University of Portsmouth

FDS Consult has provided a tailored fire safety solution for a four-storey extension of the University of Portsmouth’s Eldon Building.

The new home of the University’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, the 2,000m² space at Middle Street, required the design of a complete construction works escape strategy to achieve Building Regulations compliancy in the event of fire.

As the work saw the joining of the new extension to existing university property, FDS Consult was tasked with designing a cohesive means of escape strategy, working with existing staircases while minimising the impact of new stairs in reducing the building’s overall usable floor area.

The solution was to devise a methodology to calculate the escape capacity from various areas, based on a number of potential fire scenarios. On reviewing the architect’s original proposals, FDS Consult was also able to use escape capacity calculations to justify the inclusion of a double-height space in the new building and the removal of two additional staircases without compromising safety, thus reducing project costs while increasing the building’s usable floor space.

Adding further complexity, parts of the campus remained open while construction was taking place, introducing a need to maintain safe egress while the work was carried out. By drawing up a construction phasing plan, FDS Consult was able to ensure the safe use of the existing building while the extension works were taking place.

Jim Golt, Senior Associate Fire Engineer at FDS Consult, added: “Given our history with the university’s design team we were confident that we could provide an appropriate fire strategy for this project. In addition to preparing a strategy report for the new space, our experts also carried out a full escape analysis for the existing building and drew up a construction phasing plan that allowed for continued use of the space while the new extension was being constructed.”

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