We’re All Fired Up when it Comes to Fire Stations!

We’re All Fired Up when it Comes to Fire Stations!

10th April 2018

The firefighting crew at Leicester Fire Station use ladders as part of the job and have all been trained to do so when undergoing the stringent firefighting training that’s necessary nowadays to become a firefighter here in the UK.  Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service has several fire stations under its command, including Central Fire and Rescue Station at Lancaster Place in Leicester City Centre.  The building was designed by the local Chief Fire Officer, Henry Neal and opened in 1927.  In Victorian times, the newly built fire station was considered one of the most advance fire stations in the UK with its grand buildings and neighbouring purpose-built firefighter’s houses, making sure a crew was on hand in the event of emergencies.

Fast forward nearly a hundred years and in 2010, Leicester Central Fire Station was in sore need of refurbishment to bring it up to par with modern standards.  This was a major refurbishment job which is commemorated on a heritage panel which features images displaying the history of the fire station and the people who have worked there over the years, along with information on the Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE), an international charitable organisation founded by Chief Neal.  In the 1950s, the building also housed the Lancaster Hall Ballroom on its upper floor where local ravers danced the night away to the Johnny Lister Trio on Saturday nights.  The Saturday events were so popular that people queued for tickets early in the day before they ran out!

The Central Fire Station is a Grade 2 listed building and the refurbishment project was completed in 2010.  The project involved modernising the fires station to make it fit for purpose in 21st Century Britain whilst saving and restoring many of its original features.  The refurbishment project was so successful that it was awarded a Restoration Award by the Leicester Civic Society whose members were so impressed by the care and attention to detail that accompanies the restoration of brass fittings, plasterwork, window frames, woodwork, bricks, clocks and even the lawns and fencing, claiming that it is an inspiration for what can be achieved when people care enough about their historic built environment.

The refurbishment work included work on the upper roof of the Central Fire Station building which obviously meant work at height.  This is where Safety Fabrications played a part in the successful and sympathetic refurbishment of the historic building.  Under the fire service’s responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Working at Height Regulations 2005, a safe means of access was required both to and from the place of work, in this case, the roof.  We worked closely with the client to design a companionway ladder in accordance with BS 5395 to ensure that workers had safe access to the roof.  The roof’s complex geometry meant that the ladder had to be supplied in component form so that it could be assembled on site and, due to the aesthetics of the building and the pitch of the roof, the ladder had to achieve minimal visual impact so as not to detract from the fabulous building itself. 

Here at Safety Fabrications we’re proud of our record of working closely with our clients in order to deliver a unique service that is tailored to their individual requirements and we consider ourselves fortunate to be involved in the type of work that ensures our heritage buildings will last for many years to come.