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Nestled in the hills with green views as far as the eye can see, the city of Bath is one of the world's most captivating UNESCO heritage sites, standing adorned with 5,000 meticulously listed historic buildings. Famously known for its Roman Baths and long history as a spa town, the city has some of the oldest and most unique structures in the UK, including stunning Georgian architecture that has been gracefully transitioned over the years into bustling commercial spaces. Yet, a challenge emerged in the mid-1990s as these historical gems faced the dilemma of balancing stringent building regulations with the imperative to preserve their distinct architectural essence.

The growth of unoccupied spaces in the city over the years became a poignant testament to this struggle, as buildings could not keep up with evolving safety standards. With the demand for housing increasing, upgrading outdated systems would create much-needed residential space and contribute to the continued economic growth of this vibrant city. Bath City Council commissioned Jensen Hughes to help them demonstrate that these buildings could meet the requirements for fire safety without changes to the design of these small Georgian-terraced properties.

To preserve the integrity of these historic structures, our specialists utilized their expertise to develop fire engineering solutions that not only met fire safety requirements but also considered the building fabric. Our approach further emphasized the elevated life safety of occupants during fire emergencies while concurrently establishing a robust fire protection system.

Many of the four- and five-story Georgian buildings have single staircases, which posed a significant challenge to designing an appropriate means for evacuation. This prompted us to research alternative methods for achieving compliance. In addition to performing an analysis of sprinklers and smoke ventilation, we carried out fire modelling to predict fire growth and smoke movement in the building, comparing the level of safety to that of an equivalent-sized, code-compliant building. The analysis showed that the safety standard in the proposed fire-engineered buildings met the code requirements.

Our findings were accepted by the local building authority, which permitted many of these buildings to be used for much-needed residential space. Our expert solutions helped the city of Bath preserve its architectural legacy while reinvigorating these historically significant structures for generations to come

Project Details

Project Owner

Bath City Council


Bath City Council



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