Fire stations of the world: The new Ilam Fire Station and the Ilam Fire Engineering Facility opened in Christchurch, New Zealand
Fire and Emergency New Zealand opens three new facilities in Christchurch. The new Ilam Fire Station and the Ilam Fire Engineering Facility were opened on 30 April 2021 in a unique partnership, which Fire and Emergency Board Chair Paul Swain said reflects the 27-year relationship between Fire and Emergency and the University of Canterbury. "Having both facilities together on a university campus is a first for Australasia," Paul Swain said. "The new fire engineering facility will be a centre of excellence, where Fire and Emergency’s own fire engineers and the university’s fire engineering programme will share resources and collaborate on research and development."
Swain said the new Ilam Fire Station’s more central location on the corner of Creyke Road and Engineering Road, allows the station to serve Christchurch’s western suburbs as well as the University and community. The 16 career fire fighters now based at Ilam were previously at the Harewood Fire Station.
Swain opened the fire engineering facility while the new Ilam Fire Station was officially opened by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon Jan Tinetti. “The new Ilam Fire Station will provide state-of-the-art facilities to support a rapid response from Fire and Emergency to the Ilam community. The new site will also be home to a Fire Engineering Educational Training Facility where fire engineers can work closely with students and experts of the University of Canterbury’s fire engineering programme.” said Fire and Emergency Board Chairman Paul Swain.
The new fire station includes two fire appliance bays, decontamination showers and areas for operational equipment and transitional firefighters, six single bedrooms and PPE lockers. It also includes a kitchen, lounge, gym, meeting rooms, and a secure yard for parking and to wash appliances.
The training facility comprises of an office space for six fire engineers and two hot desks, two training rooms that can cater for 100 people, a kitchen, cafeteria and rooms for meetings, utility and locker amenities and ablutions.
In 2019 Cook Brothers Construction commenced works for the new Ilam Fire Station and Training Centre. Through a series of successfully delivered works, their Canterbury team have a strong relationship with Fire and Emergency NZ and were again honoured to work alongside them for improvements and additions to their network. The Ilam project consisted of two buildings, a 24/7 fully operational fire station responding to any emergencies in the area and a training centre used to educate and train fire engineers.
The site, located near the University of Canterbury, was subject to foot traffic and limited car parking. A thorough traffic management plan was critical to ensure the management of vehicle movements, keeping the community safe at all times. The community was also kept well informed of progress with letter drops if any works were to cause interference.
The IL4 structure consists of a steel skeleton for strength with timber frames attached to carry the linings/cladding. There are five different types of claddings on the building which complement each other nicely.
Sustainability was a key focus throughout the project, with the team ensuring all waste was separated and put into designated skips.
The location of the facilities presents a unique opportunity for Fire and Emergency to share resources and expertise with the University and further strengthen their longstanding relationship. “It means we can deliver fire risk reduction activities to all students, provide fire engineers’ practical experience to mentor the University’s fire engineering students and access the University fire lab and engineering facilities for further research and development,” said Swain.
University of Canterbury (UC) Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey looks forward to welcoming Fire and Emergency into the UC community. “The Fire Station and Fire Engineering Educational Training Facility is a welcome addition to the UC community. Our students and engineering staff will benefit from the hands-on practical learning and knowledge sharing, plus the Ilam community will benefit from reduced response times and increased local resource. UC is the only university in New Zealand to offer qualifications in Fire Engineering. This close relationship with Fire and Emergency will further increase the industry relevance of the UC engineering qualification as students will benefit from embedded practical learnings, and the opportunity to ‘ride along’ and connect with industry professionals,” she said.
Ilam Fire Station and Fire Engineering Educational Training Facility are the next instalment in Fire and Emergency’s Christchurch Rebuild programme. This programme involves the redevelopment of 12 stations to create a modern, unified network of fire stations in the greater Christchurch area. “The significant investment in the new facilities in Ilam is an example of Fire and Emergency’s commitment to ensuring we have the right resources in the right places to continue to keep the New Zealand public safe,” said Fire and Emergency Area Commander Dave Stackhouse.
“Having a station alongside the University is a ground breaking opportunity for us to upskill current and future fire engineers and provide fire safety and risk reduction activities to a student audience which is traditionally hard to reach,” Commander Stackhouse said.
Sources: Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Cook Brothers Construction