Fire safety engineering experts at Exova Warringtonfire have been awarded for their work on Whitechapel Station as part of the landmark Crossrail project in London.

The Fire Excellence Awards 2011 for best fire safety engineering project went to the Exova Warringtonfire team for their outstanding work on the groundbreaking project.

Submissions were judged 'for creative and well researched alternatives to code compliant designs which provide at least the same level of fire safety.'

They also had to provide evidence of how the engineer applied practical fire engineering principles, and of the benefits achieved by the fire safety engineering approach to the design and use of the building.

The Crossrail Whitechapel Station project - due for completion in 2018 - consists of extensively redesigning the station to integrate the new Crossrail platforms within the existing station served by the London Underground (LU) and Overground networks.

Fire engineers at Exova Warringtonfire were part of the project team, led by Hyder Consulting and also including BDP Architects, which decided on a revised design at the early stages, with a new ticket hall and concourse being provided directly over the existing London Overground platforms. Fire safety was a fundamental issue, as existing surface platforms would become underground platforms.

Exova Warringtonfire experts worked with the design team to provide ventilation routes around the perimeter of the concourse, which provided smoke ventilation to the platforms below. A detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of smoke flow was carried out for the new design, which considered several fire scenarios varying in size and location. The analysis demonstrated that the design achieved a high standard of smoke ventilation, permitting the new, alternative design to proceed.

Another essential aspect of the design was the provision for escape routes from the new and existing platforms. With six platforms and passenger flow data for morning and evening, as well as fires within different parts of the station to consider, a total of 16 evacuation scenarios were analysed.

All aspects of the design were agreed in collaboration with all stakeholders, which included Crossrail Ltd, London Underground, London Overground and the London Fire Brigade.

Jon Pagan, General Manager Europe for Exova Warringtonfire's Fire Engineering division, said: "This was a great team effort and demonstrates our capability of developing innovative, cost-effective solutions for high level fire safety engineering challenges. We would also like to thank the rest of the project team, especially Crossrail, Hyder and BDP, for their support throughout."

The work carried out by Exova Warringtonfire on the project allowed the implementation of a significant redesign within extremely short timescales, resulting in a station design that was operationally improved.

Exova Warringtonfire also had another project within the shortlist of three for the award. That was for the work undertaken at Southmead Hospital, where extensive fire engineering analysis and support helped the team achieve an impressive, high quality design that would not have otherwise been possible.


Posted: 15.34pm, 26.05.11