Water Mist Fire Protection For Car Parks

The problem with the car parks is that they bring a high fire risk to the entire building.


On the evening of 31st December 2017, a fire occurred at the Kings Dock multi-storey car park in Liverpool the fire, which reached temperatures of 1000 °C, destroyed upwards of 1,150 vehicles. The fire so affected the structure of the building that demolition was required. As a result of their investigations, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has stated: “Designers should seriously consider sprinkler provision to avoid multiple vehicle fires, resulting in huge insurable losses and the possible loss of life”.

In an interview with the BBC Joe Anderson said it was unlikely the building could now be saved. The Mayor went on to state in his letter there was a “question of their efficacy in dealing with petrol-based fires”, but the statistics show that the opposite is true.

According to the UK Fire Statistics, there were 162 car park fires between 1994 and 2005 in which a fixed fire suppression system was present. Automatic sprinklers extinguished or contained 100 of these fires; and in only 1% of cases did the sprinklers operate but fail to contain or extinguish the fire. It is assumed that the remainder of the fires were too small to actuate the sprinklers or were contained quickly by other means. This 99% success rate of activated sprinkler systems containing, or extinguishing car park fires lays to rest the myth that sprinklers are ineffective at controlling fires in this setting.

It is a fact that the average family car of today, including growing numbers of ‘Sports Utility’ vehicles (SUV’s) and ‘people carriers’, have significant percentages of plastics and other combustibles in their construction. In short, modern cars can burn very quickly producing much larger and hotter fires than was previously considered possible.

However, for many years it was assumed unlikely that a fire could spread from one parked car to another, but this can no longer be relied on to be the case.


Guidance on the fire precautions considered necessary in the design and construction of car parks can be found in the Approved Document B to the Building Regulations for England and Wales (ADB) and Scottish Technical Standards. This guidance currently does not require sprinklers to be installed in car parks.

Instead, reliance is placed upon smoke ventilation either natural or mechanical systems; or ‘passive protection’ such as fire walls and doors. However, this guidance was based on fire tests carried out in the 1960s and on cars which are very different from those manufactured today!

This lack of up-to-date knowledge has led to concerns that current UK building standards are no longer entirely appropriate for modern day car park risks – particularly where innovative mechanical parking systems are being installed such as ‘car stackers’.

Watermist Fire Suppression www solarfiresystems Johnson Controls Aquamist 2

The Solution

Sustainable, Safe and Efficient Low Pressure Water Mist Fire Suppression System

A Low Pressure water mist fire suppression systems use less water than traditional sprinkler systems to help protect what matters most without sacrificing performance. Less water means reduced water damage to your property as well as reduced impact on the environment

Zoned local protection solution is the perfect match for this risk as it fast cools any hot gasses created reducing the risk of spreading through flash over. At the same time the watermist controls and reduces the fires to its origin making it easy to manually extinguish any remaining fires.

To learn more about watermist fire suppression our Customer Care Team is available today on 01628 902107 for an immediate response.

You can also email [email protected] for a prompt reply.

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