Origin Fire Wins Engineering Achievement Award

November 27, 2023

We are thrilled to announce our recent victory at the prestigious FireNZ Conference awards, where the Origin Fire team won the Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award for their work on Auckland Zoo’s Southeast Asia precinct. This honour serves as a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation in the field of fire engineering.

In the Auckland Zoo project, Origin Fire provided fire safety design and construction monitoring for various buildings in Southeast Asia Precinct, challenging conventional norms of fire engineering. This project showcases the application of innovative and imaginative solutions to complex challenges in fire safety. The design prioritises animal protection while also ensuring staff and visitor safety and positive public perception. By raising the bar for animal protection in zoos, our work has set a new industry standard, inspiring others to think outside the box and prioritise animal safety in parallel with human safety.

A Glance at Our Award-Winning Project

Our award-winning project centred around the development of the Auckland Zoo Southeast Asia Precinct, which encompasses habitats for various exotic animals, including Orangutans, Sumatran Tigers, Otters, and Tomistoma Crocodiles. Additionally, the precinct features the new Darwin’s restaurant and cafe, all within the construction. This endeavour showcased our team’s expertise and dedication to ensuring the highest standards of fire safety.

Nestled within the lush greenery of the Auckland Zoo, this ambitious precinct aimed to replicate the diverse ecosystems of Southeast Asia. This captivating endeavour brought unique challenges, particularly with regards to fire safety. 

Our design places a high priority on animal protection in the event of fire while also ensuring occupants’ safety, particularly in environments that are mixed-use, exceeding the minimum building code requirements. We implemented alarm activation through text and phone messages and utilized strobe lights instead of audible alarms within animal enclosures to prevent agitation among the animals. We collaborated with fire and emergency services to guarantee the safety of both animals and firefighters, as the standard fire and emergency responses are deemed unsuitable for the situations involving potentially dangerous animals. The collaboration with multiple organisations also contributed to a more favourable project outcome.

The Winning Edge

Origin Fire’s win in the Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award category can be attributed to several key factors:

  • Innovative Fire Safety Solutions: Our team leveraged their expertise to design bespoke fire safety systems that seamlessly integrated with the precinct’s theme while adhering to stringent safety standards.
  • Orangutan and Simiang Quarters: Highest safety level with sprinklers, smoke detection, and mechanical smoke extract. 
  • Tiger Enclosures: Smoke detection and extract; limited alerting devices to avoid agitating animals. 
  • Crocodile Enclosure: Heat detection, supplementary smoke detection, and natural smoke extract. 
  • Small Enclosures: Detection for staff alerting.
  • Exceptional Teamwork: The collaborative spirit that permeates Origin Fire was instrumental in this success. We collaborated seamlessly with various project partners, ensuring a harmonious approach to the complex design challenges: 
    • Architects: Studio Hanson Roberts (SHR) and Ignite 
    • Project and Cost Management: Beca 
    • Civil, Structural, Electrical, Hydraulics, and Mechanical Engineering: Jacobs
  • Commitment to Excellence: Our team, led by Origin’s Sherry Wang and overseen by Michael James, undertook the mission of designing and implementing cutting-edge fire safety solutions. And every member of the Origin Fire team is driven by an unwavering commitment to excellence. Our meticulous attention to detail, paired with a passion for ensuring the highest level of fire safety, set us apart.

Celebrating Our Emerging Professionals

In addition to our Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award, we are immensely proud to acknowledge our rising stars, Sherry Wang and Vincent Selvakumar. They were recognised as runners-up in the Emerging Professional category, a reflection of their dedication to advancing fire engineering, passive fire engineering and their commitment to professional growth. Their innovative contributions and willingness to collaborate are invaluable and exemplify the high caliber of talent at Origin Fire.

At Origin Fire, we believe in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in fire engineering. Our recent accolades only serve as further motivation to continue our pursuit of excellence. We look forward to embarking on new, exciting projects that challenge the status quo and raise the bar for fire safety standards. We are immensely grateful to our dedicated team, clients, and partners for their continued trust and support.

To learn more about our award-winning Auckland Zoo project click here, or to discuss how Origin Fire can assist with your next venture, please get in touch with us via the contact page here.