Big Creative Academy

About Big Creative Academy

Big Creative Education is located in London, with it’s 2 campuses located in Walthamstow. Established in 1999, BCE is for students aged 16 to 24 who want to pursue a career in music, media, gaming, events, film/TV or performing arts. BCE operate three separate organisations: Big Creative Training, Big Creative Academy and Big Creative Independent School.

Key Elements

The Challenge

IFC were asked to provide a fire risk assessment for a the academy which incorporates a large auditorium, several small music rehearsal rooms in combination with larger standard sized classrooms.

The school is split over 3 floors, with the potential for the auditorium to be used for public use out of school hours, this resulted in security features such as turnstiles having to be introduced into the design.

The surrounding landscape has also been designed to make the most of the space and provide outside learning environments that limited the access for vehicles to approach the building.

The building aimed to minimise the number of fire fighting shafts and dry risers required, however with the extended level highs the guidance would have required a minimum of two fighter fighting shafts and incorporated dry risers.

A second challenge was a light control room in the auditorium that had extended travel distances and the client did not want to install a sprinkler system.

The Solution

To avoid the need for a firefighting shaft the building needed to be reduced in height by 300mm. This was discussed with the client and building control to reduce the height of the second floor to below 7.5m to negate the need for two fire shafts.

We were able to choose to use the guidance of Approved Document B instead of BB100 as this allowed for a more flexible design. This choice was justified as the building has public use as well as being a school, which meant that the installation of sprinklers was not required.

To solve the issue of the extended travel distance for the light rig, an external exit was required. On discussion with the architect it was possible to plan for an external escape that was code compliant but also fitted with the exterior of the building.

The Outcome

A code compliant building was designed that allowed for no fire fighting shafts or for sprinklers to be used within the building.

The design has ensured that the purpose of all rooms remain the same and only minor changes were required in order to bring the building up to standard.

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