The challenge with an open-plan house or flat is that the occupants may need to escape through a room where a fire has broken out, when they are on an upper storey.
Well-documented studies have investigated the benefits of both sprinklers and automatic detection and alarm to supporti this type of open-plan living.
Urbansplash were supportive of our recommendation to have sprinklers in both the HoUse and Mansion HoUSe properties, appreciating the benefits this brings both to life safety and enabling flexible living. Automatic alarm and detection to all rooms also provides occupants the earliest warning to alert them to the need to escape.
In the Mansion HoUSe flat blocks, the nature of the flats meant that there would not necessarily be entrance halls and similarly, the core arrangement was for a wide and open stair.
The OFR specialist CFD team therefore developed a natural ventilation strategy for the stair, which considered escape tenability over the duration of a fire, and the approach was to maintain a tenable route of escape if occupants not in the flat of fire origin chose to escape. This approach was tested based on a number of fire scenarios and locations to ensure a sufficient level of robustness.
Over the course of the project, we worked closely not only with the client team, but also with the Approving Authorities, agreeing principles and design objectives in advance of reporting and modelling.