SFPE Discussions

Hydroslide Towers

Sorry to hog the forum but another query. 10 metre high tower for hydroslides. Single stair. Has to involve an alternative solution doesn’t it? It just doesn’t work otherwise. One I looked at had no alarms, excessive travel distance, no signs, no lighting. Are the slides an escape route? There are hundreds of these around. Must rely on staff observation. Am I being stupid and overly cautious or am I missing something here? Any help appreciated. Again.

Hi Tim,

I did a fire report for a hydroslide at Waiwera Hotpools a couple of years ago however it didnt get to BC stage as the resort shutdown. We did it as Risk Group CA under the Acceptable Solutions - no fire alarm system (most likely <50 occupants) however we did specify that the slide could be used as an alternative means of escape. We did put exit signs though.

Based on the pre-app meeting council wanted some of the following items addressed.

Pre-app comments:

It is an open structure but the applicant needs to address Clause C of the Building Code due to the provisions in the Building Act.

  1. A qualitative analysis of the fact the structure is open and there are adequate means of egress, would possible suffice.

  2. The Council still needs to have information on occupant loads and any threat to a person during the course of using the access structure.

Some other info which could be helpful:

Risk of fire, sources of ignition, staff awareness and training. Also depending on the slide, children maybe restricted by their height and there are ground rules for children to be accompanied by parents or an adult.

I have had similar thoughts while standing in the queue with the kids in the past. I think you are correct that it doesn’t easily slot into a C/AS2 hole.

I had a similar case of a tower containing funeral ashes some years ago. There were very few people in the tower in a position to evacuate, and the approach as an alternative design was over fuel and ignition control. Everything in the tower in this case was concrete. Wiring was in metal conduit and where wires entered or exited to a light fitting or fire alarm device, this was sealed with fire sealant, so that if a cable caught fire, it was limited to the amount exposed which was minimal. Light fittings were metal and not plastic.

In your case, the stair tower is also usually well ventilated or open, which is an advantage, along with staff control and management - if you can rely on it. If you have timber steps, as many hydro slide towers do, then keep cables and electrical equipment clear.

There were certainly more than 50 people waiting for the slides during busy periods – say at least one per step if not more, so you couldn’t rely on having less than 50 people if that was important.

I would also say you need good emergency lighting, including in the pool and stairs (and slide?). This opinion is based on the performance criteria of the building code, irrespective of the travel distances. Consider trying to evacuate kids out of a pool in the dark.