Starting from scratch

Project Overview

With a predicted roll growth in the Western Bays area, a new building was designed for Grey Lynn School’s administration and library block, classrooms and gymnasium. The building was to be completed in stages. With the design constructed on sloping ground, PENZL Architects designed a 2-3 storey block consisting of the school gymnasium across one storey, the administration and part of the classrooms as two storeys, and the remaining classrooms across three storeys.

The role of Origin Fire

Ageing buildings in schools throughout New Zealand has meant Origin Fire has worked across several similar school projects. The Grey Lynn School project was headed by Origin’s Senior Fire Safety Technician; Christine Cann, and Senior Fire Protection Engineer, Wayne Joseph. Together they have worked on a number of school projects including a very similar design for Huapai School, and are currently working on Northcote Intermediate School, Macleans College & Parakai School. Most schools are removing and demolishing buildings, then designing and building from scratch. As such, it is crucial that the preliminary work is accurate so the design can move forward as intended.

For Grey Lynn School, preliminary fire engineering design information was required by the architects to use in their design to ensure that as the building progressed through the design phases, compliance with the Building Code and Ministry of Education requirements was achieved.

Origin Fire provided three key services for Grey Lynn School; design and construction monitoring for fire engineeringfire protection, and passive fire. Having more than one company looking after these services can cause confusion, especially when it comes to construction monitoring and final compliance documentation. As Origin Fire was responsible for completing all aspects of fire engineering for this project, this meant an efficient and central point of contact was available for the client from the outset.

Overcoming challenges

The first challenge was to have the fire sprinkler system and the fire alarm system remain active in the existing parts of the school. This was achieved by relocating the fire sprinkler valves at the completion of the stage one and two works.

The second challenge was to design a compliant fire sprinkler system for the gymnasium. The issue was the height of the roof and ceiling of the gymnasium. Origin Fire brainstormed various design options and came up with a fire sprinkler design solution that was both cost effective and would not require any water tanks or fire pumps.

“Overseeing all three services for this project meant Origin Fire could ensure all boxes were ticked where fire engineering design was concerned,” says Christine.

From a design perspective, the same team was able to collaborate and extend their knowledge of design and construction across all three areas of fire engineering. Origin’s solutions to ensure the correct locations of items such as panic bars and door fastenings, resulted in efficient and easy to use escape routes for the Grey Lynn School.

Check out the fantastic time-lapse put together by the Ministry of Education, Frequency, and the NZ Government for the construction of the school below;