The multi-storey Santa Sophia Catholic College campus will provide the next generation of students with contemporary learnings and recreational spaces. The innovative design features a six-storey building comprising five interlinked blocks, all connected via extensive, open-corridor play areas with classroom spaces, a creative hub for art and applied sciences, a research hub for science and fitness, a large theatre/hall as part of a performance hub, a professional hub comprising administration and staff space and a community hub comprising a knowledge centre.
The intrinsic theme of this design is connectivity – between students, different areas of the school and the natural environment. The design team recognised the importance of including atria and open corridor play areas for the different year groups.
Holmes’ early involvement in the project allowed the design team to consult on fire safety requirements that could be potentially restrictive to the architectural vision if addressed at a later stage. The proposed architectural design resulted in significant non-compliances to the BCA Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions. However, Holmes developed fire engineering solutions that utilise the intrinsic architectural features as part of the fire strategy, supported by advanced numerical tools such as computational fluid dynamics and dynamic occupant evacuation.
Each level of the five blocks will be connected via concrete floor slabs resulting in the entire building being considered one large fire compartment. Ventilated circulation spaces have been introduced between the buildings to offset the effects of a fire in the oversized fire compartment. The school’s design also includes numerous stairways connecting the different levels which have all been utilised in our fire safety assessment, offering multiple alternative exits routes for students and staff to reach a place of safety on the ground.
The structural fire engineering analysis focused on the protection of the steel structure in the Performance Hall. Holmes undertook a series of assessments to rationalise the level of fire proofing that was necessary. Additionally, due to the various fire proofing methods implemented in the building, Holmes provided strategies to address the junctions where the different fire protection systems overlap.
Open in late 2021, Santa Sophia Catholic College will be central to the Box Hill communities continued and thriving growth.
This groundbreaking multi-level timber facility will provide the university with contemporary teaching spaces, lecture theatres and team based learning areas for future medicine and health science students. The unique design features a prefabricated Glulam and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) structure. The building, interconnected with an internal stairway across four storeys also has a custom fire separation strategy, protecting the top storey from a potential ground level fire.
Holmes worked with the client to create flexibility in the design for potential change in building function in the future. The Structural Fire Engineering team undertook a detailed analysis to provide versatility in the floor plate layout in the event of a catastrophic fire event, considering varying options in the space and how it may be used in the future. Numerous egress and fire services design issues were allowed for and considered in the design of the building, ensuring aesthetic appeal and functionality could be maintained whist providing the highest levels of fire safety. Multiple primary egress routes, avenues of attack for fire brigade, and increased provision of wet fire services were key elements to providing a high level of safety throughout the building.
Other design aspects include a striking timber colonnade entry, incorporating both steel and timber elements, unprotected timber within internal areas, bespoke structural connections, all of which were a key focus of the fire engineering strategy to enable the execution of this innovative design.
St Vincent’s College, Potts Point has recently finished a refurbishment to its Block B buildings, improving the circulation between classrooms and adding an all-weather outdoor space. The new addition, designed by ThomsonAdsett Architects, features open walkways overlooking a covered breezeway, which has a modern aesthetic featuring glass and concrete, contrasting to the heritage façade it is connected to. The overall result is an impressive construction, improving the functionality of these once disconnected buildings, whilst being sympathetic to its heritage features.
The design incorporates louvered glass walls creating a breezeway, transforming a once dark and neglected area of the building into a bright airy, all weather space for students to enjoy during their class breaks. Holmes played a key role in the realisation of this architectural vision, using a performance based approach to justify omission of sprinklers to much of the breezeway, the use of natural ventilation instead of mechanical smoke exhaust and the use of a glass feature stair for egress.
The experienced Fire Engineers at Holmes used CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) modelling to assess the impact of potential fire scenarios and married that with results from and computer based egress modelling to demonstrate that students, staff and visitors would be afforded sufficient time to evacuate safety.
RRSIC Stage 1 project was the larger and more technically challenging of the two stages of the Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre. With a total project budget of $216 million for Stages 1 and 2, the new centre will provide accommodation for the College of Science, along with an unprecedented resource for the Canterbury region.
Minimisation of fire separation to reduce fire rating to services and penetrations was critical to the client and architectural vision for an open and connected teaching environment. This also contributed to ease of construction, reduced construction cost and minimising future maintenance requirements for the building.
During the period between design approval and completion of the building the fire design withstood several changes to the building design with minimal implications. This demonstrated the risk consideration/robustness approach to the final functionality and buildability applied to the final fire design, while still minimising ‘over design’. The fire design gave the other consultants and client and confidence to design and not mandate or constrict their solutions.
The design stages were delivered on time and on budget, with active involvement through the extended construction period required by Fletchers.
Holmes also provided structural fire analysis using finite element methods to demonstrate the capacity of specific structural members.
The new Blyth Performing Arts Centre at Iona College, Hawkes Bay sits proudly near the entry to the school. The building houses a 400 seat auditorium, entry foyer and associated back of house and support facilities essential for a performing arts centre environment. The building adopts the use of timber throughout, adding warmth to both the performance space and the building’s exterior. The asymmetric and gracefully curved roof of the building further adds an embracing character to the acoustically refined space.
Holmes undertook a Fire Engineering Briefing (FEB) process for the Performing Arts Centre building, to establish the key parameters for the fire design from relevant project stakeholders prior to the building consent stage. Identified during the briefing process, the fire engineering design also considered the school’s intentions for a future additional stage of works to extend the centre’s facilities.
We provided Performance-Based Engineering design services for the building, which included smoke and egress modelling to determine fire safety compliance within the auditorium and foyer spaces. This enabled the design to optimise the number and width of egress routes provided within the building, in turn enabling higher utilisation of floor area for public and support activities. The location and extent of passive fire separations was carefully considered throughout the building to minimise the impact that these would have on theatre functionality and maintenance. Liaison with the local fire brigade also was critical to achieving appropriate fire fighting facilities, whilst minimising the impact of the relevant equipment on the welcoming aesthetic of the building.