Handling more than five million passengers a year, Bristol Airport is a major regional airport and it has ambitious plans to increase the amount of traffic it handles to 10 million per annum by 2019/20. To enable it to do this, the airport is undergoing a substantial redevelopment programme and FDS Consult UK was brought on board to apply its innovative approach to fire engineering to the first phase of this renovation project, drawing on the team’s considerable experience of airport environments worldwide.
The project involved changes to the existing internal layout of the terminal building along with the construction of an external walkway to enable passengers to walk to departure gates rather than being transported to aircraft from the terminal building by bus. FDS Consult UK’s expert team was given the remit of developing the fire strategy for both the refurbished building and the new walkway and of devising an evacuation strategy that would maximise safety across both elements of the building whilst addressing business continuity and security issues.
Fundamental to the fire design of both elements of the project was the land side/air side compartmentation strategy that FDS Consult UK’s experienced approach enabled the team to deliver. This ensured that, in the event of a land side fire, only pre-security clearance passenger traffic would need to be evacuated, enabling flights to leave on a business as usual basis. Similarly, an air side evacuation would ensure that check ins could proceed as normal and, critically for security, if the whole airport should need to be evacuated, the land side and air side passengers would remain separate. FDS Consult UK also contributed to the airport’s business continuity planning by specifying an isolated alert fire alarm system, enabling airport staff to verify whether an incident is a genuine fire or a false alarm before evacuation is initiated and fire crews are sent in.
Owing to FDS Consult UK’s innovative approach to fire engineering, Bristol Airport was able to increase travel distances, reduce exit widths, minimise fire rated protection and implement an evacuation policy that would maximise safety, security and business continuity whilst also achieving significant cost savings.