Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants



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Lawrence Webster Forrest
Legion House
Lower Road
Kenley
Surrey
CR8 5NH

Tel: +44 (0)20 8668 8663 Fax: +44 (0)20 8668 8583
E-mail: fire@lwf.co.uk

Case Study: The British Museum - Fire Safety Plan

The British Museum occupies approximately one million square feet of Grade 1 Listed buildings in Bloomsbury, central London. The occupation is diverse and split between public display areas, departmental research and storage, administration and support services.

Brief

LWF's brief was to devise a standard of fire safety (Fire Plan) for the museum that would meet fire certification standards, meet all of the museum's moral obligations for life safety to staff and visitors, afford protection to the Collections and to the fabric of the building.

Discussion

The physical features of the public spaces of the museum allowed, following risk assessment, an innovative use of fire engineering techniques to prove life safety criteria without the need for intrusive physical fire compartmentation. The relatively low fire loads inherent within the gallery spaces combined with a philosophy of separation of risk areas lead to the adoption of zonal fire modelling on a progressive fill basis. The model took advantage of the large volume of the spaces to predict time to hazard.

A computer based evacuation model using the Exodus product was constructed and compared against the fire development model. Time to evacuate for a number of scenarios was compared with fire development options and safety factors discussed and agreed with the London Fire Brigade. In all the Fire Plan was accepted by the brigade and a plan of implementation agreed for action by the Museum.

Conclusion

The application of fire engineering techniques in these large existing buildings served several purposes. It ensured that appropriate fire precautions to meet statutory standards were developed with minimal intrusions to the fabric of the buildings; it enabled the museum to operate as it wished in terms of unimpeded circulation; it met the statutory requirements of the fire authority and it formed a fire safety plan within which all projects could fit and prove fire safety adequacy.

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FIRE SAFETY BLOGS

  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & External Water Supplies - Part 27

    In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been looking at fire safety engineering. In part 26, we looked at how the choice of fire hydrant can affect the efficiency of delivery and by working out the additional time required to prime an underground hydrant when compared to a pillar hydrant with instantaneous couplings, it was established there could be as much as 2 minutes delay...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Venting of Basements - Part 61

    In LWFs blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 60 of this series, the placement of fire hydrants in relation to hospital buildings was discussed. In part 61, we will look at the effects of smoke on basement levels and the use of venting.A fire which starts in a basement or involves a basement level causes...

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  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Insurers & Property Protection - Part 8

    In LWF’s blog series for those who work in Facilities Management or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at the part Insurers have played in property protection over the years. In part 7, we discussed the role the FOC played in producing rules and regulations not only for building standards but also for fire protection products. In part 8, we will continue looking at the impact of...

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  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & External Water Supplies - Part 26

    In LWF’s fire engineering blog series for Architects and other interested parties in the building design business, we have been looking at firefighting. In part 25, we looked at how hydrants should be located in relation to the building perimeter and the likely position of a Fire Service pump upon attending a fire at the premises. In part 26, we continue looking at location and also the type of hydrant provided in relation to the...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Mains - Part 60

    In LWFs blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 59 of this series, LWF discussed the requirements for healthcare buildings with a hospital street and which do not require a fire-fighting shaft. In part 60, we will look at the provision of fire mains.Fire mains must be provided in every firefighting shaft, or in some instances,...

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Case Studies

The Wohl Neuroscience Institute - Fire Safety, Strategy & Engineering
Key Facts: Client: King’s Clinical Neuroscience Institute Project Manager: MACE Ltd Designers: Devereux Architects/Allies and Morrison Approximate Size: 7,400m2 Description of the Project:...

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General Bulletins

Fire - The External Risk
When we consider fire safety, our focus is normally from within, what can we do to prevent the occurrence of fire and how we can limit its damage.  Whilst this is the correct stance to take, we m...

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Technical Bulletins

Evacuation Modelling - Factor in Human Behaviour
Evacuation of buildings can be analyzed in different ways. Approved Document B (ADB) which provides guidance on meeting the requirements of the England and Wales Building Regulations with regard to fi...

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