OFR Team Advises on Durham’s Milburngate

Members of our Leeds team have been busy working on an exciting new development in Durham, as part of the city’s riverside regeneration project. Milburngate House is located at the former Passport Office building which was demolished to make way for the new mixed-use scheme. Upon completion in 2021 it will provide 153 residential apartments, a boutique four-screen cinema, a hotel, restaurants and in Phase 2 of the scheme, either a new office or residential building.

The OFR team including principal fire engineer, Callum Dyer and senior fire engineer, Laura Smith were appointed by their client, FaulknerBrowns Architects, working on behalf of overall client MGH CARD LLP. OFR has been providing fire engineering services including advising on the masterplan levels and access points. It was vital that the team was involved at an early stage of the project to determine the fire and rescue service access routes in order to evaluate  the height of each building in the development and therefore allow a reduction in firefighting shaft provisions.

Callum explained what some of the main challenges of the scheme have been: “We have been providing advice relating to the vastly sloping site, which presents difficulties in categorising the height of each block. The range of levels does however hold great appeal on both an aesthetic level and practical standpoint, allowing access at more than one level for visitors and the emergency services alike.”

In addition to this, the shared stair cores in this scheme presented additional challenges due to the separation required between residential and non-residential areas. Callum added: “Because of this, it was essential that good communication was established with the design team and approvals bodies to ensure that the proposed fire strategy was understood and agreed with all parties.”

External fire spread was carefully considered for this scheme due to the residential nature of the upper levels. By determining the boundary requirements for each block, this allowed the Phase 2 office building to be fitted with a greater amount of glazing to suit the design aspirations.

The OFR team led by Callum was appointed by FaulknerBrowns Architects following the successful delivery of previous projects over the past five years – both with OFR and at a previous consultancy. In addition to the site master planning, concept fire safety support and planning approval support, OFR have provided approvals negotiations support and a detailed fire strategy at Milburngate.


Callum Dyer


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Laura Smith

Principal Fire Engineer

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Ryan McCreadie


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Andrew Basford


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