m above fire and rescue service vehicle access level (or above 7.5m where covered by paragraph 17.3), is no more than 60m from a fire main outlet in a firefighting shaft, measured on a route suitable for laying hose.
17.10 If the building is not fitted with sprinklers then every part of every storey that is more than 18m above fire and rescue service vehicle access level (or above 7.5m where covered by paragraph 17.3), should be no more than 45m from a fire main outlet contained in a protected stairway and 60m from a fire main in a firefighting shaft, measured on a route suitable for laying hose.
Notes:In order to meet the 45m hose criterion it may be necessary to provide additional fire mains in escape stairs. This does not imply that these stairs need to be designed as firefighting shafts.
Design and construction of firefighting shafts
17.11Except in blocks of flats (see paragraph 17.14), every firefighting stair and firefighting lift should be approached from the accommodation, through a firefighting lobby.
17.12All firefighting shafts should be equipped with fire mains having outlet connections and valves at every storey.
17.13A firefighting lift installation includes the lift car itself, the lift well and the lift machinery space, together with the lift control system and the lift communications system. The shaft should be constructed generally in accordance with clauses 7 and 8 of BS 5588-5:2004. Firefighting lift installations should conform to BS EN 81-72:2003 and to BS EN 81-1:1998 or BS EN 81-2:1998 as appropriate for the particular type of lift.
Variations for block of flats
17.14Where the design of means of escape in case of fire and compartmentation in blocks of flats has followed the guidance in Sections 3 and 9, the addition of a firefighting lobby between the firefighting stair(s) and the protected corridor or lobby provided for means of escape purposes is not necessary. Similarly, the firefighting lift can open directly into such protected corridor or lobby, but the firefighting lift landing doors should not be more than 7.5m from the door to the firefighting stair.
Rolling shutters in compartment walls
17.15Rolling shutters should be capable of being opened and closed manually by the fire and rescue service without the use of a ladder.
- Diagram 1 Gallery floors with no alternative exit
- Diagram 2 Flat where all habitable rooms have direct access to an entrance hall
- Diagram 3 Flat with restricted travel distance from furthest point to entrance
- Diagram 4 Flat with an alternative exit but where all habitable rooms have no direct access to an entrance hall
- 5 Multi-storey flat with alternative exits from each habitable room except at entrance level
- Diagram 6 Multi-storey flat with protected entrance hall and landing
- Diagram 7 Flats served by one common stair
- 8 Flats served by more than one common stair
- Diagram 9 Common escape route in small single stair building
- 10 Travel distance in dead-end condition
- 11 Alternative escape routes
- 12 Inner room and access room
- Diagram 13 Exits in a central core
- Diagram 14 Open Connections
- Diagram 15 Merging flows at final exit
- Diagram 16 Subdivision of corridors
- Diagram 17 Dead-end corridors
- Diagram 18 Maximum travel distances in a small two or three storey premises with a single protected stair to each storey
- Diagram 19 Progressive horizontal evacuation in care homes
- Diagram 20 Refuge formed by compartmentation
- Diagram 21 Refuge formed in a protected stairway
- Diagram 22 Max travel distance in a small three storey premises with a single stair to each storey
- Diagram 23 Max travel distance in a small two storey premises with a single open stair
- Diagram 24 External protection to protected stairways
- 25 Fire resistance of areas adjacent to external stairs
- Diagram 26 Lighting diffuser in relation to ceiling
- Diagram 27 Layout restrictions on Class 3 plastic rooflights TP-b rooflights and TP b lighting diffusers
- Diagram 27a Layout restrictions on small Class 3 plastic rooflights TP b rooflights and lighting diffusers
- Diagram 28 Compartment floors illustration of guidance in paragraph 8.16
- Diagram 29 Compartment walls and compartment floors with reference to relevant paragraphs in Section 8
- Diagram 30 Junction of compartment wall with roof
- Diagram 31 Protected shafts
- Diagram 32 Uninsulated glazed screen separating protected shaft from lobby or corridor
- Diagram 33 Provisions for cavity barriers
- Diagram 34 Cavity wall excluded from provisions for cavity barriers
- Diagram 35 Fire-resisting ceiling below concealed space
- Diagram 36 Provisions for cavity barriers in double-skinned insulated roof sheeting
- Diagram 37 Pipes penetrating structure
- Diagram 38 Enclosure for drainage or water supply pipes
- Diagram 39 Flues penetrating compartment walls or floors
- Diagram 40 Provisions for external surfaces or walls
- Diagram 41 Relevant boundary
- Diagram 42 Notional boundary
- Diagram 43 Status of combustible surface material as unprotected area
- Diagram 44 Unprotected areas which may be disregarded in assessing the separation distance from the boundary
- Diagram 45 The effect of a canopy on separation distance
- Diagram 46 Permitted unprotected areas in small residential buildings
- Diagram 47 Limitations on spacing and size of plastic rooflights having a Class 3 or Class D-s3 d2 or TP b lower surface
- Diagram 48 Example of building footprint and perimeter
- Diagram 49 Relationship between buildings and hardstanding access roads for high reach fire appliances
- Diagram 50 Turning facilities
- Diagram 51 Provision of firefighting shafts
- Diagram 52 Components of a firefighting shaft
- Diagram 53 Fire-resisting construction for smoke outlet shafts
- Diagram C1 Measurement of door width
- Diagram C2 Cubic capacity
- Diagram C3 Area
- Diagram C4 Height of building
- Diagram C5 Number of storeys
- Diagram C6 Height of top storey in building
- Diagram C7 Free area of smoke ventilators
- Diagram D1 Classification of Purpose Groups
- Diagram E1 Recessed car parking areas
- Table 1 Limitations on distance of travel in common areas of blocks of flats - see par 2.23
- Table 2 Limitations on travel distance
- Table 3 Minimum number of escape routes and exits from a room tier or storey
- Table 4 Widths of escape routes and exits
- Table 5 Maximum distances of travel in small premises with a protected stair
- Table 6 Minimum widths of escape stairs
- Table 7 Capacity of a stair for basements and for simultaneous evacuation of the building
- Table 8 Minimum width of stairs designed for phased evacuation
- Table 9 Provisions for escape lighting
- Table 10 Classification of linings
- Table 11 Limitations applied to thermoplastic rooflights and lighting diffusers in suspended ceilings and Class 3 plastic rooflights
- Table 12 Maximum dimensions of building or compartment - non-residential buildings
- Table 13 Maximum dimensions of cavities in non-domestic buildings - purpose Groups 2-7
- Table 14 Maximum nominal internal diameter of pipes passing through a compartment wall-floor - see par 10.5 onwards
- Table 15 Permitted unprotected areas in small buildings or compartments
- Table 16 Limitations on roof coverings
- Table 17 Class 3 or Class D-s3 d2 plastic rooflights limitations on use and boundary distance
- Table 18 TP a and TP b plastic rooflights limitations on use and boundary distance
- Table 19 Fire and rescue service vehicle access to buildings excluding blocks of flats not fitted with fire mains
- Table 20 Typical fire and rescue service vehicle access route specification
- Table A1 Specific provisions of test for fire resistance of elements of structure etc
- Table A1 continued
- Table A2 Minimum periods of fire resistance
- Table A3 Limitations on fire-protecting suspended ceilings (see Table A1 Note 4)
- Table A4 Limitations on the use of uninsulated glazed elements on escape routes]
- Table A5 Notional designations of roof coverings
- Table A6 Use and definitions of non-combustible materials
- Table A7 Use and definitions of materials of limited combustibility
- Table A8 Typical performance rating of some generic materials and products
- Table B1 Provisions for fire doors
- Table C1 Floor space factors
- Table D1 Classification of Purpose Groups
- Table Maximum dimensions of building or compartment (non-residential buildings)