The new B&Q store in New Malden is a flagship store, designed to provide a contemporary and sustainable retail environment. However, the building is situated on a problematic triangular site and maximising the usable floor space was vital. In order to help the project team achieve the store’s proposed layout, FDS Consult was brought on board to focus its innovative, solutions-driven fire engineering approach to the scheme’s unique challenges.
The extended travel distances and escape widths designed into the retail building did not meet the requirements recommended by Approved Document B so, using the team’s extensive fire engineering knowledge, FDS Consult successfully developed the scheme’s fire strategy to allow for a more flexible approach that would both meet approvals and answer the need to maximise floor space and minimise costs. Thanks to FDS Consult’s value-engineering expertise, the result was a successful store layout that gained fire approval whilst delivering total cost savings of more than £2.6 million.
Having developed the fire strategy, FDS Consult’s expert team was able to demonstrate that it provided for a safe evacuation procedure by using Consolidated Fire and Smoke Transport (CFAST) zone modelling software to carry out a comparison of ASET (Actual Safe Evacuation Time) and RSET (Required Safe Evacuation Time) data. By analysing the smoke filling time within the building, the FDS Consult team was able to Prove that all the occupants could safely leave the building before fire exists became untenable and avoid reducing travel distances or increasing exit widths.