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Fire Escape Corridor Contract Showcases Masterful Value Engineering

Refurbishing a facility can pose unique challenges depending on the reasoning behind it. Some clients do it to comply with new regulations – others want a cosmetic refresh. We heard it many times at Stancold. It is never “simply cosmetic”.


“That is very much true unless one was to paint the walls and call it a day! Whenever you change something structurally, whether internally or externally, there’s bound to be a third party involved,” says Shaun Jones, our industrial partitioning expert. “Could be directors from overseas, building regulations or an insurer – remember, even an unassuming corridor could be a fire escape route of an R&D centre working on expensive products. Things get complicated quickly.”

Shaun is talking about a recently completed job at a local, Wiltshire branch of a global small electronics manufacturer, a stone’s throw away from our HQ in Bristol.

“We worked with a brand-new client who manages the end user’s facilities. They are a construction company, but a more traditional one. The world of composite panels was new to them, especially how their specifications affect insurance policies.” These policies turned out to play an important role in the project, as the end user is insured by FM Global – a name well known to anyone working with high-tech manufacturers or life sciences companies based in the US.

Stancold’s scope of work included the installation of non-combustible panels rated for 30-min of fire resistance. “The corridor was on the outside of built-over cleanrooms,” Shaun continues while marking up drawings. “The partitions were all on a steel frame, supporting the cleanroom system on one side and the fire escape corridor wall on the other. The labs were self-contained, so the end user carried on working “business as usual”. That’s the biggest benefit of composite panels – avoiding the mess you’d normally make with traditional methods.”

Working in an operational facility meant we had to design a solution interfering with existing doors and structures as little as possible. After carefully considering the options, Shaun suggested an unusual 75mm-thick panel. “It was a complicated chain of command: from Stancold’s suggestions to our clients to the end user, and then finally to the insurers who often have the final say about what we can and can’t do… We eventually agreed on a design satisfying all the parties and saving them a significant sum over what they’d pay if I hadn’t gone on a site visit.”

Shaun approximates the savings he made to be around 30%.

Value engineering combined with rigorous certifications?

To experience how he does it, email info@stancold.co.uk