Bursted Wood Primary School Extension - Projects - MLM
Bursted Wood Primary School Extension - Projects - MLM

Bursted Wood Primary School Extension, Bexleyheath, Kent

Project Information
  • Location
  • Bexleyheath
  • Sector
  • Education, Schools
  • Services
  • Buildings, Fire Engineering
  • Architect
  • Ingleton Wood

Construction of a new two storey block in an existing primary school where we were responsible for demonstrating Part B of the Building Regulations was satisfied despite having a non-standard configuration. We used fire engineering techniques to allow the block to have a single stair, when the standard guidance would suggest a minimum of two.

Our approach used the ASET/RSET (Available Safe Egress Time v Required Safe Egress Time) principle to demonstrate that despite not complying with the standard guidance the building is safe. This approach included using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) assessment to provide a 3D model of a fire in the building. This was then compared with the calculated time for all occupants to reach a place of safety to demonstrate that the proposals are safe.

The number of people expected to use the single stair was greatly in excess of the maximum allowable under the standard guidance. We therefore had to develop a solution that allowed an increase in the maximum number of people permissible within the building. This utilised the natural ventilation system in the building to vent heat and smoke in the event of fire. This coupled with comprehensive fire detection was shown to provide an acceptable arrangement.

The rationalisation of the number of stairs provided a cost reduction, however more importantly if the building had two escape stairs it would have made it a very inefficient space. The building will have a single escape stair, when the standard guidance would recommend a minimum of two. Therefore additional measures were provided to ensure adequate standards of life safety will be achieved.

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