Alexander McQueen

FDS Consult, one of the UK’s leading experts in fire engineering, was enlisted to provide an innovative fire safety solution for the Alexander McQueen clothing store in London’s Dover Street.

The creation of the flagship store involved the dramatic transformation of an existing seven storey building, which had one staircase serving seven floors.

After an in-depth consultation FDS Consult recommended creating a sterile zone from the lift and staircase directly outside of the building, giving occupants a protected route outside and in order to achieve the protection to the escape route, fire curtains were placed in this zone.

The fire curtains would drop in a recommended two stages, ensuring no individuals can be trapped on the wrong side of the curtain on the ground level shop floor during a fire. To counteract the fact that this two stage mechanism can increase the risk of smoke entering the sterile zone, FDS Consult designed a mechanical smoke extraction system to operate only during the first stage of the curtain’s closure.

In addition a commercial sprinkler system was installed throughout the store. Not only did this system comply with the Insurer’s life safety standard requirements, but it had the added benefit of both reducing the size of any potential fires within the retail space and lowering the rate needed for the mechanical smoke extraction system.

To address the fact the existing building was over 11 metres in height and had a single staircase that needed to be protected, FDS Consult recommended pressurisation systems be installed in both the stairs and lift areas to pump air into these spaces and protect them against smoke.

Michel Wizenberg, Managing Director at FDS Consult, said: “Despite working in a small area, the solutions recommended by our engineers maximised the existing space available for product displays, whilst ensuring the safety of customers and staff. We were delighted to work on the recent Alexander McQueen project”.