Property developer and licensed contractor Dyls is a known player in the Belgian real estate sector. Lybover has also known the family business for some time. After previous pleasant collaborations, Dyls came knocking on our door again for the new De Torens construction project in Aarschot. This new urban district, designed by an international team of architects a2o from Hasselt, DRDH from London and C+S from Treviso, includes five different residential zones, as well as commercial spaces, a traffic-free courtyard, numerous green areas and a spacious car park. It was up to Lybover FIRE to provide fire safety in this car park with three levels, two underground and one above ground, and a total net area of almost 18,000 m².
Everything started with a preliminary study on fire safety in the car park, says Stijn Vandenberghe, Head of Projects at Lybover FIRE: “That study showed that the sprinkler installation originally prescribed could be avoided with limited additional fire compartmentalisation and an optimised SHEV study. A significant saving for the client, especially considering the area to be protected. We then conducted a CFD analysis based on computer simulations of all kinds of possible fire scenarios to check whether our design met all the predetermined criteria. The results were positive. A check of the model by an independent body confirmed that our proposal guarantees safety in the car park by complying with applicable standards and legislation. Not only SHEV, but also evacuation options, among others, were taken into account.”
“That is typical of our approach: we want to share our expertise with our customers to help them get off to a well-informed start. In addition, we actively think along to come up with a safe solution that fits the budget. In fact, we are increasingly noticing that, in the initial phase of a project, developers no longer only call in engineering firms, but also experts like us,” says Filip Van Meerhaeghe, Head of Sales at Lybover FIRE.
Fire compartmentalisation and SHEV
The preliminary study was then submitted to the Aarschot fire brigade and city authorities. They gave their blessing. Thereupon, Dyls gave the final green light.
To find a solution that reconciled technicality and aesthetics, we went with Dyls and the architectural team on an inspiration visit to Quartier Bleu in Hasselt, one of our previous realisations. “The choice fell on fire compartmentalisation with products from our partner Stöbich. Our colleagues at Lybover INSTALLATION ensured flawless installation. In the process, they installed a SHEV system with four strategically placed SHEV extraction shafts, good for a flow rate of some 400,000 m³/h in the event of a fire. Incidentally, the system should not only take care of smoke and heat extraction: we also did the necessary study work to engage it for optimal daily comfort ventilation in the parking area. At that point, the fans run at a lower power and are an alternative to a traditional ventilation system. In addition to optimum air quality, we also sought to minimise energy consumption,” says Jan Van Betsbrugge, Project Engineer at Lybover FIRE.
A major project usually runs over several years. This means that all parties involved have to be prepared for expected and unexpected evolutions in the market. Stijn Vandenberghe: “We already conducted the first study for this project in 2018. In the meantime, of course, a lot has happened: the corona crisis and the war in Ukraine caused disrupted supply chains and higher prices. But by continuously optimising, we managed to avoid a price indexation for the customer.”
Lybover FIRE was also forward-looking in terms of regulatory changes. “The legislation around fire safety in parking garages was amended in June 2022. In our design, we had already taken those changes into account. By anticipating in this way, we ensure that the installation is in line with the upcoming standards. That is an extra advantage for the customer,” says Stijn.
Tested and approved
The project is proceeding in several phases: part of the works have already been delivered. During the final phase, an independent inspection body and the fire brigade came to carry out safety tests on site. “One of them is a smoke test. This involves checking how quickly smoke is extracted. We are proud to say that our installation passed the tests,” says Jan Van Betsbrugge. In short: residents and visitors to De Torens in Aarschot will soon be parking their cars in a fire-safe car park, thanks to the pleasant cooperation between Dyls and Lybover FIRE.