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 Earth Galleries - Fire engineering, fire modelling, evacuation & smoke

In 1996 a successful lottery bid enabled the make-over of the traditional geological Museum into the high profile and high-tech Earth Galleries. With an opening to coincide with the premiere of the blockbuster ""Independence Day"" the Earth Galleries combine traditional Museum structure with an innovative and interactive vision of the Earth.

This atrium building was formally home to cabinets displaying the Earth's natural treasures, but in a passive and, to some minds, unexciting way. Now the atrium has been transformed into a vista of the constellations, one of the largest escalators in a British public building rises to the atrium roof, passing through a revolving globe constructed from metals of the Earth hand-crafted into the shape of the World's continents.

The challenges this vision brought to fire safety meant a wholly engineered approach involving the modeling of occupants and population distribution, evacuation movements, fire initiation and smoke transport modeling, and led to a unique fire safety strategy which balanced hazard against tenability. Using existing features and new systems we were able to ensure the intentions of the designers could be realised whilst ensuring occupants would be able to evacuate safely should the worst happen. Fire risks were reduced by the incorporation of low heat fixtures and construction of limited combustibility; smoke curtains and downstands incorporated into the exhibition spaces enabled the modeling and control of smoke, modifications to existing (and Listed) windows to remove smoke using natural ventilation techniques, and the construction of new stairs, were designed.

In considering new stairs LWF designed escape capacities using flow rates rather than prescriptive stair widths. We innovated the modification of an existing disused building linking the Geological Museum with the Science Museum, ensuring that the interests of Heritage and Planning were optimised. This resulted in a low-cost stair with minimal environmental impact and also enabled the Museum to take advantage of newly refurbished office and valuable storage space. A further stair was constructed which utilised the benefits of Planar technology.

Fire Safety Engineer: LWF
Design & construct manager: Northcroft Construction Architect: Pawson Williams Architects
Building service engineer: Klimaat
Quantity surveyor: Northcroft QS
Structural engineer: Fothergill & Co
Project value: £13,000,000

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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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