Occupying a high profile site on the South Bank of the River Thames, Weston Homes’ Bridges Wharf scheme is a landmark development that combines 267 riverside apartments with commercial offices, a hotel, restaurant and leisure facilities all arranged in three towers with a central, communal square. Below ground there is a three sub-level basement containing car parking and leisure facilities. FDS Consult UK was commissioned to design a fire strategy that would ensure high standards of safety for the scheme whilst maximising any value-engineering opportunities and the company’s innovative approach fulfilled the brief and secured cost savings in excess of £5 million.
FDS Consult UK revised the scheme by:
- Introducing fan-assisted smoke shafts which allowed one staircase from Blocks A and C, and two stairs in Block B. In addition, an extra stair was removed from the basement gym accommodation.
- Proposing enhanced smoke venting facilities in the basement which reduced gas temperatures and allowed both the sprinklers and the increased compartmentation required by the fire code to be removed from the specification.
Throughout the development, FDS Consult UK devised a wide range of creative value-engineered solutions to improve safety whilst reducing build and fire systems costs. FDS Consult UK’s value engineering expertise delivered:
- Removal from the specification of sprinklers in all sleeping areas of the scheme’s hotel guest room and apartment elements
- Justification of shared staircases in ‘C Tower’ (for access to hotel, apartments, heliport, offices and restaurant), plus the reduction from three to two staircases to the tower itself
- Reduction to single staircases in commercial units, saving space and construction costs
- Connection of the residential core to the three levels of basement
- Optimisation of unprotected façade areas between blocks A and B
Thanks to FDS Consult UK’s expertise the developer not only made considerable cost savings in materials and fire systems but also reduced construction costs and increased the saleable space within the scheme. The fire strategy devised by FDS Consult UK also saved time on the project by simplifying the fire design and seamlessly coordinating the smoke venting arrangements. The success of the fire strategy led to the appointment of FDS Consult UK’s sister company, Fire Design Solutions, as the contractor to install the fire systems.