Section 17 Access to buildings for firefighting personnel

Access to buildings for firefighting personnel

  1. Introduction
    1. Provision of firefighting shafts
      1. Number and location of firefighting shafts
        1. Design and construction of firefighting shafts
          1. Variations for block of flats
          2. Rolling shutters in compartment walls

            Introduction

            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

            Diagram 51

            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.