Basement car park design

History[ edit ] A circa drawing shows a cross-section of a typical multi-storey car park of that era, using the d'Humy Motoramp design.

Basement car park design

Tweet According to Home Office statistics, there were 92, road vehicle fires in the UK during This is a 30 per cent rise sincewhen there were 71, such fires. The increase is mainly due to arson.

The largest, and most widely quoted, example of a car park fire occurred in a multi-storey car park above Preston bus station on 15 February The fire started in the Basement car park design of one parked car, and radiated heat quickly caused the fire to spread to two neighbouring vehicles, both of which were destroyed.

Smoke damaged a further six. It is accepted that smoke and toxic gases are the main causes of death from fire, and this must also be true of car park fires. Fire load As automobile manufacturing technology has evolved, together with the use of more advanced materials of construction, the risk of a conflagration in a car has fallen significantly.

But the fire load in vehicles has actually risen — fuel tanks are now often designed to contain larger amounts of petrol than in the past. Car bodies that used to be all-metal are now a mixture of metal and plastic.

Designers have improved passenger comfort using foam or leather; but these materials present flammable characteristics if not protected by flame retardant measures. The amount of electrical equipment has also greatly increased. Where old cars were simply equipped with a battery, an alternator and a radio; new cars have electrically movable wing mirrors and lamps, as well as many more electronically controlled pieces of equipment.

The extra quantity of cable involved increases the fire load significantly.

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Experiments on heat release rates carried out by the Fire Research Station and Building Research Establishment on various sized cars, where a fire began as a result of a fault in the engine, indicate heat releases rates of approximately 2MW rising to brief peaks of 4MW.

Types of car park The type of car park involved in a fire has a significant impact on the development and spread of fire. Car parks vary from open-sided to totally enclosed, if they are underground.

Open-sided car parks provide all the necessary conditions for a ventilated fire, as fresh air is always available. The fire can burn freely as long as combustible materials are available.

Basement car park design

Totally enclosed car parks are more likely to see under-ventilated fires due to the lack of fresh air. These conditions lead to incomplete combustion and the release of more toxic gases in the car park area, endangering persons who may be present.

Fire spread between cars The layout and arrangement of car park premises mean that fire-spread from one car to another is a distinct hazard. Cars are generally parked very close to each other, facilitating the spread of fire by conduction and radiation. Car park premises are designed with a low roof-height, allowing hot smoke and heat to build up just above the cars.

This will also help the fire to spread by means of convection and radiation. All this would appear to indicate that fire spread between adjacently parked vehicles is almost inevitable, and could only be prevented by the use of sprinklers.

In fact, however, past experience has shown that the number of car park fires involving a large number of cars is actually quite limited. The Building Regulation requirements The main intention of The Building Regulations Approved Document B ADB Amended is to protect occupants evacuating by avoiding the build-up of smoke and toxic gases in a car park; also to prevent the spread of fire from one storey to another, and to assist the fire brigade in their operation.

So, current legislation states that car park premises must be provided with a means of ventilating the area, and be separated from other parts of the premises with fire resisting construction. ADB recommends three different methods: Natural ventilation other than open-sided can be used to extract smoke and hot gases where more limited natural openings exist.

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Basement car park design

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