The relatively small site of the Pound Road development necessitated the design incorporate progressive and pragmatic thinking for the project to be financially viable. The building has an effective height exceeding 25 m, comprises 10 residential storeys with a three storey basement carpark. Each storey contains eight, modest sized apartments.
As the available floor area for the building core was so limited, Holmes Fire embarked on a bold design approach to justify the provision of a single fire-isolated stair, where the building code would have required two exits for this high-rise building. In an effort to provide a practical fire safety design, Holmes Fire also proposed to omit the stair pressurisation system required by the prescriptive provisions.
The Alternative Solution focussed on the reliability of stair pressurisation systems and demonstrated that there was a reasonable risk that smoke could spread into a fire-isolated stair in a Deemed-to-Satisfy compliant building, thereby compromising the exit. The design implemented by Holmes Fire instead adopted a passive fire and smoke protection solution, with three lines of defence, including fire rated smoke lobbies to surround the entry to the stair. With the help of some subtle design by the architect, the smoke lobbies were able to be seamlessly incorporated without significantly impacting the aesthetics of the building. Through implementing a robust design process, including extensive consultation with Fire & Rescue NSW, Holmes Fire was able to justify the building design with a single, non-pressurised stair, secure significant value engineering and implement a practical fire safety solution.
Holmes Fire also provided an Alternative Solution to justify the omission of WIP phones from the building on the basis that occupants, untrained in the use of these phones, would be unlikely to use them. Whilst this may not represent a significant cost saving, the ability to omit these unsightly red phones drastically improves the interior ambiance of the residential corridors.
Other Alternative Solution on the project related to:
- Openings within 3 m of allotment boundaries – avoiding the requirements for drencher protection to fixed closed windows
- Extended travel distances to the single fire-isolated stair – enabling the layout of the floors to be optimised.
- Reduced width of an external path of travel – permitting the egress path cross over a right of way
- Non-provision of stair re-entry facilities – thereby maximising the security provisions of the building
- Location of the Fire hydrant booster – enabling it to be located within 10 m of an electrical substation
- Omission of the fire hydrant ring main – maximising the efficiency of the hydraulic design
- Location of the sprinkler alarm valves – permitting them to be located in the fire pump room
- Location of the fire control centre – enabling it to be located at a different level to the street