Education: Higher Education

Education buildings can represent the most challenging fire safety projects, and the critical success factors to enable design excellence and best value for money would typically include:

  • Addressing property protection and business continuity aspects, and general compliance strategy for BB100 for schools.
  • Open-ness of design (atria, large compartments).
  • Smoke control systems, to enable smoke retardant construction and toughened glazing to achieve fire compartmentation performance, or to enable open balcony escape.
  • Extended travel distance and use of accommodation stairs for escape.
  • Choice of evacuation strategy. Progressive Horizontal Evacuation may enable best management of any evacuation, especially beneficial for special needs students and disabled persons.
  • Strategy for means of escape for disabled persons and coordination with the management of evacuation for the facility.
  • Cost-benefit analysis of sprinklered, partially-sprinklered, and non-sprinklered options.
  • Integration of fire strategy with building service’s environmental strategy, particularly relevant for natural ventilation and low-energy solutions.
  • Integration of security and escape, and development of engineered fire alarm systems (BS 5839 L5 standard); particularly relevant in the design for partial-occupation situations e.g. where areas of the school are occupied (e.g. let for third-party/out of hours purposes) whilst remainder of school is unoccupied.
  • Account for effect of construction on any existing facilities and for any phasing of occupation.
  • Fire service access and firefighting.
  • Negotiation with Building Regulations body and Fire Authority, to ensure an efficient approvals process and enable confident progression of the design.

Notable projects include:

  • Anglia Ruskin University £40M development of new building within and attached to other existing buildings in a congested operational site [ARU] (BDP).
  • Partnership For Learning [Jaguar] (Taylor Young)
  • Blackburn College of Higher Education £20M multi-storey building with atrium on operational site. [Blackburn College] (Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams)
  • Sheffield University Learning Centre £30M – A phased construction / occupation facility within a congested operational site [Sheffield University] (RMJM)
  • LAMDA £25M. A new facility in a congested site providing studio and educational facilities and a new auditorium/training theatre, connecting to an existing building. [London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts] (Niall McLaughlin Architects)
  • Hope Hospital Education Block £30M – a new 5-storey education building on the existing congested operational hope hospital site. [Hope Hospital] (HKS)
  • Wildscreen World @Bristol £40M – includes a large format theatre, education centre, and an interactive (PC-based) zoo [At Bristol] (Michael Hopkins & Partners)
  • St Andrew's Medical Centre £50M [St Andrews] (Reiach & Hall)
  • Forth Valley College £30M [Forth Valley] (Reiach & Hall)
  • North Wall Performing Arts Centre £20M (RIBA National Award, RIBA South Conservation Award, Evening Standard Special Award for Innovative Theatre, Civic Trust Award - All 2008); a timber-framed building providing a public theatre, also for student training, with disabled student access to all levels including the fly gallery. [St Edward’s school] (Haworth Tompkins)
  • Pitts River Museum Research Centre £15M – The new research centre is attached to the existing Oxford University Pitts River Museum, and includes archive & public access accommodation [Oxford University] (Pringle Richards Sharratt)
  • Hull History Centre £25M – A new facility incorporating archive and public access. [Hull City Council] (Pringle Richards Sharratt)