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Services

Fire Engineering

Fire engineering is an essential element of building design in modern buildings. Rather than the application of simplistic prescriptive guidance, fire engineering can be used to ensure that the final design achieves the optimum solution for the end-user from both architectural and cost perspectives.

The RPS Fire Engineering team comprises a team of MSc qualified Chartered Fire Engineers providing consultancy services across the full spectrum of building projects.

Our services include:

Strategic design appraisals

Fire strategy reports and drawings

Computational fluid dynamics modelling

Computational evacuation modelling

Fire safety management documentation

Fire risk assessments

Property protection and business continuity reporting

Quantitative fire risk assessment

Our approach focuses on providing a continual service to our clients from review of early concept design proposals through to the preparation of detailed fire strategy documentation to support the building regulations application.

Case Studies

Heart Of The Campus, Sheffield Hallam University

 

 

The £15.7m Heart of the Campus development is a new facility on the Collegiate Campus of Sheffield Hallam University, constructed as an extension to an existing building on a live university site. The development includes spacious classrooms, labs, lecture theatres, dedicated classrooms, meeting rooms, informal spaces and a three-storey atrium. To provide the optimum design solution from end user and cost perspectives there were a number of design aspects requiring a fire engineered approach as an alternative to compliance with prescriptive guidance. Two firefighting shafts were required for compliance with standard guidance. The ideal location of the stairs created internal lobbies which would have required large natural smoke shafts or costly mechanical smoke extract systems to ventilate the lobbies.

A fire engineered solution was developed and agreed with the university and statutory authorities that permitted the omission of smoke ventilation from the firefighting lobbies on lower floors and retained direct smoke ventilation to the topmost lobbies directly through the roof. This provided significant simplification to this aspect of the design. There were aspects of the escape route design not in compliance with prescriptive recommendations. In particular, escape routes were located in close proximity to open balconies around the atrium on upper floors. A fire engineered solution was developed to justify the escape routes along the open balconies based on the high standard of automatic smoke detection and the inherent benefits of the good visual communication around the atrium. RPS led the development of the fire strategy report and the consultation with Sheffield City Council regarding approval of the fire strategy. In particular, approval was obtained for fire engineered solutions to the atrium design, compartmentation arrangements and firefighting facilities.

South West Acute Hospital, Fermanagh

 

 

RPS was appointed by FCC Infrastructure and Interserve to fulfil the role of civil, structural and fire engineering consultant on this 380 bed acute hospital. The £267 million project provided all single rooms with en-suite facilities along with an A & E department, laboratory services, inpatient services (including critical care, major and emergency surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology) as well as outpatient services. The development also included provision for key worker’s accommodation and a two deck car park.

The ground conditions varied considerably at the site, and as such a variety of foundation solutions were adopted from CFA Piling to pad and strip footings. The building structure is a reinforced concrete flat slab which offered benefits in terms of ease of construction and services distribution but which also maximises flexibility in the future spatial planning of the building by accommodating changes in layout without requiring alterations to the building structure.

In terms of fire safety, the strategy for the hospital was based on the “Hospital Street” concept. The street runs for the full length of the building, broken up by a central atrium space and acts as a primary means of escape from the building in the event of a fire and also serves as a protected mustering point for the fire brigade. Fire Engineering techniques were used extensively in the design of the building to address departures from standard guidance including smoke control provisions in the atrium, firefighting facilities, compartmentation and sub-compartmentation proposals and extensions in travel distance.

Titanic Belfast

 

 

This £97m iconic civic building is clad in three thousand different shaped silver anodized aluminium sheets folded into complicated asymmetrical geometries with the facades leaning out at angles of up to 72 degrees. The building has seven upper storeys covering an area of 14,000m2 along with a two storey basement providing 520 car-parking spaces. The main feature of the building is the five storey galleries arranged around a central atrium. These galleries explore aspects of the design, building, sinking and legacy of the Titanic. The two uppermost storeys of the building comprise conference and banqueting facilities.

RPS was commissioned to provide fire engineering advice on the project and to liaise with the statutory authorities to gain regulatory approval for the work. The building presented a number of significant challenges in terms of fire safety and its innovative architectural design meant that the application of standard fire safety guidance could not be applied and would not have provided cost effective design solutions. RPS prepared a detailed fire strategy report for the development and engaged with the design team and the approving authorities throughout the design development stages of the project. Challenges faced included maintaining stair sizes to a minimum to allow the useable floor area for exhibits and retail outlets to be maximised. In addition the central atrium space is a focal point in the building and acts as a primary circulation space. As this space is heavily occupied and forms part of the escape route from the building, advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling was undertaken to demonstrate that the visitors in the building would remain safe in the event of a fire.