London SE11



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The ‘project’ was not the process of creating the concept, building it and handing it over to the client, it was only the feasibility of providing firefighting provisions to this deep level station on the London Underground system.

BS 5588 Part 5 requires firefighting shafts (firefighting stairs, firefighting lift and firefighting lobby) in buildings with ‘basements’ deeper then 10m. While this requirement is not retrospective, the Client wanted to investigate the feasibility of providing this “where practicable”.

It was established early on in the process that it would be very difficult to take the firefighting lift down to platform level (there would need to be more than one in view of the multiple platforms, or the platforms rearranged above each other), however this was also not necessary. Firefighters do not travel by lift to the floor of the fire — normally they travel up to the floor below and fight the fire up the stairs, so if the fire is below the Access Level they stop at the floor above (at least) and go down the stairs. This approach meant that the lift need only travel to the Concourse level, with stairs being used to complete the journey to the platforms.

The conclusion was that it was possible to meet the spirit of the ‘standard’s requirements, by sinking a new shaft from the street to the concourse. This would involve rerouting roads: thought to be ‘impossible’ by some, this was just considered ‘improbable’ by the Client who said “if we can build the Jubilee Line, this is easy”.  


London Underground


Feasibility study for a firefighting shaft and lift from street to concourse/platform


Commissioned by: