Ford Highbrook

This project involved fire engineering for a new $11m warehouse to accommodate a Ford Motor Company’s parts depot at Highbrook Business Park. The building is 10,000m2 with a 12m stud height and a 500m2 single-level attached office. Requirements for fire protection were an automatic fire alarm system, fire hose reels and fire extinguishers.

  • Challenges
  • Solution

The main challenge when designing an unsprinklered warehouse of this size is to provide adequate firefighting facilities. There are two main parts to this equation: one is to maintain a visibility distance of greater than 10m through the smoke until fire service personnel arrive; the other is to provide adequate water supplies, hose run distances and access into the building to fight the fire.

Origin Fire was responsible for the fire engineering design, which consisted of computer modelling fire scenarios in the warehouse to demonstrate how people could evacuate safely and the fire service could undertake their search and rescue operations. We also used computer models to demonstrate how the heat radiation from a fire would not affect the neighbouring property boundaries.

On completion of the fire engineering design, we commenced the design and specification of the fire protection systems, including an automatic fire alarm system, fire extinguishers and fire hose reel systems. We also selected and specified the automatic smoke venting system based on the fire engineering design requirements.

To maintain visibility we specified six Colt Seefire roof vents, which open on the activation of the heat detectors in the warehouse to vent the smoke. Compliance was demonstrated by computer modelling the space to show how visibility was maintained until the fire service arrived.

Highbrook is blessed with a generous water supply, so we had this tested to confirm that it met fire service requirements. We also met with the fire service to identify attendance points and measured hose run distances to ensure street hydrants were close enough to the fire service trucks and hoses from the trucks could reach all parts of the building. This resulted in the provision of additional hydrants on the public water main at each entrance to the site, as well as additional entry doors to the building.


Michael James – Fire Engineering Design
Wayne Joseph – Fire Protection Design


Client: Highbrook/Goodman Property Trust
Project Manager: RCP
Architect: Eclipse Architecture

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