Fire stations of the world: Hicks Gate Fire Station in Bristol, UK
Avon Fire and Rescue Service’s Hicks Gate Fire Station went operational in 2016. The five appliance fire station and training facility adjacent to The Hicks Gate roundabout on Durley Hill on the outskirts of Keynsham, near Bristol, UK, was under construction for 13 months. The new wholetime station is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Located on the Hicks Gate roundabout, the station has excellent access to the A4 and the Avon Ring Road. As well as serving the communities of Keynsham and Brislington, the station’s access to the road networks will ensure support can also be provided into Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath. The station is home to one fire engine, a foam unit, a salvage unit, the Environmental Response Unit and the Red Cross Emergency Response vehicle.
Facilities on the site include a training tower, a hot fire training facility and a confined space training facility. The station has also been built with a number of environmentally friendly features, making it one of the most energy efficient fire stations in the UK.
The station has photovoltaic panels, which it is hoped will generate each year the equivalent of around 50 percent of the total annual electricity usage at the former Brislington Fire Station. The inclusion of intelligent heating and lighting systems and advanced insulation mean Avon Fire and Rescue Service is hopeful the building will reach the highest DEC ‘A’ energy rating.
Hicks Gate Fire Station has been built by Willmott Dixon at a cost of £5,4 million and replaces stations at Keynsham, which was crewed by on-call fire fighters and Brislington, both of which are now closed.
Chief Fire Officer Kevin Pearson said, “I’m delighted the new Hicks Gate Fire Station is operational and now serving the local community. This is the first brand new fire station built in Avon since 1980 so it marks a real milestone. The fire stations at Brislington and Keynsham have served their communities well for many years but the opening of Hicks Gate Fire Station represents a new chapter and the opportunity for us to provide an even better service.
“The station will be crewed around the clock, which means improved response standards for the areas previously served by an on-call station. The new station will also provide a state-of-the-art base and training facilities for our staff, which will ensure the continuation of the excellent service we provide to the community.”
The 1 700m² station is split into two main volumes, consisting of five appliance bays and a two storey accommodation block. The fire station itself is a two storey building, which includes offices, training/teaching rooms, quiet rooms, kitchen, mess area, gym, changing / shower rooms, WCs and functional spaces associated with the operation of the fire station.
Training areas include a confined space training barn, fire house and safe working at height tower.
The building is arranged with service and operation on the ground floor and living spaces on the first floor. This is to reduce the internal response distances in the case of emergency call outs. Offices are positioned at the front of the plan, making the fire fighters visible to the passing public and ensuring a professional public-facing image.
Gym and training facilities are allocated to the rear of the building with the intention of ensuring service areas are out of view and activating the public frontage with interesting uses. Training facilities consist of a smoke house, working at height facilities, confined space training facilities and a vehicle response training and unloading area.
The building responds to its context by splitting the mass of the building as well as using vernacular materials that can be found in agricultural buildings in the area. This consisted of a mix of anthracite corrugated metal cladding with elements of timber helping to articulate the façade. Simplicity was the key to this design with attention given to the detailing of a budget cladding material to give a sophisticated aesthetic.
NORclad European Redwood A Grade timber cladding was used with NORclad MicroShades ‘Brunnea’ treatment, pre-treated before it arrived to site; offering a warranty against rot and fungal decay for 30 years.
The building of Hicks Gate Fire Station is part of the Service’s cost saving ‘Investing for the Future’ programme. The works have already seen the extension of Kingswood Fire Station, which was merged with the nearby Speedwell Fire Station
MEP Engineering Solutions Ltd was appointed by the services contractor to undertake detailed design duties. Disciplines:
Sources: Avon Fire and Rescue Service, AHR, Timber Cladding Solutions, MEP Engineering Solutions