At 57 storeys high, The Pacifica reaches through Auckland’s city skyline to offer residents and tourists broad views of the harbour while surrounded by the comforts of a bustling city.
The fire safety design for The Pacifica employed an innovative response to the challenge of smoke ingress to the fire protected stairs. Each of the two stairs is internally subdivided by fire separations to limit the potential spread of smoke. This design strategy is more effective (more reliable and with higher efficacy) and less expensive to maintain than a conventional stairway pressurisation system. Each stair is provided with the ability to exit and re-enter the alternate stair to bypass any section of the stair that is compromised by smoke or blocked by firefighter activities.
The Holmes project team designed (fire modelling) and specified an innovative stairway smoke purging system which is intended to provide clear air within the stair for firefighters. Holmes provided an innovative double-curtain fire separation, to substitute for a fixed glass fire separation wall that could not be constructed due to supply issues for fire rated glazing systems.
The fire safety design considered the specific needs of the civilian occupants during a fire emergency and firefighters’ specific needs when working in a tall building (influenced strongly by the lessons learnt from the Grenfell Tower fire in London). building-specific stair signs to provide civilians and firefighters with information specific to their situation: which stairway they are in; the floor level identification (for accurate communication when assistance is needed); where the final exit is located and the number of floors to reach either the final exit or a place in the building for interim refuge or assistance). Additional WIP phones were provided to allow fire wardens to communicate with firefighters from a place of safety and for firefighters to communicate from inside the stairs to the Fire Control Room.
Fire engineering services included:
- fire engineering design for an Alternative Solution for Code compliance
- design and documentation of the Fire Engineering Strategy
- coordination of fire requirements for building services interfaces
- performance specification for the stairway smoke control systems
- specification of the evacuation sequencing and coordination with the Evacuation Scheme consultant
- review of and coordination with the fire protection systems consultant and contractor
- review of passive fire stopping details at fire separation junctions, review of submissions from the specialist passive fire contractor
- review of the fire safety systems interfaces & commissioning programme
- construction monitoring for the duration of the construction programme
- witnessing of fire systems interfaces operation and evacuation system sequences operation
Situated at Kangaroo Point, Monterey will be a 12 storey mass timber hybrid, aimed at the luxury end of the residential sector. The building features a pool, gym and a rooftop recreation space offering panoramic views of Brisbane River and the city skyline.
Monterey aims to become the benchmark for sustainability in Brisbane utilising glulam mass timber construction for the majority of the building superstructure. The building core is constructed of reinforced concrete for both lateral stability and to facilitate parts of the fire safety strategy.
Our Structural Fire Engineers prepared a bespoke fire engineering design that incorporated a progressive passive protection strategy that allowed for a reduced level of protection throughout the residential apartments and exposed timber surfaces in corridors and balcony soffits. The fire safety strategy also incorporated the utilisation of steel columns in the penthouse apartment and open pergola style roof.
Our team have been providing construction review services and ongoing technical support to the wider team as the building takes shape in preparation for its grand opening at the end of 2020. Our engineers’ experience with approval authorities was key in facilitating the communication process between all project parties and approval authorities, such that compliance issues with this bespoke structural system were successfully navigated without project delay.
Ariel and Aurora Apartments are a set of new, high rise residential towers in Granville. The new development strives to provide convenience and comfort for its community with retail and commercial tenancies on the lower floors of each building and pockets of green spaces.
At 19 storeys, Aurora Apartments is not only the tallest building in The Altitude Collection, but also in Granville. The building features a large, full length glass atrium to maximise natural light and ventilation throughout. Residents also have access to a communal rooftop Sky Garden offering 360° views of Sydney’s skyline. Holmes developed a cost saving bespoke smoke control strategy for the atrium and demonstrated through CFD modelling that the strategy will provide an adequate level of fire safety to occupants in the building.
Ariel Apartments offers its residents similar views as its neighbour Aurora and features a rooftop Sky Garden as well. The building stands at 18 storeys and does not have an atrium, instead the apartments have been designed to increase natural ventilation and lighting.
Holmes was engaged from the design stage of this project to provide fire engineering services for both buildings. A number of Performance Solutions were required to support the design intent for both buildings relating to glazed elements in fire walls, travel distances to exit on residential and carpark levels, the use of jet fans in the mechanical ventilation at the carpark areas and the staged evacuation strategy of the towers.
Holmes worked closely with the architects and project team to ensure that the solutions offered would not inhibit the design intent to create an inviting and convenient area for the community and maximise natural ventilation and lighting for residents.
Waterfall by Crown is set up as four striking buildings, offering 331 apartments. Located in Sydney’s Green Square each building is positioned on a densely planted central concourse of tropical foliage. The vision for the project is to provide ‘the perfect interplay of natural and manmade elements’.
Designed by SJB Architects for Crown Group, Waterfall is a luxury apartment development soon to redefine the residential market of the area and streetscape for the surrounding community to also appreciate. Three of the four towers are 8 stories high and are connected by long open-air walkways. One of these buildings creates a feature in itself with a waterfall on the façade, spanning its full height, giving rise to its name. The fourth tower, a 20-storey signature building featuring a roof top open-air cinema, will rise elegantly above the lavish greenery below.
Holmes first became involved in the project at concept stage in 2014 and through the process has worked with the wider design team as the project design has evolved.
One of the main challenges we faced through this project was the connection of these buildings and vertical voids interconnecting the floors within these buildings. We had to establish how to address the fire and smoke spread from the residential units into the voids and subsequent spread through the entire development. We rationalised this issue by reducing the overall fire and smoke compartments and improving egress as a result.
Additionally to assist with the staging of the development we created an interim fire safety strategy to enable staged occupation for the development so residents could move in prior to the entire development being completed.
Located in Liverpool, one of the key satellite suburbs of Sydney, 420 Macquarie Street is currently the tallest residential development in the area. The residential complex comprises two 32 storeys towers plus a sister tower at six storeys. The buildings include retail spaces on the lower levels and swimming pool located on a shared roof space. The complex will usher in a new generation of high-end living into Liverpool, and inject more life into the already vibrant community.
A very high degree of fire engineering and structural fire engineering principles were applied to the building. One of the unique input Holmes brought to the project was the reduced flat slabs that were demonstrated to achieve the required fire resistance levels throughout the building. This performance solution resulted in considerate savings to the project including approximately 1600m3 of concrete and 4000 tonnes of concrete. This not only improved the constructability of the project, but significant benefits were realised such as improved cost-efficiency and simpler construction techniques, while also improving the occupational performance of the complex over the lifetime of the structure.
Despite the significant benefits this provided in reduction to construction resourcing costs and timeframes, notable flow-on benefits of the thinned slabs was the design flexibility for the project. Standardised façade systems were catered for without increasing the overall inter-storey height of the building, and slab set-downs in wet areas were also not required, resulting in further cost savings to the project. Subsequently, the considerable benefits to this project has led to this structural fire engineering analysis to be conducted on a multitude of reinforced concrete projects, with dozens completed to date.
Developed in collaboration with award-winning architects, fjmt, Eastlakes Live has been inspired by native Australian plants and golden hues of nature. The Eastlakes shopping centre redevelopment aims to provide a revitalised destination that is integrated with modern apartment living, linking to the adjacent Eastlakes reserve.
The project has been split into two sites and stages, one on either side of Evans Avenue. The north site (being built first) is a single storey shopping mall, upon which there will be three blocks of residential units on the Podium landscaped space. The south site, currently at concept/early development will be a larger two-three storey shopping centre designed with an X formation. The ground floor will feature an extensive shopping complex, creating a unique shopping experience for not only the residents but also opening the development to the community at large. On top of the shopping centre, a large landscaped podium will house four feature residential tower blocks. The architectural form of these building will be impressive with the largest residential tower in an arc formation.
Based on the preliminary architectural drawings, Holmes was able to identify areas where the design either required or could be enhanced by Alternative Solutions including solutions to permit reduced fire ratings.
The retail areas in the southern site require a smoke exhaust system, however rather than taking the broad approach specified in the building code, we have undertaken Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling of the retail malls to predict the movement of smoke from a number of hypothetical fires. This enables a more efficiently designed smoke exhaust system, and additionally will intend for the smoke zones to be larger than those permitted in the building code. Holmes in addition to the retail space added significant value and design flexibility to the project by assessing the holistic risk of the residential portions of the building based on its use and specific design intent.
Assessing a project and how the design can be advanced using performance-based design is what our team strives to develop, resulting in a design solution that is advantageous to all stakeholders involved, with advanced safety for the end users as the ultimate focus.
V by Crown is a new 30 storey residential development in the heart of Parramatta, incorporating 519 apartments, with a mix of short-term and long-term accommodation. Designed by Allen Jack Cottier with interiors by Koichi Takada Architects, the building also includes an archaeological display and interpretation centre, international business centre, retail areas, rooftop bar, swimming pool, gymnasium, theatrette and six-storey basement carpark.
Holmes provided extensive fire engineering for the project, doubling the allowable occupant load within the Level 26 roof top bar. Computer simulation of fire, smoke and evacuation was utilised to demonstrate that the increased occupant number coupled with the installed fire safety systems resulted in safe egress time. Additionally, Holmes justified the design of an alternative smoke detection system within the Class 3 portion to reduce the likelihood of false alarms; omission of passive fire protection to multiple steel beams; reduced fire resistance levels in the retail areas; justification of extended travel distances and oversized corridors to avoid the need for additional smoke doors and egress stairs; unprotected openings between separate fire compartments; the use of glazing within fire walls; discharge of fire–isolated exits; fire hydrant and fire hose reel coverage; deletion of sprinklers from portions of the building; and deletion of zone smoke control to the retail and assembly portions of the building.
Infinity by Crown is a landmark multi-use apartment building designed to be a centerpiece of the Green Square precinct revitalization. The development contains 401 apartments, mixed-use retail, a convention center, pool gymnasium, theatre, music room and lounge, all built atop a multi-storey basement carpark and a subterranean pedestrian link to Green Square train station. The striking design features two intertwined loops representing a connection between public and residential space.
Holmes became involved with the project at the concept development stage where we provided Building Code Australia (BCA) compliance advice and identified where fire engineering could assist in maximizing design flexibility and adding value to the project. The design has been pushed far beyond the limits of the BCA Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions, with the Fire Engineering forming an integral part of the design from the outset.
Holmes’ well established relationship with both Crown Group and Koichi Takada Architects, across multiple projects, formed a solid platform for the development of the conceptual design, and the ongoing design development. Holmes’ early involvement provided the architect with the confidence to apply significant architectural freedom which was necessary to enable such an ambitious design to be realized. Holmes’ understanding of the key drivers and aspirations for Crown Group and Koichi Takada Architects has resulted in a fire safety design which is cohesive with the architectural intent.
Through collaboration with a large design team including the client, architect, structural engineer, mechanical engineer and fire services engineer, Holmes developed an intimate understanding of the building, and as a result was able to provide a thorough BCA Assessment at the completion of the Development Application phase, which formed the foundation for the evolution of the design going forward.
Holmes has since documented a significant number Fire Engineering Alternative Solutions to justify deviations from the building code including:
- Reduction of fire resistance levels (FRLs) to retail portions of the development – providing construction time and cost savings ;
- Justification of extended travel distances in residential and carpark areas – enabling one of the fire-isolated stairs that was in the original design to be deleted;
- Provision of fire dampers in lieu of sub-ducts in the stair pressurisation relief air shafts – minimizing the space requirements for the shafts and maximizing the saleable area of the apartments;
- Justification of discharge of fire-isolated stairs to the central open space where the path of travel to the street requires occupants to pass within 6 m of unprotected openings and back beneath the building – minimizing the area required for fire-isolated passageways and enabling the exterior façade of the building to remain clean and maximizing retail street frontage;
- Validation of residential public corridors exceeding 40 m in length – omitting smoke doors in the middle of corridors that would have compromised the architectural objectives of the interior design;
- Omission of sprinklers on the underside of the high level building overhang, over the swimming pool, and within selected areas within the residential apartments – deleting sprinkler heads required by the code, but which would be unlikely to activate or be ineffective in a fire;
- Provision of jet fans within the basement carparks – enabling a more cost effective and efficient design of the ventilation system; and
- Removal of the need for compliance for speech intelligibility of the occupant warning system within the basement carparks – providing a pragmatic approach to a frequently occurring issue.
Arc by Crown is an iconic mixed use development, an architectural statement, one that changed the Sydney skyline. Designed by Koichi Takada Architects, Arc by Crown is situated in the heart of Sydney and features a striking design incorporating heritage-inspired lower levels transitioning to a modern glass-and-steel tower, capped with a number of steel arches. The building incorporates multiple levels of basement carparking, two levels of retail and a combination of serviced and owner occupied apartments with a rooftop terrace.
Holmes provided Building Code of Australia (BCA) advice in the early stages of the project to identify potential non-compliance with the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions and areas where Fire Engineering could add value to the design. This enabled the design team to submit a bold design to council for Development Application approval, with the confidence that significant BCA non-compliances had been identified with a strategy in place to justify Alternative Solutions.
Arc by Crown contains a number of unique features that required Holmes to develop innovative, yet practical fire engineering solutions whilst still maintaining an acceptable level of fire safety. One example is the glass lift shaft connecting all above ground storeys, providing spectacular views to the north. The BCA prescriptive provisions require this shaft to be of masonry construction however, by providing a suite of subtle fire safety features, in-keeping with the architectural intent of the building, Holmes Fire was able to demonstrate that fire spread via the lift shaft would be mitigated, permitting the architecturally significant centrepiece glazed lift design to be embraced as a fire protected feature.
The design also incorporates natural ventilation for a number of the apartments. Holmes was able to develop a fire safety solution that enabled open windows in the fire rated walls between the apartments and the common corridors. This provides bright and airy living spaces that would not have been achievable under the BCA Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions.
Other Alternative Solutions provided by Holmes included:
- Extended travel distances
- Omission of stair re-entry facilities
- Location of the fire brigade booster
- Omission of sprinklers from cupboards and concealed spaces
- Provision of natural smoke ventilation to the through site link
Throughout this project, Holmes worked closely with the client, architect, services engineers, fire brigade, builder and project certifier to help identify fire safety issues, develop cost effective, practical and aesthetically achievable solutions which ultimately meet the design objectives whilst achieving suitable levels of fire safety for the building’s occupants and fire brigade personnel.