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October 2012

Flexible Egress Fire Protection for Christchurch Civic Building

One of the more unexpected was a need to come up with a radical solution to enable the Christchurch City Council’s newly refurbished and Green Star-rated Civic Centre building to remain occupied, while continuing to endure minor shakes.

These tremors have rendered the traditional rigid fire lining systems ineffective as, despite several attempts at initial repair, continued cracking in the fire-rated plasterboard lining had undermined the integrity of the existing fire-rated wall system. This meant the building could not remain in continued use unless a solution was urgently found.

To resolve this issue, Forman Building Systems Ltd worked with the building’s engineers, Powell Fenwick Consulting, and Athfield Architecture, Hawkins Construction and Sealing Solutions Ltd to create a flexible fire egress solution for the building.

The solution was Firefly Titan from TBA Textiles UK, a flexible barrier system which, due to its blanket-like composition, is unaffected by ground or building movement. The Firefly Titan was installed as a retrofit solution over the existing structure and linings and reinstated the required 120 minutes integrity and 60 minutes insulation on the egress stairs.

Despite initial resistance to the new and very different aesthetic, moving away from the smooth plasterboard finish that had previously lined the stairs, the ability for the Firefly product to offer a certainty of ongoing performance, despite the continued seismic activity, won through and the project was given the green light.

Further issues that emerged during installation, such as the fact that the location of the fire-rated barrier had been moved out from the existing structure, were further resolved by protecting the structural members with Firetherm Intubatt, a high density Rockwool board product which was fixed over the exposed steel support brackets.

View more information on Comfortech Building Performance Solutions, including contact details.
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