Fire Protection Solutions for The Future of Hospital Design

hospital design fire protection trends

Fire Protection Solutions for The Future of Hospital Design

Posted on February 22nd, 2024

By Cliff Hartford, Business Development Manager 

Growing demand for healthcare services and advanced medical technologies have significantly influenced hospital design trends, requiring system designers and contractors to account for increasingly intricate facilities and heightened life safety requirements. Despite modern hospital projects’ growing complexity, construction schedules are getting progressively shorter, driven by building owners’ speed-to-market goals. Tighter schedules demand that fire protection designers and installers work faster and smarter, prompting many to tap into improved technologies that help streamline their work. Victaulic’s continued innovations in fire protection technology are positioned to address the evolving needs of the healthcare industry, equipping system designers and contractors with the best products and tools to achieve project goals.

Tight spaces, short schedules

Shrinking interstitial space availability is one of the biggest challenges hospital projects face in their fire protection scope. Hospitals require significant utilities and system redundancy for their operations, translating into large amounts of ductwork, piping and communication cables that contractors must install above ceilings and down corridors. Coordinating across mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) trades to ensure all critical systems and equipment fit in tight spaces can be quite challenging, especially in major hospitals with large loads. In particular, system main feeds on podium levels and within stairwells tend to require larger diameter pipes and, in turn, larger fittings and valves. Technologies that reduce valve and assembly footprints are needed to meet system and spatial requirements efficiently.

Fire protection specialists should consider products with smaller footprints, improved design flexibility and risk mitigation to help simplify installations and future retrofits. Assemblies, which package individual components into singular products, make solutions smaller and lighter while providing peace of mind that all required parts are included for code compliance. When new products are developed, the materials and features are tailored to unique healthcare applications. For example, sprinklers with non-ferrous materials allow for installation in MRI rooms utilizing large magnets. Gaskets are also added to flat-plate concealed sprinklers to help protect cleanrooms from contaminants above the ceiling. Additionally, replacing hard pipe with flexible technology makes it easier to route pipe within crowded interstitial spaces and adjust sprinkler head positioning before and after ceiling installation.

Streamlined installation with space- and time-saving solutions

To aid installers with interstitial space constraints and compressed schedules, Victaulic is focused on solutions for the healthcare market that incorporate new technologies into smaller assembly packages offering space-saving, time-saving and risk-mitigation benefits from design to commissioning phases.

The Series UMC Universal Manifold Check Assembly is a UL-Listed and FM-Approved complete floor assembly that reduces footprint size within staircases to support better Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) clearances in hospital applications. Each assembly includes an adjustable relief valve that reduces how often a system is drained and filled for hydraulic testing. It also features a flexible hose drain line that supports unique configurations to ensure ADA clearances within stairwells and reduce potential leak points. The Series UMC also includes a check valve cover plate to make inspection and maintenance as easy as possible for end users.

series umc universal manifold check assembly

The Series UMC Universal Manifold Check Assembly is a complete floor control assembly that integrates all necessary pre-mounted components in a compact unit, saving space in tight-quarter installations such as hospital stairwells and hallways.


Victaulic developed the VicFlex™ system to streamline installations within increasingly complex buildings, including brackets, braided hoses and sprinklers for various systems and ceiling configurations. Each product in this line is designed for ease of installation, ensuring sprinkler heads are always installed at the correct position as the ceiling settles or sags over time. The VicFlex™ Series VS1 Flexible Dry Sprinkler is used in preaction systems to mitigate the risk of costly repairs for hospitals by ensuring there is no water near sensitive equipment. Its 2-inch bend radius allows installation in tight spaces to avoid obstructions and eliminates soffit construction, saving space and material costs during hospital construction. The VicFlex Series VS2 Standard Coverage Sprinkler is a one-piece, 5.6 K-factor sprinkler that hospitals can use in retrofit applications to minimize the need for extensive calculations as they expand.

the series vs2 standard coverage sprinkler

The Series VS2 is the only flexible, UL-listed K5.6 Standard Coverage Sprinkler with no equivalent length calculations needed past the branch line. The single assembly allows for quick orders and installation with just one SKU and one field connection.


The Victaulic Vortex™ Hybrid Fire Extinguishing System utilizes sub-10 micron water droplets to cool protected areas and nitrogen to reduce oxygen to a level that does not support combustion. Used to protect intermediate distribution frames, server rooms and other critical high-value equipment throughout the hospital, Victaulic Vortex Hybrid Extinguishing Systems offer special hazard protection without the risk of water damage. Since nitrogen is a naturally occurring gas, Victaulic Vortex supports a hospital’s sustainability goals and eliminates issues associated with PFAS chemicals.

Today’s hospitals are vastly different compared to those designed decades ago. They incorporate increasingly complex systems in tighter spaces and accommodate a diverse array of medical technologies, each with unique fire safety requirements and considerations. To ensure the safety of occupants and property in these environments, life and fire safety designers must embrace technology that enhances efficiency without compromising quality.

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