Omega Fire appointed for Oldham Coliseum Theatre
Following the success of the developed fire strategy of Oldham Heritage and Arts Centre (OHAC), we have been appointed to develop a fire strategy for the new Coliseum Theatre building located adjacent to the existing OHAC building on Union Street, Oldham. The proposed building comprises two theatres, the main auditorium and studio theatres, a foyer area and bars.
The building itself has number of aspects that would not achieve compliance under Part B of the Building Regulations when applying prescriptive guidance. The client desired the fire curtain to be removed, which separates the stage from the auditorium and is required by the guidance 'Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment'. The provision of smoke ventilation at the head of the stage and specific fire engineering analysis techniques were used to demonstrate that this engineered solution was an enhancement to the prescriptive guidance. The building escape strategy was developed using a bespoke compartmentation solution which allowed the use of a large accommodation stair as a means of escape route. This saved significant space and also ensured that the egress provisions provided were both safe and efficient.
One of the main challenges was the main protected stair discharging through the internal loading bay. The main staircase opened into an area with a potential fire load, which is not acceptable under the prescriptive guidance of the Building Regulations. A fire-engineered solution which relied on “intelligent signage” was developed. The signage is to be installed within the stair and the stair’s lobby on the ground floor, ensuring occupants are provided with a safe alternative route to external in the event of a fire in the loading bay area.
Overall the project was developed to maintain the fire safety standard of the building without restricting the design requirements.