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The MINIís no minor investment for BMW

Added: (Thu Jun 28 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - BMW Groupís decision to completely refurbish its Oxford plant, in order to accommodate the production systems for the new MINI, resulted in a £100,000 contract to build twelve elevated fire safety tunnels for engineering specialist, Furmanite.

The recently completed tunnels cover areas where the production line breaches separate buildingsí main fire walls. The tunnels are suspended from existing steel work, up to seven metres above the ground, and Furmanite has carried out careful risk assessments to ensure that each one is fully supported.

Each of the tunnels is built from fire retardant materials, predominantly galvanised sheet steel with cementitious in-fill. Fabricated at ground level each basic frame weighed well over one tonne each and provided a significant challenge to technicians on-site. Scissor lifts and hydraulic platforms were used to hoist them into place, they were then fixed in position and cladding is then carried in-situ.

The tunnel structures are up to five metres wide and three metres high, in order to allow cars in production to pass between each buildingís fire rated main wall safely and without the risk of passing fire from one building to the next. The addition of built-in sprinkler systems surpasses legislative requirements and adds further protection.

The six week project was completed at the end of May and the plant is now fully operational.

Furmanite offers a range of passive fire protection products and services and has extensive expertise in the provision of bespoke solutions in order to meet specific customer requirements.

A range of BS476- approved materials, with a fire rating up to four hours, are used. These include penetration and expansion joint seals; cementitious, intumescent and ablative materials; TRV silicone foam, transit blocks; and protective cladding for structural steel. Full wall barriers are tested to Nuclear Electrical Standard ES/TSS EX5 7080 issue 7. Furmanite is one of the few companies to be ISO-9001.

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