In certain buildings, it can be difficult for the fire and rescue service to safely reach and work close to fires. Under such circumstances additional facilities are required to ensure that there is no delay and to provide a secure operating base. This might include:
A firefighting shaft provides the fire and rescue service with a safe area from which to undertake firefighting operations. They link all necessary floors of a building, providing at least 2 hours of fire resistance to protect fire crews and are connected to fresh air. A firefighting shaft will typically contain a firefighting main, stairway, lobby and sometimes a lift.
 Provision of firefighting shafts
Fire-fighting shafts should be provided in:
- Tall buildings more than 18m high.
- Buildings with deep basements of more than 10m.
- Commercial, shop, industrial or storage buildings that are more than 7.5m high.
If the building has an automatic sprinkler system, adequate shafts should be fitted so that every part of every storey (over 18m above access level) is no more than 60m from a fire main outlet. If no sprinkler system is fitted, this distance reduces to 45m from an outlet which is inside a protected stairway or 60m if it is in a firefighting shaft.
In buildings (apart from blocks of flats), the firefighting stairs and lift should be entered from accommodation, through a firefighting lobby. The firefighting shaft should have a fire main with outlet connections and valves on every storey. For blocks of flats, it is not necessary to have a firefighting lobby.
 Further information
Approved Document B (Fire Safety) has further details on the design and layout of firefighting shafts. Additional guidance can be found in BS 9999: Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Approved Document B (Fire Safety).
- BS 9999: Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings.
- Dry riser.
- Escape route.
- Fire and rescue service.
- Fire compartment.
- Fire detection and alarm systems.
- Fire door.
- Fire protection engineering.
- Fire resistance.
- Fire safety design.
- Firefighting lift.
- Firefighting route.
- Inner room.
- Protected escape route.
- Protected stairway.
- Unprotected escape route.
- Wet riser.
Featured articles and news
What is liquidation and how does it apply to contractors in the construction industry?
Scrutiny is placed on Carillion's controversial 2013 decision to extend subcontractor payment terms to 120 days.
RSHP unveil their involvement in a boundary crossing which will provide a new entry point into Hong Kong.
With PFI currently under the spotlight due to Carillion, this introductory article explains what they are.
Estimates suggest that up to 30,000 small firms could be at risk of non-payment as a result of Carillion's collapse.
Sir Oliver Letwin to lead an independent review into the delays in the delivery of housing.
As Carillion collapses, read our article explaining insolvency in the construction industry.
43,000 jobs at risk as Carillion declares insolvency..
1961 saw the publication of three important books about urban design that remain relevant today.
Next week the planning fee increases by 20% and new fees are introduced.
How the transformative power of BIM and other digital technologies can be used to gain a competitive edge.