FDS Consult fashions a high end solution for Alexander McQueen
Added on December 2nd, 2013
By Bijan Fard
The creation of the new flagship Alexander McQueen clothing store in London’s Dover Street involved the dramatic transformation of an existing seven storey building.
FDS Consult’s services were enlisted to provide an innovative and adequate fire safety solution for the property, which featured just one shared staircase serving the seven floors.
The existing structure allowed only one means of escape for occupants, via a single staircase which opened on to the middle of the floor plate at ground level.
Following an in-depth consultation with the client, our experts recommended creating a sterile zone from the lift and staircase directly outside of the building, giving occupants a protected route outside. In order to achieve the protection to the escape route, fire curtains were placed in this zone.
The fire curtains recommended would drop in 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, we 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.
As the Alexander McQueen building is over 11 metres in height it should have had two staircases to comply with the Building Regulations. To address the fact that the building had a single staircase that needed to be protected, FDS Consult’s experts recommended pressurisation systems be installed in both the stairs and lift areas to pump air into these areas and protect them against smoke.
Despite working in a small area, the solutions provided maximised the existing space available for product displays whilst ensuring the safety of customers and staff.