Durham University Business School (DUBS)

  • Location: Durham, UK
  • Client: Ryder Architecture
  • Partners: Desco, Gardiner & Theobald
  • Year: Ongoing
  • Sector: Buildings |
  • Specialisms: Fire Engineering |

The third-oldest university in England, founded in 1832, Durham University is one of the iconic universities. Its business school, established in 1965, underwent recent transformation from existing, disused swimming facilities into a state-of-the-art centre, holding 2,000+ students and teachers, by the city’s waterside. The new development comprises of cutting-edge research facilities and conference rooms to host national business events, enhancing business tourism in the city centre; the new design will see views of UNESCO World Heritage Site from the riverbank and public landscaped spaces.

What we are doing

Pell Frischmann’s Fire Engineering Team was commissioned to provide Fire Strategy and Fire Safety Engineering expertise, including fire consultancy services. Our teams collaborated closely with Ryder Architecture, as well as with our sister-company Desco (MEP Designers) to produce the following deliverables:

  • RIBA Stage 2 Summary fire strategy report;
  • RIBA Stage 3 Detailed fire strategy report;
  • RIBA Stage 4 Technical fire strategy report.

Throughout the project stages, the Fire Engineering Team implemented the necessary fire safety regulations to determine the fire safety parameters including:

  • DUBS’ holistic fire strategy and safety precautions;
  • Ventilation and smoke clearances;
  • Means of escape throughout the building.

Outcomes so far

Fire Engineering services were applied with a high level of co-ordination with all parties involved, particularly with the design teams, who could proceed confidently to uphold the desired architectural intent, whilst the structure adheres to the necessary fire safety regulations. It is important DUBS retains the university’s legacy and cultural heritage, implemented with modern fire engineering techniques so those who benefit from the facilities feel safe if a fire disaster occurs.

Keanne Danby, Pell Frischmann’s Lead Fire Safety Engineer for DUBS said:

Pell Frischmann has a rich history of working on education facilities and to implement our expertise into one of the world’s iconic universities was a challenge our Fire Team couldn’t wait to start on. Durham University site constraints, coupled with added value initiatives set by the team was an exciting task. We have added cost savings and value engineering, including multi-functionality through the layout of the building, satisfying our client and the most important end-users – the students who will learn in this world-leading development.


Images courtesy of Ryder.


We’d love to hear from you!

To find out more about DUBS, please contact us through our form here.


  • icon-arrow Development to 12,000sqm teaching and office accommodation
  • icon-arrow Horizontal fire curtains to the central void at each level to increase the 4.5m distance to the edge of the void for means of escape purposes
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