Tag: buildings

Architecture & Building

Designing and Constructing Fireproof Buildings in the UK

In recent years, the importance of constructing fireproof buildings has become increasingly evident, especially in the United Kingdom where building safety has gained significant attention. Designing and building fireproof structures is not only crucial for safeguarding lives and property but also for ensuring the resilience of communities in the face of potential fire disasters. This article presents a comprehensive guide on how to design and construct fireproof buildings in the UK, focusing on key considerations, materials, technologies, and regulations.

Site Selection and Planning

Choosing the right location for a fireproof building is paramount to its overall safety. Factors to consider during site selection and planning include:

  • Proximity to fire stations: Ensure that the site is within reasonable distance to emergency services.
  • Access and egress routes: Plan for multiple entry and exit points for safe evacuation.
  • Firebreaks and landscaping: Incorporate firebreaks and use fire-resistant landscaping materials to create defensible spaces around the building.

Fire-Resistant Materials

Selecting appropriate fire-resistant materials is essential in constructing a fireproof building. Consider the following materials:

  • Fire-rated gypsum boards: Use fire-rated gypsum boards for walls and ceilings to delay the spread of flames and smoke.
  • Fire-resistant glazing: Install fire-resistant glazing in windows and doors to prevent fire from spreading through openings.
  • Fire-resistant insulation: Choose insulation materials with high fire resistance ratings to reduce the spread of fire.
  • Steel and concrete: Incorporate steel and concrete into the building’s structure as they are inherently fire-resistant materials.

Passive Fire Protection

Passive fire protection measures are integral in preventing the spread of fire and smoke. These measures include:

  • Fire-rated doors and partitions: Install fire-rated doors and partitions to compartmentalize the building and slow down the spread of fire.
  • Firestops and seals: Use firestops and seals to close gaps and openings in walls and floors, preventing the passage of flames and smoke.
  • Fire-resistant coatings: Apply fire-resistant coatings to structural elements to enhance their fire resistance.

Active Fire Protection Systems

Active fire protection systems are designed to detect and suppress fires. Include the following systems in your design:

  • Fire sprinklers: Install automatic fire sprinkler systems that activate in response to high temperatures, suppressing flames and minimizing damage.
  • Smoke detectors and alarms: Implement a comprehensive system of smoke detectors and alarms throughout the building for early fire detection and evacuation alerts.
  • Fire extinguishers: Place easily accessible fire extinguishers in key locations for immediate response to small fires.

Building Regulations and Codes

Adherence to building regulations and codes is crucial in designing and constructing fireproof buildings in the UK. Familiarize yourself with relevant guidelines such as:

  • Building Regulations Part B: Focuses on fire safety requirements for buildings in England.
  • BS 9999: Provides recommendations for fire safety in the design, management, and use of buildings.
  • Approved Document B: Offers guidance on how to meet the fire safety requirements of the Building Regulations.

Professional Expertise

Collaborating with professionals who specialize in fire engineering and building design is vital. Engage architects, engineers, and fire safety consultants who can help develop a comprehensive fire safety strategy tailored to your building’s needs.


Designing and constructing fireproof buildings in the UK is a multifaceted process that requires careful consideration of site selection, materials, technologies, and regulations. By implementing a combination of passive and active fire protection measures, incorporating fire-resistant materials, and adhering to relevant codes and guidelines, it is possible to create buildings that are well-prepared to withstand the threat of fire and ensure the safety of occupants and property. As the importance of building safety continues to gain momentum, investing in fireproof design and construction is a crucial step toward building a resilient and secure future.

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Architecture & Building

A list of some of the worst architectural disasters 

Just like all professions things go wrong, disasters happen and mistakes are made, and architects are no different. Here is a list of architectural tragedies that have happened over the years.  

Notre-Dame Cathedral Fire –  

One of the most devestating disasters happened on April 15th 2019. A fire broke out beneath the roof of the Notre-dame cathedral in Paris. More than 400 firefighters were engaged, and another 100 government workers worked to move precious objects to safety. By the time the fire was extinguished the spire had collapsed, most of the roof had been destroyed, and the walls were severely damaged. The burned down roof had been covered with over 400 metric tons of lead. Settling dust substantially raised surface lead levels in some places nearby.  

An investigation was taken out and on April 16th the Paris prosecutor said there was no evidence of a deliberate act. Renovation works increased the risk of a fire. On 25 April, the structure was considered safe enough for entry of investigators, who unofficially stated that they were considering theories involving malfunction of electric bell-ringing apparatus, and cigarette butts discovered on the renovation scaffolding. Although, it was denied cigarette butts could have caused the fire.  

Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

Leaning tower of Pisa –  

The tower of Pisa or freestanding bell tower of Pisa cathedral, is known for its nearly 4-degree lean. The height of the tower is 55.86 meters from the ground on the low side and 56.67m on the high side. Its weight is estimated to be 14,500 tonnes.  

The tower began to lean during the construction in the 12th century, due to soft and unsuitable ground which couldn’t support the structures weight. The tilt became progressively worse during the construction and the builders attempted to correct the problem.  

 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

20 Fenchurch Street (Walkie Talkie centre) –  

20 Fenchurch Street is an award-winning office block in London, with a unique concave design. It has been nicknamed the walkie talkie because of its distinctive shape.  

One of the main issues with the building was that During the building’s construction, for a period of up to two hours each day if the sun shines directly onto the building, it acts as a concave mirror and focuses light onto the streets to the south. Spot temperature readings at street-level including up to 91 °C and 117 °C were observed during summer 2013. The beam of light was 6 times brighter than direct sun light and it was melting cars parked below. A reporter also managed to fry an egg in a pan set on the ground.  

200 clarendon street –  

200 Clarendon Street, previously John Hancock Tower, is a 60-story, 240 m skyscraper in Boston. It is the tallest building in New England

The building is most commonly known for its structural disasters/ flaws. This includes an analysis that the entire building could overturn under certain wind loads. As well as, a design failure of its signature blue windows, which allowed any of the 500-lb window panes to detach and fall, endangering pedestrians below. 

RhythmicQuietude – Own work
Architecture & Building

The most festive Christmas getaway locations due to their architecture

Many people and families love to go away around Christmas. This is because the aesthetics and architecture are even more festive and enchanted around the December period. Here’s a list of locations and buildings that you might want to visit to get you into the festive spirit.  

Colmar, France –  

Firstly, this town in France is well known for its charm. The town is well decorated with cobblestone and medieval and renaissance architecture. For example, it has a similar style to the Maison Pfister.  Colmar’s Christmas markets are among the best in the Alsace region. It is one of the most photographed Christmas markets in Europe. The houses and buildings are beautifully decorated and lit up with Christmas lights.  

Colmar , France shared by Lucian on We Heart It

Hallstatt, Austria – 

Secondly, Austria’s Lake Hallstatt is full of character, and one of the oldest towns in Europe. The city contains baroque architecture. Baroque architecture is a highly decorative and theatrical style, taking basic elements of renaissance architecture. Making it grander, more decorated, and more dramatic. However, the town is the most festive when the beautiful architecture is covered in snow.  

A Winter Fairytale in Hallstatt, Austria - Find Us Lost

Lapland, Finland –  

When you think of Christmas where is the first place you think of? For myself and a lot of other people, it’s Lapland. The architecture and landscape are basically straight out of a movie. It’s popularised to be the home of Santa Claus and has some of the best Christmas markets in the world. A lot of Scandinavian architecture merges the structure with the surrounding environment. For example, using wood and natural materials, natural light, clean lines, neutral colours, and more.   

Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi in Lapland Finland Arctic Circle

Bruges, Belgium –  

If you are into cities that have a lot of history, Bruges would be a perfect place for you to visit. The city still has a ton of original medieval architecture still intact. Medieval architecture features styles from Romanesque, French style, and gothic style architecture. As well as, characteristics including stained-glass windows, tall spikes, turrets, and arches.  

Christmas in Brugge, Belgium. Photo @quan.engine | Places to go, Beautiful  places, Vacation

Quebec City, Canada –  

Quebec City is a great old-world treasure, the historic streets date back to the 1600s. The City is the closest thing to a European Christmas you will get, without all of the travel. The city hosts a German Christmas market each year and it is a perfect getaway for the festive season. The city alone is very picturesque so when you go in the winter it is even more showstopping. Especially with all of the decorations and the snow on the ground and buildings. 

The Ultimate Guide to Quebec City – A Charming Wonderland Perfect for  Short, Winter Honeymoon or Vacation – The Honeymoon Guy

Rothenburg Ob der Tauber, Germany –   

Finally, Rothenburg is Germany’s Christmas capital and it’s the home to the world’s only Christmas Museum. Its well known for its well-preserved medieval old town. It is one of the only three towns in Germany that have completely intact city walls. In addition, this town is considered to be Christmas all year round. It is popular among tourists and it attracts around 1.5 million people every year. 

Winter in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, northern Bavaria, Germany :  r/MostBeautiful

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Advice Center

Everything To Know About The Party Wall Act 1996

The party wall act is very important if you’re planning work that will affect a shared wall between you and your neighbours. Here’s everything you need to know about the act.  

What is a party wall?  

A party wall is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that are shared by the occupants of each residence or business. Typically, the builder lays the wall along a property line dividing two terraced houses. So, that one-half of the wall’s thickness lies on each side.  

What is the party wall act?  

The party wall act 1996 introduced a procedure for resolving disputes between owners of neighbouring properties. As a result of one owner’s intention to carry out works that would affect the party wall.  

The long title –  

An act to make provision in respect of party walls, and excavation and construction in proximity to certain buildings or structures; and for connected purposes.  

What does the act do?  

The act came into force on the 1st of July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales. It provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls. Also boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.  

Anyone intending to carry out work of the kinds described in the act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions. A notice must be given even where the work will not extend beyond the centre line of a party wall.  

It is often helpful if the owners consider themselves joint owners of the entire party wall instead of sole owners of part of it. Although there is no written consent or agreement, the act provides for the resolution of disputes.  

What does the act cover?  

  • Various work that is going to be carried out directly to an existing party wall or structure.  
  • New buildings at or astride the boundary line between properties.  
  • Excavation within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure. Depending on the depth of the hole or proposed foundations. 

What happens if you don’t serve a party wall notice?  

A party wall notice offers you protection from false or malicious claims from your neighbours and from expensive legal costs. If you fail to submit a Notice and damage is caused, when your neighbours take you to court it will be a black mark against you before you even attempt and defence.  

Party Wall Surveyors | London Party Wall Surveyors

Architecture & Building, Design and Inspiration

Top 10 Most Famous Architectural Buildings In The World

Have you ever wondered when you are traveling the world what the best architectural landmark is? Here is a list of the top 10 most famous buildings, and also some interesting facts about each one. in no particular order:

1. Gardens by the bay, Singapore  

firstly, it is a botanical garden in Singapore’s thriving marina bay. Designed by Grant Associates, the flower dome became the largest greenhouse in the world. In addition, the aim of the gardens was to raise the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora in the city.  

The final construction cost for the project, not including the price of the land. But it was including an access road, drainage works, and soil improvement, within a £770,000,000 allocated budget. The annual operating cost is approximately £43,155,219. Because of its popular tourist attraction, the park received over 50 million visitors in 2018. 

Gardens by the Bay Tour on SIC – Everest Holiday Bangladesh

2. Linked Hybrid, Beijing 

Secondly, the linked hybrid is a building complex built in Beijing; China designed by Steven Holl architects. Furthermore, the building is known for its environmental design and uses geo-thermal wells for cooling and heating.  

It was built 2003-2009. Over 2500 people living there. In fact, it contains 750 apartments, commercial areas, parking, hotel, cinema, and educational facilities including a kindergarten and school.  

Linked Hybrid by Steven Holl Architects | Dezeen

3. The shard, London 

The shard also referred to as the shard of glass is a 72-storey skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. It is the tallest building in the UK and the seventh-tallest in Europe. The construction of the building began in 2009 and it finished in 2012. 

In particular, the building includes 10 business sectors, 3 restaurants, 10 residential apartments, and the UK’s highest viewing gallery. It cost almost £435 million to build.  

The 10 Best London Shard Tours & Tickets 2021 | Viator | London  attractions, London architecture, London

4. Metropol Parasol, Seville, Spain 

Metropol Parasol is a wooden structure located in the old square of Seville, Spain. The architect was a German architect Jurgen Mayer. Furthermore, it is approximately 26 meters and claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. The structure consists of 6 parasols in the form of giant mushrooms.  

The cost of the structure approached 100 million euros which is £86 million. 

5. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 

The Burj Khalifa is a skyscraper in Dubai, it has a total height of 282 meters. As a result, it is the tallest structure and building in the world. The architect was Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

It was designed to be the centrepiece of large-scale, mixed-use development. To list, it includes hotels, residential properties, restaurants, corporate suites, 2 sky observatories, parking, and a sky lobby.    

The construction of the Burj took 22 million man-hours and the total cost for the project was about £1.2 billion.  

Burj Khalifa Observation Deck with Dubai Aquarium & More - Klook UK

6. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur 

The Petronas Towers are twin skyscrapers in Malaysia. The architect was Argentine-American architect Cesar Pelli. They remain the tallest twin towers in the world. They feature a double-decker sky bridge connecting the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors. This makes it the highest 2 storey bridges in the world.  

Construction of the towers started in 1993 and was finished in 1996. And the cost of the construction cost £1.2 billion. 

7. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy 

Known worldwide for its nearly 4 degrees lean (the result of an unstable foundation). In addition, the tower is located behind the Pisa Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in the city’s cathedral square.   

There has been controversy about the real identity of the architect of the leaning tower of Pisa. The architect is Bonanno Pisano. However, a study in 2001 seems to indicate Diotisalvi was the original architect, due to the time of construction.   

To begin, the construction of the tower occurred in three stages over 199 years. Construction started in 1172. Foundations were laid in 1173. The tower began to sink after construction had progressed to the second floor in 1178. This was due to a three-meter foundation, set in weak unstable subsoil. In 1264 the master builder and 23 workers went to the mountains to cut marble. In 1272 construction continued. The construction was finished in 1372. 

8. Taj Mahal, Agra 

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. Built 1632-1653. And the architect was the Mughal emperor Shan Jahan. It then was to house the tomb of his favourite wife and later on himself. The tomb is the centrepiece of the 42-acre complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house.  

The taj mahal is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653. And at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees. In fact, in 2020 that would be approximately 70 billion rupees (about UK £700 million). 

The Taj Mahal will now fine visitors who stay longer than three hours -  Lonely Planet

9. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia  

The Sydney opera house is a multi-venue performing arts centre. It is one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings. The architect was a Danish architect, Jorn Utzon. But completed by an Australian architectural team headed by Peter Hall. The construction first started in 1959 and it ended in 1973. In addition, the cost of the construction was $102 million (£75.6 million pounds). 

It features a modern expressionist design, with series of large precast concrete shells, each composed of sections of a sphere.  

10. Absolute World, Mississauga, Ontario 

Finally, the Absolute world is a residential condominium twin tower skyscraper complex. The architect was Fernbrook Homes. The taller building was nicknamed the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ tower due to its curvaceous, hourglass figure. Built 2007-2012.

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