Tally Ho Complex, Finchley, North London

On this fascinating and complex project I was the fire consultant engaged by the Building Control Department of the London Borough of Barnet (a major London Local Authority). It was my job to check the fire safety strategy, design, construction and commissioning of this £50m multi-use complex. The complex incorporates a15 storey residential block, several retail units, two theatres forming part of an arts centre, technical college, health and fitness centre including a swimming pool, a 2-level underground car park and a bus station. Fire safety engineering is a major feature in this project as there is phased evacuation, a number of different tenants including an M&S retail unit, mechanical smoke removal in the main theatre foyer, a lightweight theatre floor which can be used in raised, lowered and tilted modes, and impulse fans for removal of car fumes and smoke in the underground car park. I was responsible for:

  • agreeing design fires and making time-varying smoke control calculations to check those submitted by the consulting fire safety engineer
  • checking means of escape, compartmentation, fire suppression systems, fire detection and alarm systems, cause and effect schedules, emergency lighting and some signage
  • witnessing commissioning tests and verifying practical completion in terms of fire safety.

Work involved writing my own smoke control program in order to check consultants calculations for time-varying smoke filling of atrium. I was responsible for fire safety aspects under the building regulations, and also under the Licensing Act in the arts centre, and for some property protection aspects. The project was complicated by the need for interim hand-overs, complex project management and rigorously maintained tight timescales on a highly congested site . Lead architect: Ruddlle Wilkinson, Cambs. Theatre consultant: ACT Consulting Services, Cambs. Fire consultant: WSP Fire, Leeds.

Client: Building Control Department, London Borough of Barnet, North London

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