Nuclear – Fire Safety

Our client in the nuclear Industry has been challenged by regulators to ensure that all fire compartments across their vast nuclear licensed site (approximately 30 buildings in total), are fully risk assessed, inspected and brought up to today's standards if required. This is an ongoing 3 year programme of works, where we have worked as an extension of our clients team to create detailed budgets and schedules ensuring work can be progressed in a timely manner with minimal disruption to client personnel.
The sheer scale of the buildings footprints made the task of surveying rather daunting. We initially used traditional techniques to carry out a five-day trial survey in the largest plant building to get an indication of how long the full survey would take. As we are up against walls that are up to 12m in height, with multiple obstructions, it's estimated that the survey will take a minimum of 6 months to carry out. We are currently using a micro-drone with a protective bump cage and HD instant streaming, manoeuvred by a CAA trained pilot to work on improving the full survey works. At ground level Trustland have contracted RPS to risk assess each penetration from the feedback on the tablet screen. Those penetrations are then analysed by our fire compartment experts who record the remedial actions required and mark up elevations of the walls showing the penetration and services passing through. This is then communicated back to Head Office where our design engineers produce autocad drawings for cross referencing.
One of the challenges that we came across in the outset is that many of the existing fire dampers have not been fully maintained making them potentially ineffective. To overcome this we have engaged with a metal works company who are surveying the dampers for replacements to be made.
In addittion to this, we have also found that some of the buildings only have management asbestos surveys, so detailed knowledge is not known of asbestos containing materials. To ensure that our operatives have as much knowledge as possible when remediation works commence, we have engaged specialist asbestos surveyors to work alongside our current survey team. As a further precaution all operatives working on the compartment projects have been given UKATA cat B training.
Due to the detailed design review process used in the nuclear industry, agreeing product specifications with the appropriate European technical assessments posed an issue. Luckily, Trustland have partnered with Hilti who are world leaders in the design development of passive fire protection products. This meant that alongside Hilti, we were able to hold an information day for the Client’s design authorities, project managers and procurement teams. During the day we demonstrated the products, the design techniques and showed videos of product testing carried out by Hilti. We also use Hilti’s technical teams to design non-standard solutions that can be used, for example, to make cost savings where access to one side of a wall would be very expensive.
A lot of the buildings involved in this project are occupied offices and communal facilities, so we have scheduled some of the works to be carried out outside of working hours to minimise disruption.
Our client in this case awarded us the contract for multiple reasons, one undoubtedly being that we are 3rd party accredited by Exova to install fire doors and repair/maintain fire compartments. All of our joiners are trained to carry out these activities and are regularly independently audited, giving them the peace of mind to know that all fire safe products will be top standard once the project is complete.

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