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Within the premises of Haier Group's headquarters, a glass box houses a fixed sledgehammer, a unique fixture amidst the corporate environment. CEO Zhang Ruimin used a sledgehammer to transform a failing refrigerator manufacturer by smashing 76 flawed fridges, symbolizing a shift from old practices and the importance of quality control. The act remains significant in Haier's history. While he smashed his way to start a global business, quality control and discipline in this working environment became very crucial.

A key international manufacturer of household appliances, required an advanced structural and fire analysis of one of its major European facilities for assembling, stocking and distributing washing machines. Known for its innovation, Haier Group has comprehensive fire safety measures in place at its manufacturing facilities and offices to ensure the safety of its employees, protect its assets, and comply with safety regulations. The Brugherio site remains Haier Europe's strategic hub, housing a washing machine factory, Milan Experience Design Center, parts center and technical service center, and research and development activities. Built in the late 1960s, this 10,000-square-meter facility is characterized by a steel structure with a reticular steel roof and steel columns built in a regular and symmetrical configuration. Our team has worked with the client for many years, providing them with fire and life safety consultancy services, engineering design and execution of fire permitting for the entire production site.

With the introduction of the new Italian Fire Code, the building was subject to a fire safety risk analysis as it went through some renovation works and expansion. This analysis highlighted some flaws within the original fire safety strategy. Since the production line runs end-to-end through the structure unobstructed, the building is considered a single fire compartment and required by legislation to achieve minimum fire resistance. However, implementing the required passive fire protection measures for this massive steel structure would have caused extended downtime, high costs, and modification to the production line.

Additionally, focused on a growth strategy to become the leading choice for Smart Home solutions, the building is adjacent to one of the busiest highways in North Italy. Structural fire resistance was required to avoid any possible collapse towards the highway, resulting in loss of lives or damages to other strategic properties.

Jensen Hughes experts re-designed the entire fire strategy for the building by introducing new fire safety measures, such as detection and sprinkler protection systems. By doing so, we managed to redefine the specific fire risk of the building, allowing us and the client to implement targeted plans for passive fire protection solutions within the existing structure. In addition, we performed fire and structural fire modelling to investigate how the existing structure would behave in the event of a fire.

Through advanced structural and fire analysis, we were able to find the weak elements of the structure and tailor the passive fire protection to these elements. Using structural and fire modelling, we also analysed the direction in which the structure would bend in case of collapse. Such advanced modeling allowed us to strengthen strategic structural elements to prevent any possible collapse towards the adjacent highway. Our services were well-received by the client, as we managed to achieve approval from the fire authorities while limiting the costs required to implement the fire safety measures necessary to meet code compliance. At the same time, we engineered the plan of action with the client so that the production line could be kept the same without compromising the entire production of the site.

Haier's journey parallels China's transition to capitalism, highlighting its enduring commitment to quality and innovation. This commitment extends to fire safety, with robust measures in place at their manufacturing facilities. A recent structural and fire analysis, guided by Jensen Hughes' expertise, demonstrated their adaptability to evolving safety standards while preserving operational efficiency

Project Details

Project Owner

Haier Group


Haier Group

Project Location

Brugherio, MB, Italy

Project Size

2,600 total square meters




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