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OFR Consultants advises on fire safety strategy for historic Scottish castle

06 August 2021

A TEAM of dedicated fire engineering specialists from OFR Consultants has helped to deliver a fire safety strategy for a stunning heritage property in Ayrshire. Located in rural Scotland, the new Endeavour Penthouse Apartment at the Category B-listed five-star Glenapp Castle Hotel was completed last month following an extensive £2 million refurbishment programme and is now open to guests.

Led by Stephen Dickson (senior fire safety engineer) and supported by director Simon Lay and technical reviewers Jamie Gibson (Glasgow) and Kate Swinburne (Edinburgh), OFR Consultants was brought in by Truestone Glenapp Ltd to advise on the complex project that had faced building control challenges across a three-year duration.

Upon appointment, the team quickly embedded itself in the scheme, understanding the client’s ambitions for the project and engaging early with Building Standards to ensure the fire strategy proposals were clearly communicated. This method of working enabled OFR Consultants to build a good working relationship with both the Building Standards team and the local Fire and Rescue Service.

The project required an extensive and detailed fire safety strategy for the third-floor suite refurbishment as well as a retrospective fire strategy for the rest of the historic building, duly resulting in OFR delivering a full fire strategy for the building which will support ongoing fire safety management for the entirety of the hotel.

Providing support from initial concept through to detailed design and on again to the construction phase, including several site inspections and associated reports, the team contributed significantly to the project. The team members were also involved in checking and reviewing detailed design information such as fire suppression drawings and design information, fire detection and alarm drawings, passive fire protection around historic cast-iron structural elements and also positive pressurisation system drawings.

Technical expertise

Stephen Dickson explained: “We’re proud to have been involved in the exciting process of upgrading this really unique building and pleased that we were able to bring our technical expertise to bear to ensure that this beautiful listed and historic property has achieved the required fire safety requirements while also adhering to the important Historic Environment Scotland fire safety guidance.”

Dickson continued: “By integrating innovative systems and practices, including recommending a compartment floor upgrade from above, a positive pressurisation system for one of the main stairs and also active and dynamic signage within the third-floor suite to direct people away from a stair depending upon the location of a fire, we know that the fire life safety of occupants within the third-floor suite has been maximised.”

OFR Consultants is a dedicated fire engineering consultancy founded back in January 2016 by Simon Lay and Sam Liptrott. Andy Passingham and Ryan McCreadie joined as directors in early 2017 and 2018 respectively. All of the senior leaders within the business come from a background of leading fire engineering teams in globally renowned engineering consultancies.

Since inception, the business has grown to employ 80 members of staff across seven UK offices with a turnover of over £6 million. The business delivers high quality support to projects across the UK and around the world.

OFR Consultants’ approach is based on the conviction that a clear opportunity exists to deliver high quality, technically-led and tailored fire safety solutions, from project conception through design and construction then on again to operation and legacy. This has allowed the business to match the needs of its clients without the conflicts often associated with larger multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted consultancies.

Fire safety solutions development

OFR Consultants is not just a fire consultancy, though. It’s also a platform for enhancing the development and realisation of fire safety solutions. The delivery focus of the business is supported by a dedication to research which advances the understanding of the interaction between fire, people and structures while also seeking to collaborate with others for the benefit of society as a whole.

OFR Consultants has received recognition through the high-quality projects it has delivered for clients including Google, The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Urban Splash, the Rugby Football Union and leading UK and global contractors.