Al Asima is a truly landmark development that is remarkable not simply because of its considerable size and scope but also because it is the iconic central scheme in the regeneration of Kuwait City. Developing and justifying a fire strategy for this ambitious project was extremely complex and, as globally-recognised experts, FDS Consult was brought in to design the fire strategy and carry out Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling analysis to demonstrate that the company’s innovative approach would deliver high levels of safety.
To define the fire strategy, FDS Consult followed the British and US standards and regulations, utilising the company’s creative approach to fire design alongside these guidelines where it was advantageous to do so. The project involved numerous challenges including the scale and mixed use nature of the scheme and resulting occupancy levels, the need to work outside local design codes and educate the Kuwaiti authorities regarding CFD, fire engineering and various architectural features such as the high rise tower and the large atrium.
Due to the mixed use nature of the building, FDS Consult employed a phased evacuation protocol throughout the development. The local authorities had particular concerns about the evacuation of the office tower and adherence to local codes would have jeopardised the viability of this element of the scheme as the inclusion of four stair cores would have made the building spatially inefficient. FDS Consult’s expertise in using CFD modelling to demonstrate the efficacy of the fire systems specified, the viability of the evacuation strategy proposed and the behavior of fire and smoke was critical to justifying FDS Consult’s innovative approach to fire engineering the building.
The fire strategy also had to consider access for firefighting crews and water supply.
FDS Consult’s experienced team was able to justify extended travel distances, which in some areas were double the code requirement, and reduce the smoke venting specification by using CFD modelling to demonstrate the spread of smoke and fire. This assisted the local authorities in understanding the potential smoke development, which, in turn, allowed the design team to adopt a solutions-driven approach outside of the strict confines of the code and thereby achieve a cost effective and spatially efficient building.