We describe a simple standing technique for delivering total body irradiation (TBI) using large horizontal fields, made possible by the off-centre installation of a non-dedicated treatment unit in a pre-existing bunker. Patients are treated using anterior and posterior fields with customized lung compensators. This technique enables the dose to the lung to be accurately calculated and modified to avoid overdose and to minimize the risk of pneumonitis. From February 1991 to December 1997, 94 patients with a variety of haematological malignancies were given fractionated TBI using this technique prior to allogenic or autologous bone marrow transplantation. Patients received a total dose of 14.4 Gy given in eight fractions over 4 days, with at least 6 h between fractions. The prescribed dose to the lungs was reduced to 12 Gy in eight fractions. The technique was well tolerated, took less than 10 min to set up and did not disrupt the daily routine use of the machine. Doses to all measured points on the trunk and head were within ±6% of the prescribed dose. Doses to the lungs were within ±5% of the prescribed dose. There were no early respiratory deaths in the 37 autologous transplant patients. There were 10 (17%) respiratory deaths in the 57 allogeneic transplant patients, 3 of confirmed infectious aetiology.