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Derren Brown’s Ghost Train Attraction, Thorpe Park

Client: Merlin Operations Attractions / Thorpe Park

contract dates: November 2014 to April 2017

CDC was contracted by Merlin Operations Attractions Limited, Thorpe Park to undertake a detailed fire strategy for a new attraction within their Thorpe Park Resort theme park in Surrey.

CDC was contracted to undertake full Fire Engineering Services from inception to completion and post completion services.

This unique, complex project, designed by Derren Brown, provides a guest experience which includes interactive elements, virtual reality and scenes narrated by actors. The ride take place in a themed London Tube Train and a mock up London Underground Station.

The attraction was located in a purpose built building, replicating a warehouse from the external elevations and a floating train station internally. In addition to the attraction space, the building also incorporated pre show areas, retail space, staff control room, back of house space, maintenance facility and staff areas.

The Clients, both Derren Brown and Merlin, demanded the highest standards for design integration and safety of guests, both able bodied and disabled users.

The fire strategy was required to ensure that all guests and staff were able to enjoy the attraction  while being in a safe and secure environment, without fire safety elements being obviously visual, thus negatively affecting the desired effect of the attraction.

These challenges were successfully overcome with very close coordination with the design team, including   architects, engineers, creative teams and Derren Brown himself.

The fire strategy was focussed on solving the complex scenarios for evacuation during various operational attraction scenarios. A key focus was on successful  implementation of evacuation procedures for disabled users of the ride.

The fire strategy included extended travel distances, smoke extract design, evacuation strategies,   compartmentation, internal room layout advice, fire alarm system design, building separation, fire services access, escape stair numbers, code compliant dimensions and sizes, building fire rating and minimum protection requirements.

Close liaison with Building Control and Fire Services Officers was essential, in order for them to understand the complexity of the building and the proposed fire strategy.

Based upon the complexity of the operational scenarios, fire engineering solutions were required to allow the attraction to operate successfully and to the desired aspirations of both Merin and Derren Brown.

CDC provided full fire engineering design services, CFD modelling, construction phase support and fire risk  assessment services to the project.

Post Construction services were also provided to ensure that the fire strategy was successfully  implemented into the operations of the attraction.

The attraction is successfully and safely operating and is a unique attraction in the World of Theme Parks.

SERVICES covered: planning | design | strategy | commissioning | fire | acoustics

Shrek’s Adventure, County Hall, Lambeth, London

Client: cL Projects / Merlin Developments Ltd.

contract dates: July 2015

Shrek’s Adventure is a Merlin Developments attraction, in partnership with Dreamworks Studios. The attraction will have a Shrek themed story line with show rooms and rides providing an unforgettable experience for all visitors.

The attraction is located within the architecturally prominent, Grade 2 Listed County Hall building located in London, on the banks of the Thames.

Taking over a large area of the building previously used as a museum, the design al-lowed for independent rooms to be built within each space, allowing for the development of Show Rooms.

Working very closely within the multidiscipline design team, which included architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, audio visual consultants, CDM coordinators and Merlin Creative teams, CDC scope of works for this project included complete acoustic design services, construction phase supervision, acoustic testing and fire engineering smoke ex-tract review.

The show rooms for Shrek’s Adventure are directly adjacent to noise sensitive receivers within the building, such as two Hotels, restaurants and other attractions. Therefore, a deep understanding of the existing structures of County Hall, the aspirations of the Client for the attraction and the predicted operational noise levels were key to the development and  implementation of a successful acoustic strategy.

Ensuring that the acoustic design recommendations were aligned with the creative aspirations for each show room were a vital element to the success of the acoustic design.

Noise from construction activities relating to the development was also  given a high priority in this multi tenancy building. Regular monitoring of high noise activities, tool box talks and close coordination with other tenants were considered essential tasks in the delivery of the construction programme.

SERVICES covered: planning | design | strategy | commissioning | fire | acoustics

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – Retained Venues

Client: London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC)

contract dates: October 2014 to October 2015

CDC, supporting Atkins Limited, in the delivery of planning applications and design support for a number of retained venues. This project formed part of the London 2012 legacy commitment for the former 2012 Olympic Park.

The retained venues included the Velodrome and wider Velopark, the Aquatics Centre, the Copper Box, Lea Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit.

CDC assisted LLDC, on behalf of Atkins  Limited, to develop planning reports in order to discharge a number of planning conditions that related to the change of use for each of the  venues.

Detailed analysis of the proposed uses for each of the venues allowed for prediction of noise  impacts to both on Park and off Park venues, including future development sites.

Where the design of the fabric of the building or the proposed operations for the venue were not able to comply with the planning conditions, advice was offered to ensure that the conditions could be discharged.

Where appropriate, noise modelling was undertaken to establish the potential for sound levels to spread within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and beyond.

The planning reports assessed both construction and operational impacts including noise from building services, people movement to and from the venue, transportation relating to events with-in the venues and sound from events hosted within the venues themselves. The reports were used to support discharge of conditions of both planning and licence conditions relating to the various venues.

In order to successfully complete the work, close coordination with several stakeholders was      required, including LLDC, Local Authorities, LLDC planning partners, Atkins, venue operators and licensing authorities.

SERVICES covered: planning | design | strategy | acoustics

Project Thor, Birmingham NEC

Client: Merlin Operations Attractions

contract dates: november 2016 – present

CDC was contracted by Merlin Operations Attractions Limited, to undertake a detailed fire strategy for a new, large scale attraction located within a designated area of Birmingham NEC.

CDC was contracted to undertake full Fire Engineering Services from project inception to completion.

This complex project, unique in the UK, occupies a number of large exhibition halls within the existing  Birmingham NEC building.

The development incorporates a number of individual attractions, each with their own set of specific challenges to the design team. A total of 11 separate attraction elements are proposed for the development, each of which will operate simultaneously.

The fire strategy was required to ensure that all guests and staff were able to enjoy the attraction  while being in a safe and secure environment. Each individual attraction required its own fire safety strategy, which in turn was required to fit into the wider development fire strategy and the site wide NEC fire strategy.

The key to successful implementation of fire strategies for such complex environments is developing a clear understanding of the proposed activities within the building and very close coordination and understanding of other technical disciplines, such as architecture, MEP, structural engineering, audio visual, theming specialists and creative teams.

The fire strategy was focussed on solving the complex scenarios for evacuation during various operational attraction scenarios. In some attraction scenarios, guests may be suspended in mid air, or within an enclosed room when a fire alarm goes off. This requires very specific fire engineering solutions to ensure that a successful strategy is implemented into the operations of the development.

The fire strategy included extended travel distances, smoke extract design, evacuation strategies,   compartmentation, internal room layout advice, fire alarm system design, building separation, fire services access, escape stair numbers, code compliant dimensions and sizes, building fire rating and minimum protection requirements.

Close liaison with Building Control and Fire Services Officers was essential, in order for them to understand the complexity of the building and the proposed fire strategy.

Based upon the complexity of the operational scenarios, fire engineering solutions were required to allow a successful fire strategy to be developed.

CDC are contracted to provide full fire engineering design services, CFD modelling, construction phase support and fire risk assessment services to the project.

SERVICES covered: planning | design | strategy | commissioning | fire | acoustics

Bristol Arena

Client: Atkins Limited

contract dates: march 2015 – present

CDC was commissioned by Atkins Limited to support the acoustic design of the proposed Bristol Arena development, locate within the heart of Bristol.

The proposed project is a major development programme for the City of Bristol and comprises the construction of a 12,500 seater indoor arena bowl and associated spaces. The venue is proposed to host an extensive array of entertainment including rock and pop, theatre, ballet, sporting events, musicals, opera and  other uses.

A large external amenity space has been incorporated into the proposals in addition to upgrades to surrounding infrastructure.

CDC was commissioned to undertake acoustic review services to the project. This included   attending design team meetings, reviewing design submissions and ensuring that the  design is appropriate for the nature of uses.

CDC worked within an extensive technical review team which included architects, building services  engineers, structural engineers, fire engineers, sustainability consultants and BREEAM consultants.

CDC was commissioned to undertake extensive reviews of design proposals for RIBA Stage 2 – 4 and further support through the construction process. This included review of planning submissions, design submissions, digital modelling and site surveys.

The development has received planning permission with construction proposed to begin in 2016.

SERVICES covered: planning | design | acoustics

SW8 Alton Towers, Staffordshire

Client: Merlin Entertainments Ltd, Alton Towers Resort

contract dates: 2016 – 2018

Cahill Design Consultants was contracted by Alton Towers, Staffordshire, to offer acoustic support to their proposed SW8 Roller Coaster, proposed to be located within the Alton Towers Resort.

The proposed roller coaster was a large scale timber coaster with a proposed two barrel rolls, a camel back and the first launch to be constructed on a wooden coaster.

The coaster was proposed to be located centrally within the Alton Towers Resort.

CDC was contracted to ensure that sound impacts from the propose coaster were understood and mitigation incorporated into the design drawings.

A wooden roller coaster has different challenges to a steel coaster in regards to sound, as the sound frequency content is different.

In order to understand the potential impacts, a large amount of research was undertaken including extensive communication with the US based coaster manufacturer.

Extensive sound surveys were undertaken in the vicinity of Alton Towers, in order to understand the existing ambient noise levels around the Resort.

Good levels of communication with the Local Authority were essential in order to establish an appropriate acoustic criteria and input on the survey locations.

Extensive calculations and modelling was undertaken to understand the likely impact of sound from different parts of the coaster track to defined receivers. A number of alterations to the coaster design were proposed in order to minimise the effects of sound. These included a tunnel arrangement on the first drop and barriers strategically located throughout the ride.

SERVICES covered: planning | design | strategy | commissioning | fire | acoustics