Housed in Convent Garden’s former flower market, originally built in the 1870s, London Transport Museum underwent a major refurbishment in 2005-2007. The refurbishment respected the listed, historic structure but also updated it and a full fire strategy was completed as part of this programme. However, in an environment that welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, plays host to a varied calendar of events and is available for corporate hire, managing the ongoing fire risk is part of the museum’s due diligence. As a result, the museum brought in the expertise of FDS consult to advise on a wide-ranging fire strategy when the visitor attraction re-opened in 2007.
The London Transport Museum has a ground floor and two further storeys, arranged in a mezzanine layout with a substantial central space that houses the large rolling stock on display. The original fire strategy justified the extended travel distances and lack of compartmentation with an advanced smoke control system and an aspirating smoke detection system to allow prompt evacuation in the very earliest stages of a fire. As there is a potential for large numbers of disabled visitors to be on site at any given time and a likelihood that most occupants will be unfamiliar with their surroundings, safe evacuation of the building is one of the key areas of the fire management strategy. What’s more, the building does not contain any places of relative safety, so the only solution for evacuation of occupants with limited mobility is to help them reach a place of safety outside the building, calling for a best practice approach to evacuation management.
To address these issues and ensure that the London Transport Museum is as safe in practice as it is on paper, FDS Consult’s team used its knowledge and understanding of best practice procedures to draw up a management plan with separate strategies for:
- Fire drills
- Fire equipment maintenance
- Contingency planning
Having used the refurbished building for the past three years, the London Transport Museum has now brought FDS Consult back in to streamline this plan based on the types of events and occupancy levels it expects going forward.