A fire station is occupied every single hour of the year. While other buildings can benefit from energy-saving design strategies during unoccupied hours, MEP designers must find other ways to improve energy efficiency in fire station designs. In addition, it’s important to include generators and emergency power for these facilities in the overall design.
In the world of commercial buildings, fire stations present a unique design challenge for teams of architects and engineers. These municipal facilities provide an essential safety need for the local community. Fire houses are operational 24/7 and are a combination of office spaces, living spaces, and garage spaces. Because of the building operation schedule and the diversity of spaces, fire stations require a different approach than most buildings for the optimal MEP system.
A recent trend is the co-location of fire stations and other community services, such as police stations, 911 call centers, and emergency operation centers (EOCs). This is very common in smaller municipalities, although we are seeing larger cities take this approach with new construction. A benefit to locating public facilities all in one building or complex is that it facilitates cross training and collaboration among these specialized teams. From a facility standpoint, all departments benefit from shared facilities while reducing overall square footage requirements.
Another trend is the thoughtful inclusion of community engagement in building design. For example, we have helped design several Life Safety Parks. Life Safety Parks offer public education opportunities, like CPR classes or civics lessons for students. It’s becoming more common to see life safety parks or other public education facilities included as a part of a fire station project.
Public safety facilities provide an essential and critical service to the local community. RWB Consulting Engineers has extensive experience in designing fire stations with many different project requirements. Since 1986, our staff has been delivering excellence in engineering services. Contact our team to discuss engaging our services in designing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems for your fire station project.