FDS Consult meets the grade at Littlehampton academy
Added on October 9th, 2014
By Bijan Fard
We recently completed work on a new academy in West Sussex, working with our client, Architecture PLB.
When it came to designing Littlehampton Academy, both the architect and the school wanted to create a comfortable space for students with an ‘open plan’ feel.
FDS Consult was tasked with creating a bespoke fire engineering solution for a 5,600m² floor area, which is well above the maximum 2,000m² compartment size detailed under the Building Bulletin 100 (BB100): Design for Fire Safety in Schools.
Drawing on experience gained from previous school projects, our team recommended a combination of systems including a sprinkler system, which are common in schools with areas spanning more than 800m², together with a natural smoke ventilation system – a component not usually required in a school environment.
This highly innovative ventilation system utilised existing windows at the ends of the building’s wings and at the head of the central voids to allow smoke to move from floor to floor and out through the clear storeys – ensuring that regardless of the location of the fire, the smoke would not spread over a 2,000m² area – using smoke venting methods to achieve the virtual compartmentation. This solution also enabled the school to achieve an open classroom door policy, meeting one of the end client’s main aims.
Taking an intelligent, value engineered approach to the specification of sprinkler systems, our team was also able to engineer a solution that was tailor made for the academy, removing the need for unnecessary tanks and zoning, given that the school acts as a single zone. By including life safety enhancements the system was also able to satisfy both insurers and Building Control.
This project was a prime example of the benefits that working with FDS Consult from the early stages can bring to a project. By working with Architecture PLB and the end client we were able to achieve design freedom while also providing cost savings and a safe, functional space for the school.