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Case Study: Managing Fire Risk in Marylebone

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West End Gate, located on the Edgware Road in Marylebone, London, is a prestigious residential development comprising of eight buildings ranging from eight to 29 storeys. The development boasts modern architecture, efficient transport links, and state-of-the-art facilities.

SOCOTEC Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Assessment have been appointed since 2018 to provide comprehensive fire safety support throughout the construction process. The involvement began in 2018 with the commencement of Phase 1 of the project and continues into Phase 2, which is expected to conclude in 2026. One of the primary objectives was to produce a detailed report outlining the necessary measures to meet life safety requirements and contractual obligations set by the site’s insurer.

To provide fire safety during construction, SOCOTEC relied on two essential guidance documents: HSG168 and the Joint Code of Practice on the Protection from Fire of Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation (JCOP). These documents guided the information provided to the contractors, covering various critical topics, including:

A. Protection of temporary structures: Ensuring the safety of welfare containers and other temporary structures on-site.

B. Means of escape: Establishing safe escape routes from the construction site.

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C. Protection of sleeping occupants: Implementing fire safety measures for occupied areas of the complex after handover.

D. Managing ignition risks: Properly managing activities such as hot works to prevent fire incidents.

E. Preventing fire growth and spread: Effectively managing the storage of combustible and highly flammable materials, temporary compartmentation, and other fire prevention measures.

F. Preventing external fire spread: providing guidance on preventing external fire spread between building on the site and existing buildings outside the site boundary, This include the strategic installation of (temporary) fire stopping and the management of combustible materials.

G. Providing firefighting facilities: Establishing temporary firefighting facilities on-site.

The construction fire safety strategy was regularly checked on-site by qualified and experienced fire risk assessors. These professionals identified deficiencies and potential fire risks, ensuring the information provided in the strategy remained updated and aligned with the current conditions on-site. The collaborative approach between fire safety engineers and the fire risk assessors ensured a comprehensive and effective fire safety management system throughout the construction process.

The West End Gate project presented several challenges that required innovative fire safety solutions. Some of the notable challenges included:

A. Provision of basement storage and basement welfare, including phased handover of the basement: Ensuring safe storage practices in the basement area to mitigate fire risks, including providing smoke clearance systems and ventilated lobby protection to the protected stair cases following handover.

B. Compliance with social distancing restrictions: Adapting welfare areas to adhere to social distancing guidelines while maintaining adequate fire safety measures, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

C. External fire spread between the buildings under construction: Some of the blocks are within close proximity to each other. Static temporary fire stopping was placed, as well as the management of combustible materials employed to prevent any fire spread between the blocks under construction.

The primary aim of the West End Gate project was to meet the expectations of the site’s insurer and the construction company’s requirements for safe management of a large, complex, and high-rise construction site. While prioritising life safety requirements, many of the fire safety recommendations also contributed to property protection, reducing the potential for property damage in case of fire incidents.

By incorporating guidance documents, conducting regular site checks, and addressing project-specific challenges, SOCOTEC played a vital role in creating a safe environment during the construction process.

The SOCOTEC Group

The SOCOTEC Group is a leading player in testing, inspection and certification (TIC). We ensure the integrity and performance of assets and people’s safety, helping clients around the world manage risk and improve performance throughout their projects’ lifecycles. The SOCOTEC Group operates in 25 countries on five continents. We provide our services to the same high standards wherever we work, adapting them to match the specific conditions of local markets. Learn more at www.socotec.com

Author

  • The SOCOTEC Group

    The SOCOTEC Group is a leading player in testing, inspection and certification (TIC). We ensure the integrity and performance of assets and people’s safety, helping clients around the world manage risk and improve performance throughout their projects’ lifecycles. The SOCOTEC Group operates in 25 countries on five continents. We provide our services to the same high standards wherever we work, adapting them to match the specific conditions of local markets. Learn more at www.socotec.com

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