The iconic Sydney Town Hall is a heritage listed 1860’s High Victorian style building, containing three halls, being the Vestibule, the Main Hall and the Lower Town Hall, in addition to administration areas, including the Mayor’s office. The halls are used for events staged by the City of Sydney Council and are also hired out for special functions and festival events.
Holmes Fire lead a design team including architects, heritage consultants, the NSW Fire Brigades, fire service contractors and The City of Sydney, to formulate a Fire Safety Upgrade Strategy that would achieve the fire safety objectives without altering or destroying the building’s unique heritage fabric and artefacts. Throughout the project, Holmes Fire’s role enabled the client to significantly improve the level of fire and life safety and property protection for the refurbished heritage building. Due to the existing and heritage fabric of the structure, full compliance with the Building Code of Australia was not technically achievable in many instances, however the upgrade solutions were developed to meet mutually agreed acceptance criteria, which gave consideration to the Performance Requirements of the Building Code of Australia. The upgrade strategy also allowed the continued partial occupation of the building throughout the process and construction works.
Holmes Fire’s experienced engineers developed performance-based solutions to address:
- Extended travel distances;
- Egress for large number of occupants from the three halls;
- Rationalisation an alternative means of fire separation;
- Smoke modelling to develop a building specific smoke exhaust design;
- Non-compliant fire hydrant and fire hose reel provisions;
- Bespoke sprinkler design to achieve a solution that was sympathetic to the heritage aesthetics of the building;
- Strategies to separate portions of the building for the facilitation of special events and festivals while preserving the function of the building smoke exhaust and egress provisions; and
- Passive and active fire separations between the adjoining Town Hall House building, to preserve full occupant access between buildings while streamlining the overall building evacuation process.