LX Engineering Solutions (LXES) has completed installation of critical building systems at 41-49 Conduit Street, a six-floor mixed-use development on the site of two former 1960s office blocks.
The new 42,894.5 sq. ft. scheme combines basement, ground and first floor retail premises with high-specification office facilities on the building's upper levels.
Developed by McLaren Construction Group subsidiary, Terrace Hill, it is being targeted towards a "Very Good" BREEAM certification and features a screened roof plant enclosure and green roof.
The development's environmental credentials are enhanced further by the installation of a combined power and heat generating plant which relies on a single fuel source to meet all of the building's electricity and heating needs.
Green-cell combined heat and power (CHP) technologies eliminate any requirement for separate boilers to provide heating and hot water, and thereby reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. They are used extensively in “Plus Energy” buildings to harness thermal energy which is used to drive turbines that generate electricity for storage in fuel cell banks or feeding into local power grids.
Alternative Engineered Fire Solution
The building's fire prevention system and escape routes presented significant technical and engineering challenges for the LXES team.
Volume 2 of the Building Regulations Fire Safety Regulations usually requires building owners to provide an alternative escape staircase if the maximum travelling distance to an existing stairwell exceeds 18 metres. In practice, this limits the applicability of single-staircase solutions to the smallest two- or three-storey premises.
"We realised at a very early stage that the development was going to require a single-stair engineered fire solution”, explains Russel Hughes, the Project Manager at LXES responsible for 49-41 Conduit Street. “The building's footprint was so small no other option could possibly have worked”.
Fortunately, the Fire Safety Regulations include allowances for alternative fire safety provisioning in situations where single-stair solutions are the only answer. Developers of such buildings are required to adopt enhanced safety measures to safeguard building occupants and fire officers attending the scene of a fire.
The additional measures taken to protect fire control systems and escape routes within the Conduit Street development included installations of low-flow stored pressure sprinklers which generate a water mist spray to avoid excessive flooding, and smoke control systems designed to facilitate the switching of lifts into evacuation mode when fire breaks out.
Hughes believes these solutions represented the perfect combination of “best-of-breed” fire safety engineering and modern technology. “We were able to overcome the planning restrictions and deliver a fire safety solution for the 21st Century”, he says!