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Large format retail stores are typically supermarkets with high numbers of people visiting which is a consideration in fire safety. In all these buildings, there is a public shop area and a ‘back of house’ area for storage and food preparation. When designing fire escape routes, clients rarely want to use the back of house as a means of escape. So our challenge is to come up with solutions that can maximise the shop display space without having large escape doors in the middle of the shop.

Retailers don’t want fire protection provisions to restrict the layout of shelves and racking. For example, exit signs must be prominent but they should not obstruct shop displays.

Another consideration particular to retail premises is the high fire load because there are a lot of products and a stock room with large amounts of potentially combustible goods that adds to the challenge.