We were delighted to win an LABC award for Chapelfield shopping centre. But we and CNC Building Control were disappointed by the description of the project in Building (20 October, LABC awards) for two reasons:

  • The description made it sound as if we simply put in some smoke vents and solved everything. This was not the case. Smoke venting shopping centres is standard. What was innovative was making a three-storey atrium work with natural smoke vents.
  • The phrase “the atrium risked becoming a smoke trap and then a death trap” is emotive, and likely to cause concern for anyone involved in the project or the centre. Although the fire-engineered approach ensured a high standard of safety, the building has a number of measures that make it far from a death trap, even without the innovative smoke control design.
Gordon Garrad, Jeremy Gardner Associates