Built to withstand disastrous events

Built to withstand disastrous events
Key components in the 696qsm building include structural steel members, plywood wall bracing and fire-rated internal walls.

Winning the tender for the construction Christchurch’s Redwood Fire Station adds another significant project to Cook Bros Fire and Emergency New Zealand portfolio.
Project manager Tony Morley said, Cook Bros won the tender from a group of invited tenderers early 2018.
Winning the tender follows Cook Bros first project with FENZ, the construction of ANZAC Fire station, Wainoni, also in Christchurch, one of the largest fire stations in Canterbury built to date.
Construction was required to meet Importance Level 4 (IL4) building standards.
This means the likes of fire and ambulance stations, hospital operating theatres, triage centres and other critical post-disaster infrastructure must be operational immediately after an earthquake or other disastrous event.
“It’s a higher standard than your normal build, so there’s a lot more bracing in the walls. It’s structurally a lot sounder,” Tony says. “It’s designed to withstand a lot more than your average building.”
Key components in the 696 square metre building include structural steel members, plywood wall bracing and fire-rated internal walls. Cook Bros previous experience with the ANZAC Fire Station has been an asset, he says.
“Absolutely; just in what the requirements are and the finishes and some of the mechanics of the building are pretty similar. “We’ve been able to utilise our knowledge from ANZAC Fire Station into the Redwood station,” says Tony.
“We’ve developed a good working relationship with FENZ. We understand how they work and they understand us.”Architect, Andrew McNally of APG Architects, Hamilton, says a key design element is creating efficient fl ow throughout a fire station to enable fire crew to get to appliances quickly when called out.
The post-call out decontamination flow is equally important, he says.“The building’s divided into three zones; a dirty zone, a transition (washroom) zone and a clean zone.”
Because the building form is “quite simplistic”, both the architectural and structural language needed to be synchronised, so the structural engineer’s early involvement was an integral part to the success of the design.
A simple structure also makes it easier for earthquake loads to be transferred down to the ground and to minimise any disturbance to the building, he says.
While the fire station is essentially utilitarian, it was also recognised as a home away from home for FENZ’s professional fire fighters.“It’s a place of work, but it’s also their home so the living areas have a more domestic feel.
“Typically, there is quite a sea of hard surfaces and concrete, so we’ve introduced landscaping throughout the development to soften the edges. Courtyards have also been included to allow the users a space to connect with the external environment.”
The fire station also includes a gym.“It’s a higher standard than your normal build, so there’s a lot more bracing in the walls.It’s structurally a lot sounder. It’s designed to withstand a lot more than your average building.”
In line with FENZ Sustainability policy, a considerable amount of the materials used in its construction were from recycled sources, “down to the paint on the walls.”
“The professionalism of Cook Bros staff has been an asset to the project,” Andrew says.“They are approachable, and they’ve got a can-do attitude.”
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