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Firing up for a new approach

We’re engineers.

That means that we never sit still, we never stop investigating and we are continually researching technologies and solutions that can help our client’s projects. It’s part of our DNA.

Looking at how we can do things differently is core to our success, and we extend that to every part of our business. As many of you will know we are building a reputation for our work on mid-rise residential and commercial projects; where the ability to bring technology and technical expertise to bear can improve aesthetics, save time and money – and who doesn’t want to do that?

We recently caught up with Fire Engineer, James O’Neill of Holmes Fire because their way of thinking fits with our approach to design.

Traditionally when we design a structure we apply fire safety afterwards, so that we can conform to the relevant codes and regulations. And whilst that’s hugely important, what impresses me about Holmes Fire’s approach is that we can take a different perspective – we can incorporate the fire safety elements into the preliminary engineering designs.

This means that for our clients we will be able to optimise the design of the structural materials for better fire performance, rather than adding fire protection after construction. The benefits of this approach are significant;

  • We can engineer structures to more closely reflect the design aesthetic; for example, using more exposed steel and timber.
  • Costs can be reduced as fire protection is engineered into the design rather than added following construction.
  • Thinner slabs, shallower beams and columns can be used reducing costs and construction times.
  • Overall there is less detailing design required, simplifying many project elements.

There is no doubt that as building density increases and we build up to accommodate population change and lifestyle demands, this approach is one that will resonate because we can improve upon what we do today and innovate on behalf of our clients.

When we are working with clients to add floors to existing buildings, to design new structures or to adapt and repurpose existing buildings, this approach will be key element in the success of any project. Across residential, industrial, commercial and retail environments we can see clear opportunities to maximise safety whilst improving aesthetic appeal and reducing construction costs.

Holmes Fire call it performance-based engineering, and it is an approach that makes sense as it is the most efficient tool both economically and architecturally to achieve our client’s goals.

And it will become a key element of what we will offer at Inertia going forwards, as we are committed to pushing the technical and technological boundaries for our clients, because as engineers it is what we do.

About Holmes Fire

Holmes Fire are a specialist Fire Engineering firm, employing over 20 staff in Australia and a further 60 internationally. With a sole focus on fire, we do it well, with a reputation for providing innovative, high quality and cost effective building solutions, in collaboration with our clients. In additional to general fire engineering services, expertise in structural fire engineering is our unique point of difference.

We believe that the science of engineering allows for the design buildings to be inherently fire resistant. Holmes Fire takes a holistic approach to structural fire safety by bridging the gap between architects, structural and fire engineers. Through a specialist team, partnered with advanced technology, Holmes Fire is pushing the boundaries and improving the future of structural design worldwide.