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Sprinkler coverage above electric car charging points


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Recently visited a site with sprinkler coverage above electric car charging points in a basement above a multi-story office building. The basement was relatively open to the air (windows with vents in places), but no vents or windows near the car charging points. 

The sprinkler system has a head above each car, but now charging points have been installed. It was the type of building/management where I don't think these additional hazards would have been considered (i.e. high temperature lithium battery fires).

Is there any information/standards relating to this? It's not something I have come across before.

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  • 4 weeks later...

We have a similar situation where we are fitting rapid chargers in a large 10,000m2 windowless basement car park under 14 floors of offices. 

The car park is fitted with sprinklers which are fed from an inexhaustible supply of water. This can only be a good thing as the fire service may struggle if the EV batteries are involved and the sprinklers may need to operate for many hours. 

Our strategy is to create introduce areas of non combustibility around areas set aside for EV charging and attempt to limit the fire loading by creating separated EVCBs (EV Charging Bays). Each EV charging bay will accommodate a limited number of cars and be separated to immediately adjacent areas by two hour fire resisting walls to provide some degree of protection from fire spread by direct burning. This is not traditional fire separation as the FR walls simply form a open ended barrier between groups of EV Bays. 

The aim is that sprinklers will prevent spread from EV Bay to EV Bay but not necessarily extinguish it. An interface connected to the sprinkler system will isolate charger power. Additional charger isolator controls will be positioned around the car park, adjacent to manual call points. They will be large mushroom head buttons which lock down when pressed and will need a key to release. They are  coloured yellow and signed to prevent confusion with the manual call points. On operating the isolator button, the BMS system will alert building managers. 

We lose some parking space but the employers environmental policy is to go electric (EV) well before the 2030 target set by HMG and nothing will be allowed to get in the way. Within 5 years there will be at least 120 EV spaces created

There are a raft of associated measures that accompany this policy. A few exit doors from the car park close to EVCBs will have panic bolts fitted to deal with the potential for rapid fire development. Staff training and instruction will be amended to include EV fires and servicing arrangements for the car park drainage will be amended to cater for long duration sprinkler and fire service operations


We have found the RISCAuthority's  RC59 Fire Safety When Charging EVs a useful guide


Good luck!

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