We provide fire engineering services to some of the world’s leading architects, developers, engineers and planners, across an enormous diversity of projects. These range from cold room distribution centres for fresh produce to airports and convention centres with large populations. Our work also encompasses numerous government properties, commercial and residential developments, large retail schemes, airports, stations and other transport interchanges.
Scale isn’t always the most challenging; WSP is highly regarded for its specialist technical skills in the delivery of highly sensitive, controlled environments for facilities such as laboratories and warehouses. For examples, The European Spallation Source, a multi-disciplinary research centre based on the world’s most powerful neutron source and one of the largest science and technology infrastructure projects being built today, is a very complex development with offices, conference areas, industrial sections and a long tunnel – all requiring very different fire and risk strategies. In addition, it’s also a nuclear facility. We’ve also carried out smoke and fire modelling, structural analysis and evacuation modelling, integrating many different software.
WSP’s presence and involvement throughout the African continent and our collaboration with African focussed clients has also given us the experience needed to make fire engineered solution work in the African context, to allow them to be robust and economical, while still making sure that life safety is not compromised.
Interaction with Designers and the Planning Authorities
Given that fire engineers are responsible for the fire safety strategy of a project, our work informs the whole design team on fire safety matters. It provides design guidance to architects, advises the building services engineers on what systems are required, such as smoke ventilation, fire dampers, fire detection, smoke alarms, emergency lighting and sprinkler systems, fire wall construction, fire doors, and provides vital information to structural engineers on how long a structure must be protected and how that is achieved.
The fire strategy is also a key document used by authorities to base their decision on for approving the safety aspects of a building. One of the most important aspects of our work is to liaise with building authorities as a scheme develops to discuss fire safety aspects, demonstrate that the strategy is safe in different scenarios and eventually gain approval for a fire-safe building that also meets its aesthetic, functional and commercial objectives.
WSP prides itself in maintaining good relationships with the local authorities, sharing knowledge from our collective experience and working together to deliver projects that are compliant, safe and on time. In this way, we are changing and maintaining the high level of standard and consistency in the fire engineering practice in each local area.