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Compartmentation / Fire Doors to Electrical Intake


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I'm from a residential background where I'm used to seeing completely sterile rooms / cupboards housing electrical intakes, with a fire door in place. I'm now responsible for a commercial building which houses flight simulators. Each simulator has its own computer room in which an electrical intake is found. The computer room is a not a fire resistant compartment and the door is just a standard door. My question is should each intake be in its own compartment, to prevent spread of smoke and fire in an emergency or is there something about the building being commercial (ie not sleeping accommodation) that means this is not a requirement? 

Any thoughts gratefully received!

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Hi Amanda

Its a tricky one to answer based on the details and specialist use of the building you refer to.

When I get stuck and cant find a standard or guidance that fits, I ask what is the purpose of any infrastructure I am considering? Let me explain

In residential, an electrical intake is often found on or under the staircase to a block of flats, or a flat over a shop or in a converted house/HMO.  Containing the intake in fire resisting material (which is often a requirement) in these cases has one major aim, that is life safety. It gives people more time to use the stairs to evacuate or be rescued by others. 

Pretty much all UK fire safety legislation is focussed on life safety and very little on protecting the building, or business continuity etc.  That part is left to the occupiers, perhaps guided by their insurance suppliers. Some do very little to protect their premises (HM Govt being the worst culprit IMO)

In the case of the computer rooms that you refer to, it may be that an assessment has been made that a fire in one - although devastating to the business - may not pose a risk to life insofar as people will be able to escape away from it, or past it.  Is that possible? Does the computer room have a fire suppression system? If so, this may influence the decision as the assumption would be that the fire would not spread as rapidly . The presence of sprinklers often reduces the amount of fire resistance required.

On a professional level, I agree with you that a computer room in what sounds like an expensive set up should really be fire resisting when using a common sense approach. But if the law or standards such as ADB don't require it, often it wont happen as businesses often just do what they have to......and no more

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