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BRITISH STANDARD

Fire precautions in the design and construction of buildings —

Licensed copy:RMJM, 29/08/2005, Uncontrolled Copy, © BSI

Part 8: Code of practice for means of escape for disabled people

UDC 614.841.334:699.81:[692.65.622.14 + 621.876 + 721.052.8–058.762]

BS 5588-8: 1988


BS 5588-8:1988

Committees responsible for this British Standard The preparation of this British Standard was entrusted by the Fire Standards Committee (FSM/-) to Technical Committee FSM/14, upon which the following bodies were represented:

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Association of Metropolitan Authorities British Fire Services’ Association British Gas plc British Retailers’ Association Building Employers’ Confederation Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers’ Association Consumer Policy Committee of BSI Department of Education and Science Department of Health and Social Security Department of the Environment (Building Research Establishment (Fire Research Station)) Department of the Environment (Housing and Construction Industries) Department of the Environment (Property Services Agency) Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland Electricity Supply Industry in England and Wales

Fire Brigades’ Union Fire Insurers’ Research and Testing Organisation (FIRTO) Fire Offices Committee Fire Protection Association Health and Safety Executive Home Office Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors Institute of Building Control Institution of Fire Engineers Institution of Gas Engineers Institution of Structural Engineers National Council of Building Materials Producers Royal Institute of British Architects Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Scottish Development Department Timber Research and Development Association

The following bodies were also represented in the drafting of the standard, through subcommittees and panels: Access Committee for England Association of British Theatre Technicians Centre on Environment for the Handicapped Cinematograph Exhibitors’ Association of Great Britain and Ireland Flat Glass Manufacturers’ Association Hevac Association Intumescent Fire Seals Association

This British Standard, having been prepared under the direction of the Fire Standards Committee, was published under the authority of the Board of BSI and comes into effect on 29 February 1988 © BSI 11-1998 The following BSI references relate to the work on this standard: Committee reference FSM/14 Draft for comment 85/44120 DC ISBN 0 580 16408 X

Joint Committee on Mobility for the Disabled National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom Royal National Institute for the Deaf Scottish Council on Disability Sports Council Steel Window Association Theatres Advisory Council

Amendments issued since publication Amd. No.

Date of issue

Comments


BS 5588-8:1988

Contents

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Committees responsible Foreword

Page Inside front cover ii

Section 1. General 1 Scope 2 Definitions 3 Use of this code

1 1 2

Section 2. Horizontal escape 4 General 5 Horizontal escape routes 6 Refuges

5 5 5

Section 3. Vertical escape 7 General 8 Stairways 9 Ramps 10 Lifts

10 10 11 11

Section 4. Construction and fire warning systems 11 Construction of refuges and evacuation lift enclosures 12 Fire warning systems

13 15

Appendix A Advice to management Appendix B Application of the code of existing buildings

16 21

Figure 1 — Principles of evacuation Figure 2 — Examples of refuges in buildings not provided with evacuation lifts Figure 3 — Examples of refuges in buildings provided with evacuation lifts Figure 4 — Wheelchair spaces in protected stairways Figure 5 — Examples of fire plan strategies in buildings provided with evacuation lifts Publications referred to

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3 7 8 9 20

Inside back cover

i


BS 5588-8:1988

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Foreword This new code of practice was prepared under the direction of the Fire Standards Committee. This code is published as a Part of BS 5588; other Parts already published are as follows: — Part 1: Residential buildings; Section 1.1: Code of practice for single-family dwelling houses; — Part 2: Code of practice for shops; — Part 3: Code of practice for office buildings; — Part 4: Code of practice for smoke control in protected escape routes using pressurization; — Part 5: Code of practice for firefighting stairways and lifts. Other Parts will include the revision of CP 3: Chapter IV: Part 1, which will appear as BS 5588-1.2, and new codes for the precautions to be taken in places of assembly, for ventilation and air conditioning ductwork and for enclosed shopping complexes. Other Parts may also be added to BS 5588. The axiom that buildings should be comprehensively accessible to disabled people is firmly established. In 1967, BSI published CP 96 “Access for the disabled to buildings”. The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act was enacted in 1970 (and amended in 1976) with the requirement in section 4 that buildings to which the public, or some sections of the public, have access should, wherever practicable and reasonable, be accessible. In 1979, CP 96 was revised as BS 5810. The Disabled Persons Act, 1981, included in Section 6 a requirement that provision in public buildings should comply with the recommendations of BS 5810 in order that access controls should be more effective. Following consultations on how Section 6 of the 1981 Act might be implemented, the Government decided that the intentions of the legislation would be better satisfied by using building regulations as a control instrument. Regulations came into force in Northern Ireland from December 1984, in Scotland from March 1985 and in England from August 1985. A basic tenet of building law is that access provision has to be linked to egress provision, and it is on this account that this code has been prepared. It has been assumed in the drafting of this code that the execution of its provision will be entrusted to appropriately qualified and experienced people. A British Standard does not purport to include all the necessary provisions of a contract. Users of British Standards are responsible for their correct application. Compliance with a British Standard does not of itself confer immunity from legal obligations. In particular, attention is drawn to 3.3.

Summary of pages This document comprises a front cover, an inside front cover, pages i and ii, pages 1 to 22, an inside back cover and a back cover. This standard has been updated (see copyright date) and may have had amendments incorporated. This will be indicated in the amendment table on the inside front cover. ii

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BS 5588-8:1988

Section 1. General 1 Scope This code of practice provides guidance for designers and the building construction team in their task of incorporating into new buildings, or alterations to existing buildings, measures that should in the event of a fire, enable the safe evacuation of any disabled people. The code is applicable to all buildings except single-family dwelling houses, flats and maisonettes (i.e. buildings covered by BS 5588-1). It is not intended for application to a building used as a house in multiple occupation.

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NOTE Buildings purpose-built for disabled people will usually be provided with means of escape that are more extensive than those recommended in this code.

Access for disabled people is covered by BS 5810, and means of escape in general is covered by the various Parts of BS 5588. This code considers only those features necessary for means of escape for disabled people. Management systems are an essential part of means of escape for disabled people and appendix A provides guidance for management to aid it in making the best use of the facilities described in this code. The code should not be used as a criterion against which to judge whether a person may use a particular existing building and it is hoped that management will apply the philosophy of the code to existing buildings wherever possible; further information on this is given in appendix B. NOTE The titles of the publications referred to in this code are listed on the inside back cover.

2.4 final exit the termination of an escape route from a building giving direct access to a street, passageway, walkway or open space, and sited to ensure the rapid dispersal of persons from the vicinity of a building so that they are no longer in danger from fire and/or smoke 2.5 fire door a door or shutter provided for the passage of persons, air or things, which, together with its frame and furniture as installed in a building, is intended, when closed, to resist the passage of fire and/or gaseous products of combustion and is capable of meeting specified performance criteria to those ends 2.6 firefighting lift a lift designated to have additional protection, with controls that enable it to be used under the direct control of the fire brigade in fighting a fire 2.7 fire resistance the ability of a component or construction of a building to satisfy for a stated period of time the appropriate criteria specified in the relevant Part of BS 476 2.8 manual call point

For the purposes of this code the definitions given in BS 5810 apply, together with the following.

a device intended for the manual initiation of an alarm of fire in an electrical fire alarm system, operated by the breaking by hitting or pressing of a frangible element forming part of the front face

2.1 accommodation stairway

2.9 means of escape

a stairway, additional to that or those required for escape purposes, provided for the convenience of occupants

structural means whereby a safe route is provided for persons to travel from any point in a building to a place of safety

2.2 compartment

2.10 non-combustible

a part of a building (comprising one or more rooms, spaces or storeys) constructed to prevent the spread of fire to or from another part of the same building

capable of satisfying the performance requirements specified in BS 476-4

2 Definitions

NOTE This definition differs from that used in connection with building regulations.

2.3 evacuation lift a lift that may be used for the evacuation of disabled people in a fire

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2.11 protected stairway/lobby/corridor a stairway, including any exit passageway leading therefrom to its final exit, or lobby or corridor, enclosed with (other than any part that is an external wall of a building) fire-resisting construction

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BS 5588-8:1988

2.12 refuge an area that is both separated from a fire by fire-resisting construction and provided with a safe route to a storey exit, thus constituting a temporarily safe space for disabled persons to await assistance for their evacuation 2.13 storey exit a final exit, or a doorway giving direct access to a protected stairway, firefighting lobby or external escape route 2.14 two-stage fire alarm an alarm of fire in which an evacuation signal is given in those areas the occupants of which are at the greatest risk, usually those closest to the fire, with an alert signal being given in all other areas

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2.15 wheelchair stairlift an appliance for transporting a person or person with a wheelchair between two or more levels by means of a guided carriage moving substantially in the direction of a flight of stairs and travelling in the same path in both upward and downward directions

3 Use of this code 3.1 Provision and use of fire safety arrangements The basic principles and philosophy underlying the provision of means of escape from buildings, and the related precautions in the case of fire are: a) planning and protection of escape routes leading to safety both horizontally and downwards (and/or possibly upwards in a few special circumstances) from any area that may be threatened by fire, so enabling any person confronted by an outbreak of fire to turn away and make a safe escape; b) construction and finishing with suitable materials and embodying adequate fire resistance in the structure where these are not covered by building regulations; c) segregation of higher fire risk areas; d) the provision of means of giving warning of fire and, where appropriate, of detecting outbreaks of fire.

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Section 1

The provision of structural means of escape assumes that building users are able-bodied people, and the essential role of management in a fire is to ensure that the fire brigade is called and to carry out a roll call when the evacuation has been completed. The presumption of independent capability to use steps and stairs for egress is clearly inadequate for the consideration of the safety of some disabled people, and for them evacuation involving the use of refuges on escape routes, and either assistance down (or up) stairways or the use of suitable lifts will be necessary. Accordingly, this code covers the measures appropriate to ensure the safety of disabled people from the moment they become aware of potential danger until they reach a place of safety. This concept is illustrated in Figure 1. The successful emergency evacuation of a building using the structural means of escape provided requires comprehensive management procedures, and this applies whether the occupants of a building are disabled or not. The management procedures for disabled persons will, of necessity, include special arrangements for assisting wheelchairbound persons or others with walking difficulties along corridors or stairways, and for supervising the use of an evacuation lift if provided. Although this code includes a description of an evacuation lift, the installation of such a lift is recommended purely as an aid to evacuation procedures, particularly where they are needed to supplement the normal structural means of escape, such as in taller buildings. The installation of such a lift may also be in the interest of the general convenience of the building’s occupants. More detailed information on fire plan strategies is given in appendix A. Application of the recommendations will also result in buildings which offer enhanced means of escape in fire for able-bodied persons.

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Section 1

BS 5588-8:1988

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3.2 Entertainment and cultural use buildings Access to entertainment and cultural use buildings such as theatres, cinemas, concert halls, exhibition halls and stadia is important to enhance the lives of everybody, not least disabled people. The design of escape routes and the organization of management procedures are particularly critical in these classes of buildings because the users are likely to be unfamiliar with their surroundings and population densities in terms of the number of persons per unit area are very high. These considerations have often led to unreasonable restrictions on the access of disabled persons to these buildings and one of the purposes of this code is to show that such restrictions are unnecessary. There are clearly problems in stepped auditoria, grandstands and similar buildings, but an aim of the designer should be to provide some, or indeed many, locations for disabled persons to be integrated with the assembly as a whole from whence they may be evacuated without disrupting the general exodus. Normally the number of severely disabled persons in an assembly building is likely to be small, but in the event of a large group attending an event, it is sensible that the organizers of the group should discuss the arrangements with the management of the building. 3.3 Relationship with statutory provisions 3.3.1 General. It is important to appreciate the relationships between this code and the various statutory provisions relevant to the design and construction of new buildings and to the fire precautions to be provided in existing buildings. The relevant legislation indicated in general terms in 3.3.2 has to be complied with in the event of a conflict with this code.

3.3.2 Building regulations. The design and construction of new buildings, and of alterations of existing buildings, are controlled by the following statutory provisions which are collectively referred to as building regulations in this code. England and Wales: The Building Regulations; Scotland: The Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations; Northern Ireland: Building Regulations (Northern Ireland). 3.3.3 Legislation and other regulations for fire safety in buildings. In addition to the controls mentioned in 3.3.2, fire safety and means of escape for a wide variety of buildings is dealt with under the following legislation. England and Wales: The Fire Precautions Act, 1971, as amended by the Health and Safety at Work etc., Act, 1974 The Building Act, 1984 (except in Inner London where the fire provisions of the London Building Acts, 1939-1982, as amended by the Local Government Act, 1985, apply) The Safety of Sports Grounds Act, 1975 The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act, 19871) Scotland: The Fire Precautions Act, 1971 as amended by the Health and Safety at Work etc., Act, 1974 The Building (Scotland) Act, 1959 (as amended) The Safety of Sports Grounds Act, 1975 The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act, 19871)

Figure 1 — Principles of evacuation

1)

This Act amended the Fire Precautions Act and the Safety of Sports Grounds Act.

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Section 1

BS 5588-8:1988

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Northern Ireland: The Fire Services (Northern Ireland) Order, 1984 and the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order, 1978 The Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) Order, 1979 It should be noted that for premises subject to the Fire Certificates (Special Premises) Regulations, 1976, the regulations apply to all buildings within the premises. There are also a number of local Acts as well as entertainment and other licensing legislation which deal with fire safety and means of escape. The designer should consult the fire authority and building authority at an early stage to make certain the building as planned will meet the requirements those authorities may make, particularly if a fire certificate or licence may be necessary.

3.4 Information to be given to clients Designers are advised to inform their clients of the nature, design and (if necessary) limitations of the fire precautions that have been designed into the building, and especially those whose nature may be less evident. This will enable a better understanding of the responsibility for ensuring that a high standard of safety is maintained. The advice given in appendix A is intended not only as a guide to the management of fire precautions in a building, but also as a guide to the information concerning the fire precautions that have been designed into the building which designers are advised to pass to their clients. 3.5 Diagrams The figures are intended to clarify concepts, and should not be taken as indicating the only acceptable forms of planning.

NOTE Under the Fire Precautions Act, 1971, Fire Authorities in England and Wales cannot, as a condition of the issue of a fire certificate, require structural or other alterations relating to escape from the premises if the plans of the building comply with building regulations, unless the fire authority is satisfied that the means of escape in case of fire are inadequate by reason of matters or circumstances of which particulars were not required to be supplied to the local authority in connection with the deposit of plans for building regulation purposes.

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Section 2

BS 5588-8:1988

Section 2. Horizontal escape 4 General

6 Refuges

It is essential that all occupants are able to leave quickly any area in which they may be in danger from fire. Escape routes ought to be free from any feature which might impede movement, such as unsuitable door ironmongery or raised thresholds or steps between changes of level within a storey. A route leading to a final exit at substantially the same level should not pose a serious problem for those persons who cannot use stairs, but on floors other than final exit level there will inevitably be some delay whilst waiting either for assistance to travel down (or possibly up) the stairway, or for an evacuation lift. For this reason it may be necessary to provide refuges where disabled people can wait in relative safety before continuing to a final exit. In many buildings suitable refuges will be provided as a result of meeting the general requirements for means of escape. Where this is not the case, the provision of refuges ought normally to be possible both without affecting the internal design of the building to any material extent and without incurring substantial additional costs.

6.1 Commentary

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5 Horizontal escape routes 5.1 Commentary Whilst the planning of storeys (including the subdivision into separate rooms or areas, the distance of travel from any point within the storey to a storey exit, the number of escape routes and siting of exit doors) should be in accordance with the standards for the type of occupancy in any relevant codes and regulations, the routes of travel should also be free from any serious obstacle that may cause undue delay to disabled persons, e.g. raised thresholds or steps. 5.2 Recommendation for horizontal escape routes Where minor changes of level within any storey cannot be avoided, a ramp complying with BS 5810 and signs warning of the change of level should be provided.

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The limitation of distances of horizontal travel for means of escape purposes means that most disabled persons should be able to independently reach the safety of a protected escape route or final exit. However, some disabled persons, for example those who are wheelchairbound, will not then be able to use stairways without assistance, and for this reason it is necessary to provide refuges on all storeys other than those in small buildings of limited height (where the distance of travel to a final exit will be so limited that the provision of refuges is unnecessary), those providing level access directly to a final exit, and those consisting exclusively of plant rooms. A refuge is an area that is both separated from the fire by fire-resisting construction and provided with a safe route to a storey exit, thus constituting a temporarily safe space for disabled persons to await assistance for their evacuation. A refuge needs to be of sufficient size both to accommodate a wheelchair user and to allow the wheelchair user to manoeuvre into the wheelchair space without undue difficulty. A BS 5568 type A folding wheelchair occupies a space of 660 mm × 1065 mm, but there are a wide variety of wheelchairs in use and powered wheelchairs are increasingly being used. It should also be noted that the disabilities of wheelchair users vary both in type and degree. Given these factors the minimum space provided for a wheelchair in a refuge, excluding manoeuvring space, needs to be at least 700 mm × 1200 mm, and ideally ought to be 900 mm × 1400 mm after including an allowance for manoeuvring. As an indication of the manoeuvrability of wheelchairs, a BS 5568 type A folding wheelchair (when propelled in a forward direction by means of the handrims) is capable of negotiating a turn through a door opening of 775 mm clear width into a 900 mm wide corridor (and vice versa), and is capable of being turned through 180° in a 1400 mm wide corridor. In many buildings such spaces will be formed as part of the design and construction process.

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Section 2

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BS 5588-8:1988

The following are examples of satisfactory refuges: a) an enclosure such as a compartment, protected lobby, protected corridor or protected stairway; b) an area in the open air such as a flat roof, balcony, podium or similar place which is sufficiently protected (or remote) from any fire risk and provided with its own means of escape; c) any other arrangements which satisfy the general principles outlined in items a) and b) and which afford at least an equal measure of safety. However, it is essential that the location of refuges and of wheelchair spaces within refuges does not have any adverse effect on the means of escape provided in the building. Figure 2 and Figure 3 illustrate routes of escape from a fire from positions where there is immediate direct exposure to risk. In Figure 2(a), fire-resisting separation across the storey creates two compartments, each of which is a refuge from fire in the other; in Figure 2(b) and Figure 2(c), the protected stairways or lobbies serve as refuges. Although as a general principle an evacuation lift should be located close to a protected stairway, as in Figure 3(a), there will be circumstances where this need not be so, provided the requirement for safe access from the refuge to a stairway can be assured. Figure 3(b) and Figure 3(c) show such an arrangement; the lobby has separate access to both compartments and provides a refuge from each; if the lobby becomes untenable before the lift arrives, safe access to the stairway remote from the fire is possible. If the position of the fire is such that it is not possible to enter the lift lobby, then either the other compartment (Figure 3(b)) or the stairway (Figure 3(c)) provides a refuge. Figure 4 illustrates the principles for the provision of wheelchair spaces within protected stairways. In Figure 4(b), the landing is larger to allow access to the wheelchair space without disrupting the flow of persons escaping.

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6.2 Recommendations The following recommendations are applicable. a) Except in single storey buildings, a refuge should be provided for each protected stairway on each storey, except storeys from which all storey exits are final exits and storeys consisting exclusively of plant rooms in all buildings except buildings comprising not more than a basement, a ground and a first storey, with the floor area of each storey 280 m2 or less, and in a single occupancy. NOTE “Storey” includes open areas to which the public or staff have access, such as a roof garden.

b) Where a refuge is a compartment (see 2.2), it should be enclosed (other than any part which is an external wall of a building) with fire-resisting construction. c) From each refuge there should be available a safe route to a final exit. d) Each refuge should provide an area accessible to a wheelchair in which a wheelchairbound person can await assistance. e) Where a refuge is a protected stairway or protected lobby or protected corridor, the wheelchair space should not reduce the width of the escape route. Where the wheelchair space is within a protected stairway, access to the wheelchair space should not obstruct the flow of persons escaping.

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Section 2

BS 5588-8:1988

Figure 2 — Examples of refuges in buildings not provided with evacuation lifts

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BS 5588-8:1988

Section 2

Figure 3 — Examples of refuges in buildings provided with evacuation lifts

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© BSI 11-1998


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Section 2

BS 5588-8:1988

Figure 4 — Wheelchair spaces in protected stairways

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BS 5588-8:1988

Section 3

Section 3. Vertical escape

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7 General It should be emphasized that this code does not recommend that evacuation lifts should be provided in all buildings: the provision of an evacuation lift reduces the need to provide physical assistance for the evacuation of disabled occupants by way of stairways. Although a lift may have been used for movement from storey to storey in the building as a matter of course, use of a lift during an outbreak of fire should only be considered where suitable safeguards are incorporated in both the building structure and the lift engineering system. Even with these safeguards, there will remain some risk that the lift may be, or may become, defective (e.g. if the lift motor fails, or if there is smoke within the lift well), or there may be some delay in its arrival. It is therefore important that a disabled person, having reached a refuge, should have access to a stairway which could be used as a last resort if conditions in the refuge become untenable. Furthermore, where access to a suitable lift is cut off because of the position of the fire, a stairway in another part of the building may be used to descend to a storey below from whence it may be safe to take the lift to final exit level. For these reasons it is essential that the use of stairways is considered even in buildings provided with an evacuation lift.

8 Stairways 8.1 Commentary It is accepted in this code that a suitable lift may be used in an emergency. Nevertheless, for the evacuation of disabled people, it is essential that the design of escape stairways is considered as they will be the sole means of escape in buildings not provided with an evacuation lift, there will be the need for recourse to a stairway in the event of a lift failure, and there may be the limited use of stairs to accomplish minor changes of level.

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For disabled people the important features of stairway design are: a) the going of the treads; b) the rise of the steps; c) hand rails, both in number and section; d) dimensions of landings (see also clause 6); e) width of the stairway. To be reasonably safe, people who are unsteady on their feet need to be able to stand firmly on any step with their feet square to the nosing. Advice on the design of stairs and handrails is given in BS 5395 and, for disabled people, in BS 5810. Spiral stairs should be either semi-public stairs (category D) or public stairs (category E) as specified in Table 2 of BS 5395-2:1984. If escape will be in an upward direction, the rise should not exceed 180 mm. Although wheelchair stairlifts are suitable for access, they should not be used as a means of escape. Wheelchair stairlifts ought not to be installed within means of escape stairways unless that is the only practical option for providing access for disabled people to upper floors. In such situations, it is essential that the stairway width required for means of escape is maintained beyond the incursion into the stairway width of any fixed part of the stairlift, such as its carriage rail. Elsewhere, for instance in other parts of an escape route, regard will need to be paid to the space taken up by other parts of the installation, such as its power unit and the stairlift itself, when in its closed state. Visually handicapped persons will be able to use stairways more easily if stair nosings are colour contrasted. Similarly handrails should be colour contrasted to their supporting walls, and the provision of tactile thresholds at the head and foot of each flight is useful. It is also suggested that at each storey other than the final exit storey(s), handrails should be marked with a vertical arrow identifying the direction of the nearest final exit storey. Handrails at the final exit storey should be marked “EXIT”. The markings on the handrail should be either on the top face or on the face adjacent to the wall, should be vertically above the nosing nearest the storey landing, and should be raised at least 3 mm above the handrail surface, with the letters or arrows having a thickness of approximately 5 mm and a height not less than 25 mm.

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Section 3

8.2 Recommendations

10 Lifts

The following recommendations are applicable. a) Within a protected stairway the handrail(s) should be essentially continuous. b) All handrails should be of such dimension and sufficiently clear of walls to afford a firm grasp to those who need them for support (see BS 5810). c) Wheelchair stairlifts should not be used as a means of escape. Wheelchair stairlifts that are provided for access should not be located within means of escape stairways unless the effective width of the stairway will equal or exceed the width required for means of escape, having regard to the permanent incursion into the width of the stairway of any part of the stairlift installation.

10.1 Commentary

9 Ramps 9.1 Commentary

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BS 5588-8:1988

Ramps can be a useful alternative to stairways and, to a lesser extent, to lifts. Their disadvantage is that they take up a great deal of space and for this reason are frequently impracticable. The gradient of a ramp requires careful consideration. Some ambulant disabled people can find a steep slope difficult to climb. The safe control of descent of a wheelchair can equally be a problem. Handrails to ramps should be colour contrasted to adjacent vertical surfaces, and the provision of tactile thresholds at the top and bottom of ramps will identify the change of level to visually handicapped people. 9.2 Recommendation Any ramp provided should comply with the relevant recommendations given in BS 5810 and should be provided with signs identifying the change of level.

Š BSI 11-1998

Unlike a normal passenger lift, it is essential that a lift which is to be used as a means of evacuation for disabled people is able to continue to operate with a reasonable degree of safety when there is a fire in the building. Although it is not necessary to provide a lift for the evacuation of disabled people, a firefighting lift (which is provided principally for the use of the fire service in fighting fires) may be used for the evacuation of disabled persons prior to the arrival of the fire service, which will then assume responsibility for the evacuation of any remaining persons. Liaison with the fire authority to coordinate procedures for the use of a firefighting lift for evacuation of disabled persons in case of fire is essential. An acceptable alternative means of evacuation for disabled persons requiring assistance is a passenger lift with the same structural protection against fire as a protected stairway, a duplicated power supply so that electrical faults resulting from the fire ought not to prevent the operation of the evacuation lift, and a switch enabling authorized persons to take control (see A.3). Such lifts may be used in the normal way by occupants of the building, but it is essential that they are readily available for the evacuation of disabled people in time of need; they ought not therefore to be used as goods lifts. Evacuation lifts need to be provided with refuges for the safety of those persons awaiting escape by using the lift. Evacuation lifts which serve two storeys only need not be provided with a switch enabling management to take control of the lift at any time, nor need they be provided with a communications system. Hydraulic lifts serving two storeys only, the lower of which contains a final exit, need not be provided with an alternative power supply as it is a relatively simple procedure to lower the lift car to the lower level if the power fails.

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BS 5588-8:1988

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10.2 Recommendations 10.2.1 General. Any lift provided for the evacuation of disabled persons should be either a firefighting lift or an evacuation lift. 10.2.2 Firefighting lifts. A firefighting lift, and its associated firefighting lobbies and firefighting stairway, should comply with BS 5588-5. 10.2.3 Evacuation lifts. The following recommendations are applicable. a) An evacuation lift should comply with the relevant recommendations in BS 5810. b) An evacuation lift should comply with the recommendations of BS 5655-1 or BS 5655-2. c) An evacuation lift should be situated within a protected enclosure consisting of the lift well itself and a protected lobby at each storey served by the lift, and should be provided with a protected route from the evacuation lift lobby at the final exit level to a final exit. d) Except for lifts serving two storeys only, evacuation lifts should be provided with a switch clearly marked “evacuation lift” and situated adjacent to the lift landing door at the final exit storey. This switch should cause the evacuation lift to return to the final exit storey, and should isolate the lift landing call controls; the evacuation lift should then operate only in response to the lift car control panel, and the communication system provided should be in operation (see A.3). Management may wish to prevent the unauthorized operation of the switch by the use of a key operated switch or by placing the switch in a glass-fronted box. e) The primary electrical supply should be obtained from a sub-main circuit exclusive to the lift and independent of any other main or sub-main circuit; other lifts in the same well may be fed from the same primary supply, provided that the supply is adequate for this purpose and that arrangements are such that a fault occurring in any other lift in that well or the power supplies thereto will not affect in any way the operation of the evacuation lift.

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Section 3

f) Except for hydraulic lifts serving two storeys only, the lower of which contains a final exit, an alternative power supply independent of the main power supply to the building should be provided, such as an automatically started generator, a second supply from a public supply undertaking, or a privately owned distribution system that would not be affected by a fire in the building (either by being disconnected for firefighting purposes or by failure of the main switchboard providing the normal power supply to the building). The cables transmitting the alternative power supply should be separated from those of the primary supply and routed through areas of low fire risk, or should be physically protected so that a breakdown, or any cause of a breakdown, on one cable cannot lead to simultaneous failure of the other supply. Any power switches or isolators should be clearly identified and labels should be provided at the main switchboard and at the alternative power supply indicating the presence and location of the other supply. g) Any electrical sub-station, distribution board, generator, hydraulic pump or other apparatus should be protected from the action of fire in the building for a period not less than that specified for the enclosing structure of the evacuation lift installation and in accordance with the general principles of structural fire protection for a lift machine room.

© BSI 11-1998


Section 4

BS 5588-8:1988

Section 4. Construction and fire warning systems 11 Construction of refuges and evacuation lift enclosures NOTE The construction of enclosures to firefighting lifts is covered in BS 5588-5.

11.1 Fire resistance 11.1.1 Commentary. For the purposes of complying with the recommendations of this code, a 30 min period of fire resistance is generally considered adequate. However, increased periods of fire resistance may be necessary to comply with building regulations for structural fire protection. Satisfactory performance of fire resistance of structural elements is ascertained by compliance with one of the following: a) specifications tested, or assessed, under the appropriate Part of BS 476;

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NOTE Requirements made in connection with statutory provisions may still refer to BS 476-8, although it has been superseded by BS 476-20, BS 476-21, BS 476-22 and BS 476-23, with the tests relevant to loadbearing elements published in Part 21, and those for non-loadbearing elements in Part 22; glazed elements are non-loadbearing and hence are tested in accordance with Part 22. The criterion of “stability” has been replaced by the criterion of “loadbearing capacity”; however, in line with international practice, non-loadbearing elements tested in accordance with BS 476-22 are assessed only for integrity and insulation.

b) appropriate British Standard specifications or codes of practice; or c) specifications referred to under building legislation. 11.1.2 Recommendations. Fire resistance, where recommended in this code, should be taken (in the absence of any recommendation to the contrary) as requiring not less than a 30 min period of fire resistance, and implies the following: a) for walls and partitions, equal compliance for integrity and insulation from either side and compliance for loadbearing capacity where appropriate; b) for glazed elements, equal compliance for the appropriate criteria from either side (see 11.3.2); c) for doors, compliance for integrity from either side, except in the case of doors to lift wells, where performance is in respect of exposure of the landing side only. 11.2 Fire doors 11.2.1 Commentary. The performance of a fire door when tested in accordance with BS 476-22 is judged by its time to failure (in minutes) for both the criteria of “integrity” and “insulation”; regulations and codes of practice do not normally specify any performance for insulation.

© BSI 11-1998

For the purposes of this code, fire doors are designated by reference to their required performance (in minutes) for integrity only, e.g. a reference to FD 30S implies that the door in that situation should achieve not less than thirty minutes integrity when tested in accordance with BS 476-22 whilst retarding the passage of smoke at ambient temperature. Any reference to performance when tested in accordance with BS 476-22 is for the purposes of this code only. Depending upon circumstances, a higher performance may be necessary to satisfy building regulations or insurance requirements for structural fire protection. NOTE Further information on the provision of fire doors is given in PD 6512-1 and a code of practice for fire door assemblies with non-metallic leaves is in preparation.

III-chosen self-closing devices can make fire doors virtually impassable to some disabled people; however, it is not possible at present to give more specific recommendations. It should be noted that although a fire door may be held open (using a device with an automatic release mechanism) during normal usage, during a fire evacuation the door closer would be operative. 11.2.2 Recommendations. The following recommendations are applicable. a) 1) Doors (except lift landing doors) protecting openings in refuges or enclosures to evacuation lifts should be FD 30S fire doors. 2) Lift landing doors to evacuation lifts should be FD 30 fire doors. b) Fire doors required to resist the passage of smoke at ambient temperature conditions (i.e. those referred to in item a) 1)), should, in the absence of any recommendations for performance when tested in accordance with BS 476-31.1, be fitted with a flexible edge seal. c) Fire doors (except lift landing doors (see item e)), or doors to a cupboard or service duct, (see item f))) should be fitted with a self-closing device (other than rising butt hinges) that: 1) should be of a type that cannot readily be disconnected or immobilized and does not embody a stand-open action, i.e. it is not possible to cause the door to remain open for more than 90 s, unless it is provided with a hold open system (see item g));

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Section 4

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BS 5588-8:1988

2) should override any latches fitted to the door(s); or in the absence of a suitable latch or other positive device for holding the door shut in its frame, should be of a type that has been shown by test in accordance with BS 476-8 or BS 476-22 to be capable of holding the door closed in the frame for a sufficient period of time for the closing role to be taken over by a thermally activated sealing device (such as an intumescent seal), or throughout the full period of exposure if such seals are not incorporated. d) Unless shown to be satisfactory when tested in accordance with BS 476-8 or BS 476-22, no part of a hinge on which any fire door is hung, and that provides the sole means of support at the hanging edge, should be made either of combustible material or of noncombustible material having a melting point of less than 800 °C. e) Lift landing doors to evacuation lifts should be automatic doors. f) A fire door or a cupboard or service duct, in lieu of being self-closing, should have means to enable it to be kept locked shut when not in use and be so marked on the outside with the appropriate sign complying with BS 5499-1. g) Except for doors to firefighting lobbies, to firefighting stairways or to the only protected stairway in a building or part of a building, means of holding any fire door open or of overriding the self-closing device may be provided by a hold open system incorporating an automatic release mechanism complying with BS 5839-3. The automatic release mechanism should release the door to close automatically in the event of each or any of the following: 1) the detection of smoke by suitable automatic apparatus; 2) failure of the power supply; 3) operation of the manual fire alarm system or automatic fire alarm system; 4) if the facility is provided, manual operation at a central control point. Such doors should be suitably marked on both sides, at about eye level, with the appropriate sign complying with BS 5499-1. h) Any fire door (except one referred to in items f) or g)) should be marked on both sides, at about eye level, with the appropriate sign complying with BS 5499-1 to the effect that it should be kept closed when not in use. i) Door handles and other operating ironmongery should be simple to grip and operate.

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j) Doors should be fitted only with simple fastenings that can be operated from the escape side of the door without the use of a key, subject to any provisions acceptable to the enforcing authority for the purposes of security. Doors should not be secured by any type of fastening which requires special knowledge or the reading of instructions to open. NOTE This is not intended to prohibit the use of panic bolt/latch fastenings and “push (bar) to open” notices.

k) Where doors on escape routes are required to be self-closing, closers should not have significantly more force than is necessary to close (and latch) the door effectively. Latches, in turn, should be selected and fitted so as not to require an unreasonable closing force. NOTE to 11.2. Advice on the provision of door furniture for fire doors is given in “Code of practice for hardware essential to the optimum performance of fire-resisting timber doorsets” (1983), prepared by and available from the Association of Builders’ Hardware Manufacturers, 5 Greenfield Crescent, Edgbaston, Birmingham B5.

11.3 Glazed elements 11.3.1 Commentary. Partitions, doors and windows, containing traditional annealed wired glass based on sodalime-silica, although possibly able to satisfy the requirements of the appropriate Part of BS 476 for periods of up to 90 min in terms of integrity, nevertheless permit local high heat transmission and radiation through the glass and so are unable to satisfy the requirement for insulation for more than a few minutes. Such heat transmission and radiation can constitute a hazard to people escaping nearby and could ignite adjacent combustible materials. Unwired “glass” products able to satisfy the requirement for integrity are available, and some products provide “insulation” for at least 30 min. NOTE PD 6512-3 gives advice and information on the fire performance of glazed elements in buildings.

The type of glazed element permitted in a fire-resisting construction depends on whether either: a) the glazed element should afford the same protection as the remainder of the enclosure in which it is situated; or b) it is only necessary for the glazed element to afford protection against the passage of flames and hot gases. 11.3.2 Recommendation. Glazed elements that are fire resistant in terms of integrity and also insulation may be used without restriction. Glazed elements that are fire resistant in terms of integrity only should be used only in positions 1.1 m or more above floor level.

© BSI 11-1998


Section 4

NOTE The recommendations given in BS 6262 should also be followed. These recommendations may impose further restrictions on the position, size and composition of glazed elements.

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12 Fire warning systems In the event of fire it is essential that all the occupants of the building are alerted as speedily as possible. This will normally require the provision of a fire alarm system. The process of evacuation is most commonly initiated when a person perceives a fire and operates a manual call point, or if he is unable to take this essential action, informs someone who can. Alternatively an automatic fire detector may initiate the alarm. In buildings with a fire alarm system that includes sufficient manual call points, sounders and perhaps automatic fire detectors, raising the alarm should not pose any difficulty. However, there are buildings, particularly small premises, where an electrical alarm system may not be necessary, or at most a simple, manually operated, mechanical or electrical device to give the alarm suffices. The measure of need depends on whether or not an evacuation can be started without undue delay and each building should be individually assessed against the overall objectives of this code. Arrangements other than, or additional to, conventional alarm sounders may be used in many buildings to warn occupants of fire, e.g. announcements over loudspeakers.

Š BSI 11-1998

BS 5588-8:1988

In buildings not normally open to the public at large, e.g. workplaces, the management may consider that the arrangement most suited and convenient to disabled people is a two-stage alarm system with a separate evacuation signal and limited first stage evacuation. This gives disabled people an opportunity to move before the congestion is likely to arise in general evacuation, and has obvious advantages for all concerned. It should be stressed, however, that the case for a two-stage alarm, whether or not used in conjunction with phased evacuation of a building, cannot be dictated solely by the needs of disabled people. The most important factor should be whether it is safe and desirable for all occupants of the building to adopt such a procedure. In practice, however, the structural arrangements recommended in this code for the safety of disabled people are frequently the same arrangements which would support the adoption of two-stage fire alarms and phased evacuation as a matter of course. Any fire alarm system installed for the majority of building users and complying with BS 5839-1 should also be suitable for disabled people. However, in certain circumstances provisions additional to the recommendations given in BS 5839-1 may be desirable and these are discussed in A.5. In general, aurally handicapped people will either be able to perceive an audible alarm signal or be alerted by other occupants. However, in a minority of situations, visual alarm signals may need to be provided, which should be the subject of consultation with the fire authority (see 9.7 of BS 5839-1:1988).

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BS 5588-8:1988

Appendix A Advice to management

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A.1 Procedures in case of fire Fire procedures should be pre-planned by persons having control of buildings, in consultation with the fire authority. Planning should have regard to the needs of all occupants. It is essential to identify the needs of disabled people and to make proper arrangements for their assistance. The importance of training staff in the implementation of the procedures in case of fire cannot be overstated. All staff who could be expected to aid the evacuation of disabled persons should receive training from a competent person, based on written instructions, on appointment and at least once, and preferably twice, in each period of 12 months. A practice fire drill in which at least one person in a wheelchair is assisted to a place of safety should be carried out at least once a year. If members of the public are to be on the premises during the practice, the fire brigade should be informed of the intention and asked to cooperate in the exercise. It is neither possible nor desirable for this code to suggest which procedure should be adopted in any particular circumstance. Circumstances will vary as to the needs of disabled people and whether their relationship with the building is a continuing or a transient one. For example, in workplaces, there will be a long-term relationship between disabled people and the building, but in shops and other places of assembly open to the public the advantages of such a relationship will not exist to the same extent. Management should encourage persons with disabilities that would prevent their responding to an alarm of fire to make themselves known; this is particularly important in situations where there is a sleeping risk, such as hotels. Evacuation procedures for disabled persons should start immediately a fire is detected in the building, with the exception of health care premises where only those at immediate risk, i.e. those in the area affected by the fire, need be moved. The reason for phasing evacuation in this way is that in health care premises it may be possible to avoid the medical risk of moving patients further than is absolutely necessary, and hopefully to avoid the problems and delays of movement of patients using stairs and/or lifts. In all cases it will ensure that those at greatest immediate risk receive the priority attention.

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Appendix A

In buildings where a two-stage fire alarm system is used in conjunction with a phased or partial evacuation, the evacuation of all disabled persons in the building should normally commence on the sounding of the initial alert. The first phase of evacuation may initially be confined to the movement to a suitable refuge of those immediately at risk, with movement towards final exits of disabled occupants in areas in which an alert signal has been sounded following without waiting for the evacuation signal to be sounded; whether disabled persons in such areas should remain in refuges, or should be evacuated to a place of safety, will depend on the circumstances at the time of the fire. Having reached the safety of a refuge prior to vertical movement, it will be necessary to ensure that disabled people do not obstruct the movement of others. When planning fire procedures it should be recognized that phasing vertical movement may be necessary for a number of reasons, for example: a) where the need to evacuate a storey is urgent, and there are not enough people available to assist those disabled persons requiring assistance; b) where the physical effort required dictates a need for respite during the evacuation; c) where obstruction to other occupants of the building makes it necessary to leave the stairway for a short time. A.2 Techniques for the evacuation of disabled people down (or up) stairways In a fire some disabled people may need assistance to reach a final exit. Blind people can best be guided on level surfaces by taking a helper’s arm and following. On stairways the helper should descend first and the blind person follow with a hand on the helper’s shoulder. If a blind person is accompanied by a guide dog, he should be asked how best he can be helped. Some guide dogs may follow on their owner’s command but, generally, if a helper is leading a blind person, the guide dog should be held by the leash, rather than the harness.

© BSI 11-1998


Appendix A

Whilst many disabled people will be able to descend (or ascend) a stairway, possibly with assistance, others will need to be carried; it is generally preferable for a wheelchairbound person to be carried in their own chair. Information on equipment and procedures for safely transporting wheelchairbound persons down (or up) stairways is available from the Access Committee for England/Centre on Environment for the Handicapped, the Access Committee for Wales/Wales Council for the Disabled, the Committee on Access for Scotland/Scottish Council on Disability, the Northern Ireland Council on Disability, the Disabled Living Foundation and the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation2). Information may also be available from the Fire and Ambulance Services, the British Red Cross and the St. John Ambulance Service.

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A.3 Management of evacuation lifts Any lift to be used for the evacuation of disabled people should be either an evacuation lift or a firefighting lift and should be operated under the direction and control of management using an agreed evacuation procedure. It is important that only disabled people rely on a lift in case of fire and essential that the lift car is taken only to those levels where a disabled person is in need of assistance, i.e. the evacuation or firefighting lift car control should be switched on so that the lift car is under operator control because of delays which would arise if the lift remained on normal passenger service with calls registered at (and answered to) many landings. To make effective use of such a system, it is necessary to designate a number of senior staff (and deputies to cover for absence of designated staff) capable of carrying out the necessary duties such that sufficient staff would be readily available to undertake the designated duties quickly and efficiently at all times during which the building is occupied. The evacuation procedure for disabled people should be commenced at the first warning of fire. In premises where there is a two-stage fire warning system, this may be on the sounding of the “alert” or “first-stage” alarm.

BS 5588-8:1988

Except in two storey buildings, some form of communications system should be provided to enable the rapid and unambiguous identification of those storeys with disabled persons requiring evacuation, and the relaying of this information to the person operating the evacuation or firefighting lift car. Such a system may consist of a control sited at each lift landing linked to the lift car call indicators; requests may be made to the person controlling the evacuation, using visual indicators, or by telephone, and then relayed to the lift operator by telephone; or a communications system, using personal radio transceivers. Whichever system is adopted should, however, be in accordance with the recommendations outlined in the first sentence of this paragraph. Staff immediately available at the final exit level (possibly security or reception staff) should be designated and trained as evacuation lift operators. They should operate the switch to recall the lift car and should then commence to evacuate disabled people in sequence, firstly from the fire floor, next from all floors above the fire floor and, finally, from those floors below the fire floor. At final exit level help should be available to assist disabled passengers from the lift thus permitting a rapid vacation of the car and avoiding congestion near final exits. If an evacuation lift fails to arrive at a landing, or access to it at any level is obstructed by the fire, it will be necessary to use a stairway. If it is still safe to use the lift, it may only be necessary to descend to the storey below using the stairway and from there continue the descent by lift. It is therefore necessary to consider the best method of negotiating stairs and some practice may be necessary; information on the evacuation of disabled persons down or up stairways is given in A.2. When the fire brigade arrives, the officer in charge should be briefed by the senior member of staff coordinating the evacuation on both the position and circumstances of the fire and of the progress of the evacuation. Subsequent priorities for use of a firefighting lift will then be decided by the fire brigade.

2)

Access Committee for England/Centre on Environment for the Handicapped, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3B J; Access Committee for Wales/Cyngor Cymru l’r Anabl/Wales Council for the Disabled, Caerbragdy Industrial Estate, Bedwas Road, Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan CF8 3SL; Committee on Access for Scotland/Scottish Council on Disability, Princes House, 5 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh EH2 4RG; Northern Ireland Council on Disability, 2 Annadale Avenue, Belfast BT7 3JR; Disabled Living Foundation, 380-384 Harrow Road, London W9 2HU; Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, 25 Mortimer Street, London W1N 8AB.

© BSI 11-1998

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BS 5588-8:1988

Fire procedures should not include the isolation of electrical circuits supplying energy to the lift installation nor to associated lighting, communications and ventilation systems. The procedures should be agreed with all parties concerned or who have relevant responsibilities, and the approval of the fire authority and any other authority with a statutory interest is essential. The duties of senior staff, to be undertaken immediately on receipt of a fire alert signal, should include the following. a) An operator nominated to take control of the lift should operate the evacuation lift or firefighting lift switch, and 1) determine the storey and part of the building indicated as the location of the fire; 2) determine the storeys at which disabled people are awaiting assistance; 3) take control of the lift and proceed to move disabled people to the final exit level. b) Senior staff should ensure that: 1) any disabled people on the floor for which they are responsible move to the designated place of refuge (lift lobby etc.) to await the lift; 2) the person controlling the operation of the evacuation or firefighting lift is aware that a disabled person is waiting for the lift. Unless a different order has been agreed with the fire authority, evacuation should normally be in the following order: i) the fire floor; ii) the floor immediately above the fire floor; iii) other floors above the fire floor starting at the top storey; iv) all remaining floors. It should be appreciated, however, that the actual fire conditions may necessitate changes in the planned sequence. Disabled people should themselves take what positive actions they can towards immediate evacuation. Other occupants should also render what assistance they can. This applies even in circumstances where a two-stage alarm system is used and total evacuation is not a general rule.

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Appendix A

A.4 Examples of fire plan strategies in buildings provided with evacuation lifts A.4.1 Figures Examples of satisfactory means of escape are illustrated in Figure 3 and Figure 5. However, the figures are intended to clarify concepts, and should not be taken as indicating the only acceptable forms of planning. A.4.2 Cellular planning with lobby protected stairways A.4.2.1 Structural protection. Each lift and stairway is protected from fire in the accommodation by two fire doors and may be used from any level (see Figure 5(a)). A.4.2.2 Evacuation sequence. The recommended evacuation sequence is as follows. a) Disabled people move to either lift lobby to await the lift. b) The designated lift operator collects disabled people and takes them to the final exit level. c) If the lift lobby becomes untenable before the lift arrives: 1) the disabled people are assisted to a lower floor by way of the adjacent stairway; and 2) disabled people await the lift at a lower level, or if the lift has failed or is unsafe to use, progressive movement is continued down the stairway towards the final exit level. A.4.2.3 Communications. The following procedures should be carried out. a) Sound the alarm and commence the evacuation. b) Pass any necessary information about disabled people requiring evacuation to the person controlling the evacuation. A.4.3 Open storey planning with stairways without lobby protection A.4.3.1 Structural protection. The wall separating the two compartments is needed to ensure a safe route between the lift lobby and the storey exit; the (non-fire) compartment so formed also acts as a refuge (see Figure 5(b)).

Š BSI 11-1998


Appendix A

A.4.3.2 Evacuation sequence. The recommended evacuation sequence is as follows. a) Disabled people move to the lift lobby to await the lift. b) The designated lift operator collects disabled people and takes them to the final exit level. c) If the lift lobby becomes untenable before the lift arrives, the following should be carried out. 1) The disabled people move to positions outside the door to the stairway in the non-fire compartment, to await assistance in moving to a lower floor.

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NOTE

The non-fire compartment is also a refuge.

2) Disabled people await the lift at a lower level, or if the lift has failed or is unsafe to use, progressive movement is continued down the stairway towards the final exit level. A.4.3.3 Communications. The following procedures should be carried out. a) Sound the alarm and commence the evacuation. b) Pass any necessary information about disabled people requiring evacuation to the person controlling the evacuation. A.4.4 Single stairway building A.4.4.1 Structural protection. The accommodation on each floor comprises a single compartment; the lift and stairway is protected from fire in the accommodation by two fire doors and may be used from any level (see Figure 5(c)). A.4.4.2 Evacuation sequence. The recommended evacuation sequence is as follows. a) Disabled people move to the lift lobby to await the lift. b) The designated lift operator collects disabled people and takes them to the final exit level. c) If the lift lobby becomes untenable before the lift arrives: 1) the disabled people are assisted to a lower floor by way of the adjacent stairway; and 2) disabled people await the lift at a lower level, or if the lift has failed or is unsafe to use, progressive movement is continued down the stairway towards the final exit level.

Š BSI 11-1998

BS 5588-8:1988

A.4.4.3 Communications. The following procedures should be carried out. a) Sound the alarm and commence the evacuation. b) Pass any necessary information about disabled people requiring evacuation to the person controlling the evacuation. A.5 Fire alarm systems A.5.1 General Conventional fire alarm equipment and systems may not always be entirely satisfactory in certain circumstances for disabled people, or in buildings designed for occupation by disabled persons. Whilst in the majority of these circumstances or buildings management systems will adequately cover the raising of a fire alarm and the warning of occupants, in a minority of buildings or circumstances it may be necessary to make alternative provisions. A.5.2 Manual call points The recommendations given in BS 5839-1 for the number and siting of manual call points should be adequate for the speedy initiation of the fire signal in most premises. However, consideration should be given to the following if the alarm would need to be initiated by a disabled person: a) the provision of an automatic fire detection system; b) a reduction in the spacing between manual call points to compensate for delays in operation because of the limited mobility of occupants; c) the provision of alternative manually operated switching devices (e.g. ceiling cord switches, etc.) additional to those recommended in BS 5839-1, where operation of manual call points is likely to be difficult or seriously delayed because of the occupants’ disabilities.

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Appendix A

© BSI 11-1998

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BS 5588-8:1988

20 Figure 5 — Examples of fire plan strategies in buildings provided with evacuation lifts


Appendix A

A.5.3 Fire signals Perhaps the most commonly recognized difficulty in this respect is that experienced by those with impaired hearing. However, it should be stressed that impairment of hearing in no way means that a person is completely insensitive to sound. Many people with severe impairment have sufficiently clear perception of some types of conventional audible alarm signals to require no special provision. Where this is not the case, in most situations there will be people about who can alert those with impaired hearing to the need for evacuation, and it will be reasonable to rely upon these others to provide the necessary warning. In certain specialized situations, such as premises specifically for the deaf, alternative types of alarm signal may be necessary, for example lights, paging systems, vibrating devices or sound signals within carefully selected frequency bands.

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NOTE Technical advice on the selection of suitable devices may be obtained from the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, 105 Gower Street, London WC1E 6AH.

Careful consideration is necessary when selecting an alarm warning device and tests will often be necessary before a final decision is made. It is essential that the warning signal is suitable for those whom it is intended to alert even, if necessary, when they are asleep. Unwanted effects of any alarm signal should also be considered. Examples of unwanted side-effects which should be avoided as far as is practicable include the following: levels or frequencies of sound signals which cause severe discomfort, approaching actual pain, to the ears of people with both normal and impaired hearing; warning sounders which obliterate the other sounds, echos, or reflections which blind people use to aid their movements; sound signals which make spoken communications, especially the giving and receiving of instructions or requests for assistance, difficult if not impossible; and certain frequencies in flashing/stroboscopic light systems which can cause confusion, disorientation and, in some people, epileptic fits. Many of these problems will be more common where people are very old or mentally confused and there are many medical conditions which may affect individual reactions whatever type of alarm device is adopted. All that can usefully be achieved within the terms of this code is to alert those responsible to the range of difficulties they may have to resolve.

Š BSI 11-1998

BS 5588-8:1988

Appendix B Application of the code to existing buildings B.1 General Wherever possible the recommendations in the code should be followed although it is accepted that in existing buildings it may not be possible to comply fully with the code. Alternative ways of meeting its objectives should then be sought. Non-compliance with all the recommendations of the code should not be used as grounds for excluding disabled people. B.2 Refuges Refuges meeting the recommendations given in 6.2 exist in some buildings and can often be easily created in others. Wherever refuges are provided the principles given in 6.1 should be followed even if it is not possible to fully comply with the recommendations given in 6.2. B.3 Stairways Stairways should, as far as is possible, be in accordance with the recommendations given in clause 8. However, where there are several practical constraints on the overall size of a stairway, for example in a small building, spiral stairs with a rise not exceeding 190 mm and a centre going (see 5.4 of BS 5395-2:1984) not less than 230 mm (i.e. a small semi-public stair, category C, as specified in Table 2 of BS 5395-2:1984) may be acceptable. Exceptionally, a particular storey height or the need to gain access beneath an intermediate landing may dictate a larger rise. B.4 Ramps Existing ramps should preferably have a slope of not more than 1 in 12. Much will depend upon the people who have to use them and the assistance available. The best measure of acceptability will be whether such gradients can be negotiated safely in a fire drill. B.5 Lifts The installation of a new lift in an existing building should be in accordance with the recommendations given in clause 10 if the lift is to be used for the evacuation of disabled persons during a fire.

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BS 5588-8:1988

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However, whilst there are established standards which specify dimensions of lift cars, the type and position of landing and car controls etc. for different types of use (including facilities for the disabled), it is impracticable to lay down detailed recommendations for existing lift installations in this code. As with other aspects of fire precautions, the circumstances of the particular case will dictate the needs, whether it is for a bed lift in a hospital, or a lift in an office building that will accommodate one person in a wheelchair including space for those rendering assistance. In existing buildings where the recommendations given in 10.2 cannot be met, it may be possible to obtain the same measure of structural protection in other ways, for example, where more than one enclosure is provided with a lift and the enclosure wall provides the necessary line of protection between any fire and a lift. In such circumstances a reliable evacuation strategy and its management are of the utmost importance to ensure that the safest lift is used (see appendix A).

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Appendix B

There will be circumstances where it is difficult to assess the fire resistance of lift landing doors. Imperforate steel panel doors are acceptable in the following circumstances: a) where the lift landing doors are not directly exposed to the effects of fire through the lobby doorway to the accommodation; b) where the structure of the lift lobby, including its floor, is of non-combustible construction; c) where the lobby contains no significant fire load and its wall and ceiling linings would be classified as class 1 if tested in accordance with BS 476-7; d) where the lift car is of substantially non-combustible construction; e) where the power supply cable is protected from fire or is routed through areas of low fire risk. However, it is essential that all existing lift installations used as evacuation lifts: 1) are provided with an independent alternative power supply in accordance with 10.2.3 f); or 2) are hydraulic lifts, provided with a manually operated valve that allows the car to be lowered to a lower storey in the event of a failure of the power supply, and which serve two storeys only, the lower of which contains a final exit.

Š BSI 11-1998


BS 5588-8:1988

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Publications referred to BS 476, Fire tests on building materials and structures. BS 476-4, Non-combustibility test for materials. BS 476-7, Surface spread of flame tests for materials. BS 476-8, Test methods and criteria for the fire resistance of elements of building construction. BS 476-20, Method for determination of the fire resistance of elements of construction (general principles). BS 476-21, Methods for determination of the fire resistance of loadbearing elements of construction. BS 476-22, Methods for determination of the fire resistance of non-loadbearing elements of construction. BS 476-23, Methods for determination of the contribution of components to the fire resistance of a structure. BS 476-31, Methods for measuring smoke penetration through doorsets and shutter assemblies. BS 476-31.1, Method of measurement under ambient temperature conditions. BS 5395, Stairs, ladders and walkways. BS 5395-2, Code of practice for the design of helical and spiral stairs. BS 5499, Fire safety signs, notices and graphic symbols. BS 5499-1, Specification for fire safety signs. BS 5568, Specification for folding wheelchairs for adults. BS 5588, Fire precautions in the design and construction of buildings. BS 5588-1, Residential buildings. BS 5588-1.1, Code of practice for single-family dwelling houses3). BS 5588-1.2, Code of practice for flats and maisonettes3)4). BS 5588-2, Code of practice for shops3). BS 5588-3, Code of practice for office buildings3). BS 5588-4, Code of practice for smoke control in protected escape routes using pressurization3). BS 5588-5, Code of practice for firefighting stairways and lifts. BS 5655, Lifts and service lifts. BS 5655-1, Safety rules for the construction and installation of electric lifts. BS 5655-2, Specification for hydraulic lifts. BS 5810, Code of practice for access for the disabled to buildings. BS 5839, Fire detection and alarm systems for buildings5). BS 5839-1, Code of practice for system design, installation and servicing. BS 5839-3, Specification for automatic release mechanisms for certain fire protection equipment. BS 6262, Code of practice for glazing for buildings. PD 6512, Use of elements of structural fire protection with particular reference to the recommendations given in BS 5588 “Fire precautions in the design and construction of buildings”. PD 6512-1, Guide to fire doors. PD 6512-3, Guide to the fire performance of glass. Code of practice for hardware essential to the optimum performance of fire-resisting timber doorsets, Association of Builders’ Hardware Manufacturers, 19836).

3)

Referred to in the foreword only.

4) In

preparation.

5) Under

revision.

6) Available

from the Association of Builders’ Hardware Manufacturers, 5 Greenfield Crescent, Edgbaston, Birmingham B5.

© BSI 11-1998


Licensed copy:RMJM, 29/08/2005, Uncontrolled Copy, © BSI

BSI 389 Chiswick High Road London W4 4AL

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Bs 5588 8 1988 fire precautions in the design and constructi