Are Sprinkler Heads Required in Elevator Shafts?
It could be said that the world relies on certain man-made devices, such as elevator shafts in various buildings. Not only does it save time when travelling in high-rise complexes, but it also helps ensure that buildings are inclusive to groups such as the disabled. But, what about if a fire breaks out in the building? Are sprinkler heads a legal requirement in elevators? Find out all you need to know here.
Fire Safety Requirements
As new and improved The Fire Safety Act brings new regulations to buildings across the UK, including having a “responsible person” that is designated to hold risk assessments, it is important to know where sprinklers fit in. Currently, sprinkler heads are not a mandatory feature, yet are the most effective form of fire prevention.
The “responsible person” typically would fall to the landlord or owner of the building; meaning that they will have to check certain areas and assess them in reference to a fire evacuation. If a fire does break out, tenants or occupants in buildings should never take an elevator, always taking the stairs or remaining in their room.
However, due to the constant friction of the elevator travelling up and down a building, there is also a potential for a fire or smoke emergency. Much like a chimney, the lift space can assist a fire to grow larger; expanding easily to each floor. For this, sprinkler heads should be considered in certain parts of the elevator shaft.
Where Are Sprinkler Heads Required in Elevators?
In elevators, they are permitted in three main areas. In the elevator pit, which is the bottom of the hoistway, an automatic sprinkler system is required at a maximum height of 2ft above the floor. This means that if a fire did break out, it will be suppressed from the bottom up, helping to stop the spread to any lower levels. However, the top of the shaft depends on the style of the elevator. If the style is non-combustible, sprinklers can be omitted; whereas if it does not meet this requirement, pendant sprinkler heads are required.
In the machine room or control space, an automatic sprinkler system is required as a method to suppress any fire or smoke. This is due to the elevator equipment inside that will need protecting; as it could contain highly flammable equipment. However, these sprinkler systems should only go off once all electrical equipment is turned off. This should be considered before installation, so make sure a professional fire sprinkler company is there for guidance. The actual interior of the lift does not require mandatory sprinkler heads. Typically, the exterior sprinklers will be able to suppress the flames.
How Can Fires Be Prevented From Spreading?
In high-rise complexes, fire-rated doors should be installed on each floor. If a fire did break out on one of the floors, it is important to stop the spreading. Especially on top-level floors where it is harder to evacuate. The “responsible person” should ensure that these precautions are in place, in case of an emergency.
But, what about inside particular rooms? Well, that answer is easy. Having an automatic sprinkler system installed means that if a fire does break out, the suppression is immediate and will stop the fire from spreading further. Sprinkler heads are beneficial for rooms such as kitchens, where accidents are more likely bound to occur. Then, whilst the sprinkler head is dealing with the fire, it gives people more time to evacuate and react to the situation.
For an efficient sprinkler installation guide, make sure you are hiring a reliable sprinkler company.
RAD Fire Sprinklers
RAD Fire Sprinklers promotes domestic sprinkler system installation in all buildings across the UK. We understand the importance of fire safety and how sprinklers can prevent damage and save lives. Sprinkler heads are the most effective form of fire suppression and can properties safe for years to come.
For more information, or to receive a quote, fill out our online contact form. Or, call us on 01892 680090 and speak to a member of our team.