Project Description

Albury Regional Art Gallery

The project

Northern Lights Architectural Emporium

Location: Liverpool

Sector: Arts and Culture

Client: Baltic Creative

Period: June 2016-January 2017

The brief

The project by Baltic Creative was the conversion of a 45,000 sq.ft warehouse in the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool. The building, which used to belong to a brewery, was transformed into an artist-led venue, with studios, galleries and performance spaces.

Olsson Fire & Risk were appointed to support the refurbishment project to help the team maintain flexibility in the use of the space, maximise the lettable floor area and develop a fire strategy that would allow different occupants to have both private and secure spaces, without compromising the escape strategy.

Due to the building being on the site boundary on three sides, none of which have public access, the means of escape for all occupants were to one side of the building only, something which needed to be addressed in terms of means of escape.

As different occupants would be sub-letting space, the importance of developing a fire strategy that did not place onerous restrictions on how the studios are used was pertinent. However, part of our appointment was to describe how the fire safety management and evacuation planning would work and advise on how this may manifest itself in practice.

The solution

The building was divided into a number of different uses and tenancies, each separated by full-height construction. The construction of these sub-dividing walls meant that achieving fire separation between the different uses was fairly straightforward. The primary benefit of this to the evacuation strategy was that, as the final exit routes were all on one side of the building, it allowed occupants to move out of the compartment of fire origin and navigate to an exit in a place of relative safety.

The strategy also incorporated items such as escaping from a mezzanine level via an open stair, and guidance on how the fire safety management for the building could be developed in order that all tenants and sub-tenants are aware of their responsibilities.

Once the design team had discussed the fire strategy approach, a site visit was arranged with the Building Control Officer to walk through the site describing the approach. This enabled us to discuss any queries at an early stage and led to a smooth and open approvals process.