Wednesday 19 December 2018

National Children’s Hospital ordered to install sprinkler system

An artist's impression of the new National Children's Hospital. The hospital will be ready by 2021.
An artist's impression of the new National Children's Hospital. The hospital will be ready by 2021.
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THE National Children’s Hospital has been ordered to install sprinklers across all floors of the hospital following an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

In a decision, the board also included a new condition on the hospital’s fire safety certificate – if it wants to erect Christmas trees in the atrium, they must be artificial, no taller than 2.5 metres and be

fire retardant.

The decision follows an appeal by the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board against fire safety rules which were required by Dublin Fire Brigade.

The brigade wanted sprinklers to be installed in all seven floors, the two basement levels and areas considered to be high risk, including canteens and kitchens, but the hospital said there was only a requirement under the building code for sprinklers in the basement and in at-risk areas.

But it also offered to install a sprinkler system on the three upper floors. It said it was willing to do so, despite the building code saying they were only required on all floors of buildings 30 metres or high. The National Children’s Hospital, which will be called ‘Phoenix Children’s Hospital’, will be 26 metres high.

In its decision, the planning appeals board said that having regard to the type of use, height, scale, form and layout of the hospital building, and having considered the submissions made in relation to the fire safety certificate appeal, it had decided to remove two conditions, include two revised conditions and a new condition so that the hospital would “achieve an adequate level of fire safety”.

On the sprinkler system, the board said the installation of same would “limit the size of the fire, control fire spread, provide additional time to escape, limit fire damage” and “be beneficial in terms of operational continuity”.

They would there ensure that the hospital “achieves an adequate level of fire safety that would comply with the requirements of Part B of the Second Schedule of the Building Regulations 1997-2017.”

It also said that if atrium of the hospital underwent a change of design, there would be a required to include an assessment of how smoke was vented from the building.

A new condition was included: “Christmas trees on the base of the atrium are limited to artificial type with fire retardant properties and a maximum height of 2.5m.”

Informed sources had suggested that the fire safety measures exceeded what was required, but Dublin Fire Brigade had sought additional safety measures.

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