Heart of the Campus, Sheffield Hallam University

The £15.7m Heart of the Campus development is a new facility on the Collegiate Campus of Sheffield Hallam University, constructed as an extension to an existing building on a live university site. The development includes spacious classrooms, laboratories, lecture theatres, dedicated classrooms, meeting rooms, informal spaces and a three-storey atrium.

Key details

Project name
Heart of the Campus, Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam University


Services provided

  • Fire engineering


To provide the optimum design solution for end user and cost there were a number of design aspects requiring a fire engineered approach as an alternative to compliance with prescriptive guidance. Two firefighting shafts were required for compliance with standard guidance. The ideal location of the stairs created internal lobbies which would have required large natural smoke shafts or costly mechanical smoke extract systems to ventilate the lobbies.

Heart of the campus, Sheffield Hallam University - project image.jpg


A fire engineered solution was developed and agreed with the university and statutory authorities that permitted the omission of smoke ventilation from the firefighting lobbies on lower floors and retained direct smoke ventilation to the topmost lobbies directly through the roof.

This provided significant simplification to this aspect of the design. There were aspects of the escape route design not in compliance with prescriptive recommendations. In particular, escape routes were located in close proximity to open balconies around the atrium on upper floors. A fire engineered solution was developed to justify the escape routes along the open balconies based on the high standard of automatic smoke detection and the inherent benefits of the good visual communication around the atrium.

RPS led the development of the fire strategy report and the consultation with Sheffield City Council regarding approval of the fire strategy. In particular, approval was obtained for fire engineered solutions to the atrium design, compartmentation arrangements and firefighting facilities.

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