ASB North Wharf

ASB North Wharf, headquarters of ASB bank and the anchor project in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, was a first-rate example of flexible working spaces and sustainable design when it was completed in 2013. The building spans two sites, with a multi-level glazed walkway over a central public lane that provides access through to the adjacent Waterfront Theatre site. 

The ‘Activity Based Working’ design presented a number of challenges that required performance based solutions. 15 individually themed, open areas were designed for flexible working also required a flexible evacuation design flexible to allow for the building’s occupants to move between floors. By utilising a performance based approachHolmes Fire reduced the number of stairs required by a prescriptive solution, supporting the project’s objective to create an open and flexible layout. The evacuation plan also was designed to be flexible and utilise the open interconnecting stairs for egress in some fire scenarios.  

Sustainability was also a significant factor that influenced the design and use of the building. The addition of a ventilating funnel and controlled internal shading have assisted in the reduction of the building’s energy use by 50% and resulted in the completed building achieving NZGBC 5 Star Green Star Rating for Office Design. While the ventilation funnel provided beneficial natural lighting throughout the building, Holmes Fire designed a smoke management system that not only aligned with the ventilation system but also avoided the need for a dedicated smoke control plant. A ‘hot smoke test’ was conducted by Holmes Fire following the completion of the project demonstrating the strategy for smoke movement in action. 

Flick through all 7 storeys and explore ASB North Wharf from the comfort of your own home.

Flinders Centre

Flinders Centre is a high-rise A-grade commercial tower extension to the existing Bankstown Sports Club. The tower was officially completed at the end of 2018, following a 3.5 year involvement by Holmes Fire from the early concept design, through design development and construction till occupation.

Flinders Centre is eleven storeys, containing a gym, childcare, and commercial spaces. A future rooftop bar was also considered in the design, expected to be pursued in the near future. The tower is served by four high speed lifts contained in a feature glass shaft enclosure on the eastern side of the building, complementing the floor to ceiling glass walls on all sides of the building. The glass lift shaft was demonstrated as providing an equivalent level of protection as a conventional lift shaft to evacuating occupant and fire fighters, through a performance based fire engineering solution prepared by Holmes Fire, by providing a suite of subtle fire safety features.

Holmes Fire also took into account existing fire engineering solutions to the remainder of the development, including complex interactions between the existing and new building parts, to allow the building to function as one whilst maximising the safety of occupants during evacuation.  The fire engineered solutions provided by Holmes Fire included:

  • Rationalisations to the stair pressurisation system
  • Extended travel distances
  • Fire stair discharge
  • Omission of smoke exhaust from the office tower
  • Sliding doors used for egress purposes
  • Provision of a combustible roof pergola
  • Rationalised protection of supply air control equipment

Throughout this project, Holmes Fire worked closely with the client, architect, services engineers, fire brigade, Council, BCA consultant, and the builder to develop cost effective, practical and aesthetically achievable solutions which ultimately meet the design objectives whilst achieving suitable levels of fire safety for the building’s occupants and fire brigade personnel.

Holmes Fire has been involved with numerous other extensions and fitouts of other parts of Bankstown Sports Club, including the construction of the Travelodge Hotel, restaurant fitouts, feature light installations, carpark modifications, café remodelling, plant room modifications, and ad hoc advice.

Grosvenor Place

The iconic Grosvenor Place complex is in Sydney’s CBD, bounded by George, Grosvenor, Harrington and Essex Streets. It features a two-storey ground floor entrance lobby and 44 levels of office accommodation providing 80,000 m2  of leasable floor area. The project involved a two stage refurbishment, including remodelling the existing food court and enclosing the lobby.

Holmes Fire was engaged to provide fire engineered solutions where the building was unable to comply with the BCA Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions. These non- compliances were due to the constraints of the existing building, that in some cases were not identified until site works began.

The building design incorporated multiple extended travel distances, often through the high space lobby. Alternative Solutions were developed to demonstrate that the large smoke reservoirs provided a greater level of safety for egressing occupants than in a Deemed-to-Satisfy compliant building, despite the extended travel distances. As such, Holmes Fire was able to use the existing attributes of the building without requiring additional fire safety measures.

Reduced dimensions within the paths of travel from back of house and maintenance areas were justified by the use of signage and the implementation of management procedures that incorporated requirements for confined space access. Solutions were also provided for the non-compliant location of fire hose reels and the deletion of sprinklers from beneath external awnings and areas where it was impractical to provide coverage due to the proposed design and use.

A central, architectural element of the building is the circular stairway connecting the lower and upper lobby areas. Our design justified non-compliance with this stairway, allowing the client to maintain the architectural detail of this feature.

Throughout the project Holmes Fire worked closely with Grosvenor Place management to provide solutions that would be conducive to the day-to-day functionality of the building. The resulting assessment presented acceptable solutions for all stakeholders, reducing construction costs and time for the builder, maintaining original architectural features and providing practical and manageable solutions for the end user.

Canterbury Leagues Club

The Canterbury Leagues Club in Belmore has long been one of Sydney’s premier hospitality destinations. Holmes Fire has been involved in many of the upgrades and extensions to the building that have occurred over the years as the club expanded in size and patronage. The Club incorporates bars, entertainment lounges, restaurants, gaming, health club, function spaces and carparking.

Since the building has been constructed in a piecemeal manner, with many extensions at different times, Holmes Fire provided a holistic fire engineering assessment of the building in 2010 to check that the design and operation of the building as a whole would be adequate in the event of a fire. This involved fire and smoke modelling to assess the impacts of potential fires and computer modelling of a complete building evacuation to determine the egress characteristics of the building.

Canterbury Leagues Club recently underwent a master plan redevelopment to add a five-storey basement carpark, café and gaming areas. Holmes Fire provided Fire Engineering services as part of a large consultant team to develop a practical fire safety design that integrates with the existing fire safety design and enables a number of cost savings through the application of Alternative Solutions.

Key benefits of Holmes Fire’s involvement are the provision of an Alternative Solution to permit the architectural glass lift and water feature to connect all levels of the five-storey basement and permit the fire-isolated stairway to discharge into the lift lobby. These aspects of the design enabled the architect and client to achieve the desired aesthetic in the area that would form the primary entry point for patrons.

As the Club was to remain operational during construction works, Holmes Fire provided an Interim Fire Safety Strategy to justify temporary fire safety non-compliances such as blocking of egress routes and reduced exit widths. Through the application of management procedures that Holmes Fire developed, the construction was able to proceed uninterrupted, whilst still affording a suitable level of fire safety for occupants within the operations areas of the building.

Australis Nathan Building

These historic buildings, built in 1903 and 1904 were originally warehouse and storefronts for importers and merchants, fast forward over 110 years and these have been transformed to bring these heritage buildings back to life. Australis House and the Nathan Building was an ambitious refurbishment combining the two buildings to function as a single structure and repurposed them to include high end retail, hospitality and office spaces. These buildings had strong character with a combination of cast iron columns, heavy timber columns and beams, timber floors with herringbone bracing and impressive brickwork.  

Our brief on this project was to avoid providing ceilings beneath these floors and encasing these columns in order to celebrate these features. Our performance-based design solution involved a combination of sprinkler installation, assessment of inherent timber strength and application of clear intumescent coatings to achieve sufficient fire separations within the building and achieve Building Code compliance.

B:Hive Smales Farm

B:Hive is taking commercial space to a new level offering shared office space that is fresh, vibrant and architecturally impressive! This new build construction has seven levels in total. One basement level (below ground) for car parking, one on-grade ground floor level which provides hospitality tenancy spaces, meeting room and breakout spaces, entry foyer and reception for the offices above. Above this are four levels of serviced office space leased on highly flexible short term and long term basis. The top-most level is dedicated for plant and building services.  

The 11,000 square metre building incorporates a diverse mix of office uses, with a mix of dedicated and shared spaces. It has the ability to house businesses from 10 to 310 employees per floor: from small startups to established corporates. 

Two features key to the design flexibility and interactive working environment are the open atrium and stair interconnecting all office levels and the ability for tenants to use flexi-space with up to 50% more occupants than a standard office building design. Using a novel smoke control strategy developed collaboratively with the day-to-day ventilation design, Holmes Fire justified a fire safety solution which avoided the need for fire curtains or smoke separations around the atrium.

Pier B Extension, Auckland International Airport

Auckland Airport has a number of expansion phases planned and underway on its International Terminal. The expansion of Pier B added two new gates (17 & 18), increasing the number of international aircraft using the airport. The 190-metre extension enables Pier B with the flexibility to accommodate a total of four A380 or eight smaller A320 aircraft at any time. In addition, the Pier B bus lounge was expanded from two boarding gates to four, to allow greater ability to board flights using aircraft located away from the terminal.

The project challenge for Holmes Fire was the delivery of the construction phase in five stages, whilst maintaining the continuous operation of the airport for commuters and staff alike. Construction involved temporarily relocating the principal three main egress stairs for Pier B and then reinstating these into the permanent design. All of this needed to be undertaken without adding significant cost through temporary works.

Working with interim strategies is a frequent request of our clients, where we need to strategise closely with our project stakeholders, ensuring smooth transition of construction through to operation whilst meeting adequate safety requirements through the entire process. In doing this we take to time to understand the constraints and provide options to ensure the most workable solutions are adopted.

Using performance-based design solutions for the project provided a more efficient egress design including reduced construction costs for the client where we enabled the elimination of stairs that were part of previous fire strategies.

Feature New Zealand landscape artwork and sculpture is also incorporated to the design, welcoming guests to this area of the international terminal which has also been fitted out with a new retail store and food and beverage outlet. Feature ceilings provided challenges to our fire protection design to ensure that sprinklers were installed to operate effectively, and without compromising the aesthetics.

Eastlakes Live by Crown

Developed in collaboration with award-winning architects, fjmt, Eastlakes Live has been inspired by native Australian plants and golden hues of nature. The Eastlakes shopping centre redevelopment aims to provide a revitalised destination that is integrated with modern apartment living, linking to the adjacent Eastlakes reserve.

The project has been split into two sites and stages, one on either side of Evans Avenue. The north site (being built first) is a single storey shopping mall, upon which there will be three blocks of residential units on the Podium landscaped space. The south site, currently at concept/early development will be a larger two-three storey shopping centre designed with an X formation. The ground floor will feature an extensive shopping complex, creating a unique shopping experience for not only the residents but also opening the development to the community at large. On top of the shopping centre, a large landscaped podium will house four feature residential tower blocks. The architectural form of these building will be impressive with the largest residential tower in an arc formation.

Based on the preliminary architectural drawings, Holmes Fire was able to identify areas where the design either required or could be enhanced by Alternative Solutions including solutions to permit reduced fire ratings.

The retail areas in the southern site require a smoke exhaust system, however rather than taking the broad approach specified in the building code, we have undertaken Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling of the retail malls to predict the movement of smoke from a number of hypothetical fires. This enables a more efficiently designed smoke exhaust system, and additionally will intend for the smoke zones to be larger than those permitted in the building code. Holmes Fire in addition to the retail space are adding significant value and design flexibility to the project by assessing the holistic risk of the residential portions of the building based on its use and specific design intent.

Assessing a project and how the design can be advanced using performance-based design is what our team strives to develop, resulting in a design solution that is advantageous to all stakeholders involved, with advanced safety for the end users as the ultimate focus.

 

Coral Casino

The Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club is a designated historic landmark set atop Butterfly Beach and known as a playground for Hollywood stars. The building is a two-story, wood-framed structure with a lighthouse tower and it was originally designed by architect Gardner A. Dailey in 1937. Known as the “Gem of the Pacific”, its style is grounded in crisp minimal detailing and sweeping horizontal lines, much like a luxury steamliner.

Holmes Fire developed alternative methods utilizing performance-based strategies to achieve adequate fire protection to structural steel installed within the historic mural covered walls, where space and preservation constraints prevented conventional fire protection methods from being utilized. Holmes Fire also developed alternative methods to protect boundary wall openings without the need for drencher protection, saving the client construction costs.

Holmes Structures’ historic preservation utilized the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The facility was required to remain operational during the design process, allowing the Holmes Structures team only key investigations of the existing buildings. Holmes Structures was flexible throughout the design and construction phases, adapting to preserve and salvage existing structural framing and finishes in collaboration with the architectural team in a fluid process.

The Battery

The project involved the renovation of a historic unreinforced masonry warehouse into a social club to be known as ‘The Battery’, providing dining, hotel rooms, meeting spaces, and event spaces to its club members. The life safety design and performance based fire engineering provided by Holmes Fire allowed for the dramatic design to provide life safety through alternatives shown to be equivalent or better than code requirements while taking into account the building’s sensitive historic fabric.

A new fourth floor penthouse created an event space. Alternative Solutions were developed for the internal grand stair, to allow its non-fire rated glass enclosure. An assessment confirmed that the existing exposed wood floor system would achieve adequate fire-resistance to support new enclosed exit stairs, without added fire protection. Other alternative solutions were developed to address external boundary wall openings, fire safety provisions for rooftop assembly use space and occupant evacuation from the building. Holmes Fire’s involvement was key to achieving the architectural and functionality objectives of this project.

Aurora Centre (56 The Terrace)

This existing 20 level building constructed in 1968 was gutted back to its concrete structure and redeveloped along with the construction of a new seismically isolated 9 level building next door. The end result was over 25,000 m² (270,000 sqft) of commercial office, retail and carparking.

As the office levels, 22,000 m² (240,000 sqft) on levels 1-19 were occupied by a single Government tenant there was a need to incorporate a new internal circulation stairs that linked levels 3-18. The stairs were able to be open across a total of 11 of those levels without the use of mechanical smoke control systems.

The constraints for the existing structure meant a focus of the fire engineering design was to be able to utilise the existing stairs that did not comply in geometry to current Code. Holmes Fire had previously carried out a fully filmed and documented egress study for the building (as part of an employee’s PhD study) which was able to be used to understand how the occupants (over 2000 of them) used the existing stairs under evacuation conditions. This deep knowledge of the building was crucial in developing a solution that satisfied building officials and the Government tenant.

The age of the building meant that at the outset the building sat outside the new-Code standard and on that basis the redevelopment was able to deliver a modern and new-Code-compliant building with substantial fire safety upgrades. Which is a significant and effectively ‘new’ for the building owner.

40 King Street

40 King Street is an existing 100-year old eight storey office building in central Sydney. Due to a proposed major refurbishment, the building had to comply with the requirements of the current Building Code of Australia. The existing concrete slabs within the building could not comply with the current concrete code requirements due to insufficient concrete cover to the reinforcing bars. To upgrade the existing slabs to comply with the current code requirements would involve the addition of passive fire protection to the slab soffit; this would not only have been costly but time consuming and would damage the existing heritage fabric of the building.

Holmes Fire carried out advanced analyses to determine the inherent fire resistance of the existing slab. The analysis demonstrated that the existing slab had enough inherent fire resistance to withstand a realistic fully developed fire, thereby negating the requirement to apply additional passive fire protection or to thicken the slab to meet the prescriptive requirements of the Code and Standards. This provided significant cost savings to the project and minimised disruption to the fabric of the existing building.

Dropbox

Dropbox recently expanded its headquarters to occupy and remodel two office buildings into a stimulating workspace in San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood. This move combined all San Francisco employees (roughly 1,500 people) under one roof, and the interior remodel resulted in a network of collaborative workspaces with personality and playful aesthetics. For example, the library has an airy cultured look inspired by Italian opera houses for studious escape. Alternatively, the “Deep Focus” room channels concentration through clean curvilinear forms and meditative glowing chambers.

Holmes Fire addressed the large occupant load in the dining and training areas that did not have a sufficient number of exits in the original design. By devising an alternate exiting strategy and collaborating with the SF Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) and Fire Department (SFFD), these areas were able to maintain their intended use without any major disruptive construction.

Autodesk, Pier 9

Autodesk, a leading provider of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software across industries, sought to convert part of an existing shed on Pier 9 into the Autodesk Creative Workshop and Machine Shop. The multifunctional space includes state-of-the-art 3D printing machines; a metal, wood, and CNC (Computer Numerical Control) shop; a robotics laboratory and office spaces.

Holmes Fire worked with the Port Fire Marshal to meet the design goals of Autodesk as well as fire and life safety requirements. Glass rolling doors were a primary architectural feature of the space. A fire separation was required to meet prescriptive code. The addition of a fire door was a large project cost. Holmes Fire provided an alternative solution that allowed the proposed unrated glass rolling doors to remain, without any additional fire-rated doors. The alternative solution involved upgraded suppression and detection incorporated into the design at a minimal cost to the project. An estimate of the cost savings reached half a million dollars.

Holmes Structures added a mezzanine level to the original shed building to create more usable square footage for offices. Other areas of this long space utilize the double height ceilings while exposing the original shed structure. The design elegantly integrates the new structure with the old structure, visually weaving new steel with old. This design required close collaboration to ensure the seamless integration.

In response to Autodesk’s creative nature, the space included special features such as a free-swinging 1200 lb steel conference table suspended from the ceiling. Careful calculations of the loading by the swing, potential occupants and motions were considered in the ceiling beam’s design.

Justice and Emergency Services Precinct

As the first ‘anchor project’ delivered in the rebuild of the Christchurch CBD after the February 2011 earthquake, the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct will always be remembered as a project of national significance. The forward thinking design pulled together previously disparate groups into a single precinct to improve future delivery of Police, Courts, Corrections, Fire and Emergency, Civil Defence, St Johns Ambulance and other critical community and post-disaster services.

Holmes Fire carried out not only the general fire engineering services for the team but also advanced structural fire analyses for the project, specifically the Justice Building. The fire engineering team who delivered the project remained together for the entire 5 year design and construction period. This continuity of service typifies Holmes Fire’s approach to major projects and allowed the Client (Ministry of Justice) to achieve a fantastic result with continuity of the design and consultancy team.

From a structural perspective, the building has stringent requirements of structural robustness for seismic and fire resistance, due to the Emergency Operations Centre located in the Emergency Services Building – this is the centre for emergency response and coordination in the event of a natural disaster. Design of an Emergency Communications Centre (effectively a nationwide 111/000/911 call centre) was also required to have continuous occupation and operation in the event of a fire within any other part of the building.

A series of advanced analyses using non-linear finite element analysis were carried out by Holmes Fire to test the robustness and stability of the structure in fire conditions. The analysis consisted of 3D modelling of the structural frame under exposure of a realistic fire, looking at its effect on each structural component. Unique and specialist 3D modelling inputs allowed the structural design to be safely optimised, whilst avoiding over-design. The resulting analysis demonstrated that the concrete filled steel hollow section columns and the secondary steel beams did not require additional passive fire protection. This provided significant cost savings for the project through the reduction of passive fire protection to the beams and columns.

This structure needed to not only resist fire but also be immediately operational post-emergency events. As a specialist design and project for Holmes Fire, the technical detail of its fire safety of its smoke control system throughout the 5 level atrium, through to its specialist structural fire analysis is an exemplary example of how consultancy can be co-ordinated and managed to offer the most advanced fire safety response to serve advanced function in not only its building design but its users.

Commercial Bay

The Commercial Bay project involves the major redevelopment of the entire city block in the Auckland CBD. The project involves the construction of a 33 storey steel framed building on top of a retail podium and over two underground rail tunnels. The structural system of the tower consists of a diagrid structure, featuring composite concrete filled hollow section steel tube columns and braces and long span beams.

Holmes Fire was engaged to provide specialist structural fire engineering services to rationalise the passive fire protection requirements of the entire tower. Advanced finite element modelling was undertaken to analyse the response of the whole floor and megaframe in fire. The analysis demonstrated the robustness of the whole structural frame in resisting a full burnout fire. The resulting analysis showed the composite columns and secondary beams did not require passive protection and a reduced FRL could be applied for the primary beams. The analysis was peer reviewed by Professor Jose Torero who is a renowned international expert in structural fire engineering.

This resulted in major savings on site with regard to project timeframes, labour and material costs, and the improved aesthetic and air quality within the space. The costs savings in fire proofing alone was estimated to be approximately $4M.

This project is still under construction