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.