Fire and Life Safety

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GHD’s Fire & Life Safety services use engineering, science, technology and our knowledge and experience to find practical, innovative and efficient solutions to a variety of fire and life safety matters in the built environment.

Every day we work with owners, developers, agencies, fire and building authorities, risk managers, insurers and design professionals to understand and collaboratively integrate fire and life safety objectives into the needs of our clients. Our team of fire engineers, designers and life safety consultants are focused on the challenges of fire and its effect on people, business and the environment. We effectively interpret and apply codes and standards, fire systems, fire engineering and life safety methodologies with a holistic view of fire and life safety and the other protection disciplines for both new and existing buildings, while keeping sustainability, economics and regulatory considerations in mind.


  • Building, Fire and Life Safety Codes Consulting
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), insurer & fire test standards consulting
  • Fire and building authorities permitting and regulatory approvals assistance
  • Fire engineering design briefs and reports
  • Performance-based design and alternative solutions
  • Analysis of fire resistance, compartmentation, active fire systems, egress and fire service interventions
  • Fire and egress computer modeling
  • Fire and life safety master plans
  • Due diligence and loss prevention assessments
  • Dangerous goods and hazardous materials analysis
  • Smoke management consulting
  • Explosion prevention, mitigation and venting
  • Fire sprinklers, standpipes, fire pumps, hydrants, water supply, water spray, foam and other fire extinguishing systems design and consulting
  • Special hazards clean agents, carbon dioxide, dry/wet chemicals and explosion controls
  • Fire detection, alarms, communication and mass notification systems design and consulting

For further information, contact:

Joel Cox
Service Line Leader, Fire & Life Safety – Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East
T: +61 7 4720 0420
E: Joel Cox

Tim DeRuyscher
Service Line Leader, Fire & Life Safety – North America
T: +1 315 314 5642
E: Tim DeRuyscher

chase tower


The owner was faced with required upgrades to the water supply system for the fire standpipe and hose system in this existing 30-story high rise office building and GHD provided detailed design, bid/tender and construction support services.

The challenge was how to incorporate the existing single zone fire system within pressure limitations of compulsory fire standards and required a new high-pressure electric fire pumping system, new primary power switchboards and feeds and an 800 KW emergency power system with retrofit structural reinforcement for the generator location. This occurred in a very limited city site and fire service acceptance testing. A forward looking design incorporated minor changes to allow for future fire sprinkler retrofit water supply feeds – which allowed the owner to meet upcoming code changes on a proactive and cost effective basis.

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Confidential Utility Company Site


When a large electric utility was faced with protection needs of a 2,000 MW major power plant site, a coordinated and exact detailed design of specialized fire systems, controls and emergency action plans were required to limit business interruption losses.

Detailed 3D designs were incorporated for an expansive fire systems upgrade for a large electrical power facility using deluge water spray on exterior transformers, fire pump and water storage tank, facility-wide fire alarm and controls, air aspirating smoke detection, clean agent protection for underfloor control rooms, flame detection and foam suppression systems. Systems construction and acceptance testing and commissioning were accomplished in the operating plant with minimal outages for continued business operations.

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Destiny USA and Palisades Centre


GHD was the primary fire engineering & life safety consultant for two separate 300,000+ m2 (3+ million sf) three and four level covered mall buildings with car parks, entertainment and retail facilities. We provided fire engineering, code consulting and fire systems designs and led a team of design professionals as well as coordinated with architects, structural, and development team on the various fire protection and life safety requirements and alternate solutions for achievement of project desired features. The project included the design of fire sprinkler, standpipe hoses, smoke control, fire alarm/detection and emergency communication systems.

Palisades Centre used a performance based fire engineering design analysis to use exposed structural steel in lieu of traditional passive fire protection for the mall portions of the facility resulting in significant cost and schedule reductions and achieving a unique interior design motif. Destiny USA used a fire engineering analysis to allow 40,000+ m2 open floor plan retail, entertainment and leisure facilities along with staged egress evacuation models for greater than 12,000 occupants on one floor. Both facilities involved close coordination, discussion and approvals from local fire and building authorities.

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Strategic Asset Management Plan and Asset Register, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery


We developed a Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP) and Asset Register for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s (TMAG) buildings and fittings. This work has helped TMAG to effectively maintain and manage its back of house assets, including the extensive front of house public facilities that attract more than 350,000 visitors annually.

A major challenge with TMAG’s facilities is managing the ongoing preservation of heritage-listed buildings and meeting compliance standards for Museums and Art Galleries for environmental conditions and security. The SAMP and Asset Register developed by GHD provides the direction to manage these assets by outlining the current condition, useful life and future demands for any ongoing requirements for artifact capacity. It also provides details for operational and capital expenditure required to manage these assets and growth for the next 15 years.

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White Plains City Center, Trump Tower and Ritz Carlton


GHD performed building and fire code consulting and a fire engineering analysis for a 45,000 m2 (500,00+ sf) retail and entertainment facility, two 35 story and one 15 story residential tower, 40 story high rise office and luxury hotel tower, large 12 level car park with 3,000 m2. (31,000 sf) health club and 4 story hotel.

The code consulting provided specific guidance to the entire design team for rapid design, permitting and construction of this re-build effort of a major downtown facility. Time savings, reduced construction changes and continuous discussions with the building and fire authorities having jurisdiction occurred. Fire engineering analysis of the car park and hotel yielded an alternative solution for fire resistance rated construction requirements.

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Wynyard Walk pedestrian tunnel tender design, Sydney


Wynyard Walk is a pedestrian walkway in the Sydney CBD linking Wynyard Station and the multi-billion dollar Barangaroo waterfront development. The project comprises a pedestrian tunnel (110 meters in length), a multilevel entrance building, underpinning of two large buildings, a pedestrian bridge across Sussex Street and a new public plaza at the corner of Kent and Napoleon Street. GHD was Technical Advisor to Transport for NSW, providing technical review and support across all engineering disciplines for the design and construction phases of the project, including: geotechnical, tunnelling, demolition, structure, building and tunnel services, fire engineering, noise and vibration, and project management, including support for commercial negotiations, as well as Building Code of Australia (BCA) and disability access advice.

The 9 m wide tunnel (initially valued at AUD284M) is at shallow cover within the Triassic Hawkesbury Sandstone. Complex interactions with existing high-rise tower foundations and congested overlying services corridors were a critical aspect of the project.

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Tim DeRuyscher

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Tim has more than 30 years’ experience in the design, management and consulting for large multi-discipline projects and leading extensive fire engineering, life safety and code consulting services. His clients include universities, large retail facilities, medical centers, manufacturing and warehousing plants, utilities and federal and state governments.

Service Line Leader, Fire & Life Safety – North America
T: +1 315 445 2650
E: Tim DeRuyscher


Brad Gaston

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Brad has a proven track record in the health and biomedical sectors. A member of Institution of Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating, Brad has a comprehensive understanding of the services requirements of health and biomedical facilities. He has the ability to identify ‘left field’ opportunities and quickly focus on key issues.

His experience includes working as principal mechanical engineer for projects such as Robina Hospital Expansion and Princess Alexandra Hospital New Emergency Department, and as project director for the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay Oral Health and Cancer Care Centres, Redcliffe Hospital Theatres 3 & 4, and Rural & Remote Infrastructure Rectification Works for 12 Queensland hospitals.

Principal Consultant
T: +61 7 3316 3583
E: Brad Gaston