Children’s hospital must have sprinklers, An Bord Pleanála rules

Hospital development board had appealed the conditions for a fire safety certificate

December 1st, 2015: An animation shows the plans currently in place for the proposed children's hosiptal to be built on the site of the current St James’s Hospital.


The new national children’s hospital should have fire safety water sprinklers installed throughout the building, An Bord Pleanála has ruled.

The developers of the €1billion facility had appealed a condition set by Dublin City Council for the granting of a fire certificate which involved a sprinkler system being put in place to cover all parts of the new hospital.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board said at the weekend it had held extensive consultations with the Dublin City Council Fire Brigade in preparation for the application of the fire safety certificate and was confident the fire safety design measures it had proposed were “ both compliant with, and indeed exceed, current regulations and standards”.

However, in a decision on the appeal issued on Monday night, An Bord Pleanála said given the nature, height, scale, form and layout of the planned new hospital that the installation of life-safety sprinklers throughout the building 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,

and would, therefore, ensure that the hospital achieved an adequate level of fire safety that would comply with the requirements of Part B (Fire Safety) of the second schedule of the Building Regulations 1997 to 2017.

It is understood the plans put forward by the hospital development board envisaged the sprinkler system covering the basement, canteens in the concourse and the three top floors which would contain accommodation areas for children after they are admitted.

Sources said Dublin City Council had sought the sprinkler system to be put in place across the facility including the middle four floors which will contain operating theatres, critical care units, radiology and inpatient and outpatient departments.

An Bord Pleanála also ruled that if Christmas trees are to be installed in the atrium of the plannednew hospital they should be artificial, have fire retardant properties and have a maximum height of 2.5 metres.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said on Monday the hospital development board would abide by the decision of An Bord Pleanála on the appeal.

He denied the appeal against the fire safety conditions set down by the local authority was based on cost.

“It is very important to state this hospital has already been designed to exceed the fire safety standards that are already there.”

“It is part of the normal planning process that there is often a back and forth between planners and anyone developing any large project but An Bord Pleanála will have the final say on this.”

The new children’s hospital, to be known as Phoenix Children’s Hospital Ireland, is being built on the campus of St James’s Hospital in Dublin and is scheduled to be completed in 2022.