• Capabilities: Strategic Environmental Consulting
  • Sectors: Government & Municipalities

Ensuring fire safety at Solihull ExtraCare Retirement Village

United Kingdom, West Midlands - Solihull Retirement Village is a new state-of-the-art development providing homes and a host of vibrant facilities for the over 55s. Due to open in 2021, it is being designed to ensure residents can stay active and take part in the community right on their doorstep, with resident wellbeing at the top of the agenda. With safety paramount, our Fire Safety Engineering and Risk Management team are completing pre-occupancy Fire Risk Assessments with the ExtraCare Charitable Trust (www.extracare.org.uk), who are in partnership with Solihull Council and Homes England to bring forward the project.

260

safe and secure homes

Exceeds

regulatory standards
Solihull ExtraCare Retirement Village

Solihull Village will have 260 homes, with 104 for outright sale, 104 for shared ownership and 52 for rent from the local council. It will have 170 car parking spaces. All homes are designed to be fully accessible for people with reduced mobility, including wheelchair users.

Our Fire Safety Engineering and Risk Management team have provided independent fire safety consultancy advice for the project throughout all stages of the RIBA Plan of Work. Our expert Fire Risk Assessors also undertook continual Fire Safety Audits during the construction phase and are now ensuring that suitable fire safety documentation is available for handover.

ExtraCare – a registered charity - is investing heavily in the safety and wellbeing of its residents. Fire safety enhancements and ensuring that building materials do not compromise fire safety is of paramount importance. As a result, the apartments at Solihull Village are being built to the highest fire safety standards, which go above and beyond current statutory and regulatory requirements, thereby ensuring security and peace of mind for residents.

Guaranteeing peace of mind for residents

The following fire safety enhancements are not exhaustive. However, these serve to illustrate that, with the independent fire safety assurance and support from the Fire Safety team at team at Arcadis, combined with the drive and efforts made by ExtraCare, its partners and architects, residents can feel safe and secure in their new homes.


  • The whole building will be provided with a fire detection and alarm system that will comply with the highest regulatory standards.
  • A residential life safety sprinkler system designed, installed and maintained to regulatory standards will be provided throughout the building, including the under-croft car park.
  • The fire detection and sprinkler systems have been certified at every stage of design, installation and commission to ensure that technical specifications are applied in a seamless manner.
  • The kitchens in ExtraCare apartments are modern and include carefully chosen, high-quality electrical units with low susceptibility to electrical faults.
  • The width of and distance to fire escape and evacuation routes have all been designed to ensure an adequate means of escape.
  • Fire door ratings in strategic locations exceed regulatory limits.
  • A major area of focus has been how susceptible the external walling system is to the spread of fire. In advance of a New Building Safety Regulatory Regime, the choice of construction materials was guided by an enhanced layer of scrutiny.
  • As guidance is continually evolving, it has been imperative to ensure that construction materials will be robust enough to comply with retrospective requirements and regulations to avoid potential future remediations. As such, the proposed external façade comprises a brick slip cladding system, which is in compliance with the materials of limited combustibility classification.
  • Current building regulations require that the spread of flames over or within an external wall should be controlled to avoid creating a route for the more rapid spread of fire that bypasses compartment floors or walls. This is seen as a crucial consideration in the design of the external wall and is of fundamental importance where a ‘stay put’ policy is in place. Hence using carefully selected vertical and horizontal cavity barrier products to sub-divide and compartmentalize concealed cavities means that the rapid spread of fire from one home to another can be prevented.
  • During the specification and receipt of any new construction materials, a Declaration of Performance will be verified, ensuring it has been tested and approved in line with the Construction Products Regulation.
  • For additional safety and security, apartments are protected by a number of features, including the Village’s closed-circuit security cameras, and an emergency call system connecting residents to staff 24-hours a day in the case of an emergency.
  • Evidence has been submitted at each RIBA stage to the approving authorities and building control body, ensuring a process of quality control is engrained throughout.
  • Arcadis Fire Risk Assessors have undertaken continual Fire Safety Audits during the construction phase and have undertaken a Pre-Occupancy Fire Risk Assessment.
  • Arcadis Fire engineers developed a bespoke Materials Assessment Report during the concept stage to ensure that the material fire classifications were in line with ever evolving Fire Safety legislation.
Solihull ExtraCare Retirement Village



Outcomes

260

safe and secure homes

Exceeds

regulatory standards

Questions about this project

Kevin O'Neill

Senior Fire Safety Engineer Ask me a question

Ian Harries

Fire Risk Management Lead 07712 854756 Ask me a question
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