The Birch Building 35 and lecture theatre at the Australian National University (ANU) were constructed in the 1960s. The building contains three levels above ground and one level below ground containing plant and service areas.
Building 35 also contains the Facilities and Services (F&S) workshop and offices. The objective was to upgrade the existing laboratory, workshop, office and teaching building and use fire safety engineering to comply with the current building code.
The project was staged – with the refurbished basement and level one teaching building being occupied by ANU while the construction to upper levels was completed. This presented unique fire safety hazards and challenges through the construction process which required extensive stakeholder consultation.
Our team of fire safety engineers in Canberra developed performance solutions that allowed the existing structure to be retained, without demolition of the heritage listed external façade.
Our performance solutions permitted reduction of fire rating of existing structure, permitting existing openings exposed to adjacent fire compartments not requiring protection, permitting fume cupboard risers to interconnect storeys, extended travel distances to exits, extended fire hydrant coverage and proposed sidewall sprinklers to provide protection to central stair.
We also developed an interim fire safety strategy for building 35F for ANU to occupy while the Birch Building refurbishment was taking place. This included extensive stakeholder consultation, fire hazard assessment and fire safety strategy that were reviewed and updated during construction.
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