Warehouses with Increased Fire Resistance

A warehouse building with increased fire resistance now becomes a standard for many developers. When storing sensitive goods with high fire load density, it is crucial to meet precisely defined fire protection parameters.


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“Recently, developers have noticed the growing needs of tenants towards buildings with increased fire resistance, and are inclined to build such facilities, even for speculative purposes”, explains Norbert Kowalczyk, Consultant at JLL.

Fire resistance applies to individual elements of building construction or its structure. Materials of which the warehouse hall is constructed must have certain characteristics, in case they are directly exposed to fire.

Depending on the scope and area being tested, the fire resistance determines the time during which a building element or its structure retains its function. The fire resistance of specific elements of the building is characterized by two or three criteria - fire load bearing R, fire integrity E, fire insulation I - specified in minutes, for example REI120 or EI30.

“Fire resistance requirements for the structure of a building constructed in this standard shall be increased by 1 class, together with an adequate selection of joinery and materials used. It is also necessary to ensure that the sprinkler installation is more efficient and that the building is at a sufficient distance from the adjacent buildings”, says Jan Kaliński, Business Development Director, Hillwood Polska. The developer adopts solutions which guarantee increased fire resistance at its locations.

“We always specify in our information documents what is the required fire load density for warehouse and production facilities, which is the average calorific value of all flammable materials stored in one square metre of the hall. Hillwood buildings are currently designed for fire loads exceeding 4000MJ/sqm”, adds Jan Kaliński, Hillwood Polska.

All new Hillwood projects also have a 6 t/sqm flooring load capacity and LED lighting as a standard. Skylights and smoke dampers account for up to 3% of the roof area.

Buildings Expected by Customers

Hillwood Warehouse Centre in Janki is one of many such facilities. This 33,000 sqm logistics park is located directly at the S8 expressway exit on the Salomea-Wolica section, connecting the Krakow and Katowice routes with the S2 bypass and the entry to the A2 motorway.

Last year Rhenus Data Office Polska leased 3,400 sqm of warehouse space in the Hillwood Janki Sokołów logistics park, where the company's archives are located. This modern logistics centre dedicated to medium and large tenants is located 17 km south of Warsaw city centre.

“The tenant was searching for a park that would offer warehouse space with increased fire resistance exceeding 4000 MJ/sqm, designed to meet the requirements of modern archives. The Sokołów facility fits these conditions perfectly”, notes Norbert Kowalczyk.

In the process of searching for a new, optimal location and negotiating the terms of the agreement, the tenant was represented by JLL advisors.

“The most important thing is to protect our documentation effectively - document security is our top priority. However, most companies do not have the relevant expertise in this area”, says Krzysztof Choma, Member of the Management Board at Rhenus Data Office.

He also adds that certified archives of Rhenus Data Office Poland are located in proven non-flooded areas and meet the most rigorous standards, including ISO 27001 and ISO 9001. This guarantees the highest level of security and comprehensive protection against unauthorized access, theft or damage caused by water and fire.

All buildings in which flammable materials are stored are fully equipped with a fire alarm system. Warehouses are equipped with early fire detection systems.

Not Only Paper

High level of fire resistance is more and more important as tenants are becoming more aware of increasingly restrictive regulations on fire safety and security of stored goods.

Certain groups of goods must be stored in warehouses offering a standard above 4000 MJ/sqm. Apart from paper, these are also chocolate products, which have a high combustion temperature due to their high calorific value. For this reason, the distribution centre for Lindt&Sprüngli in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, managed by ID Logistics, required higher fire protection standards. Its area amounted to approx. 7,600 sqm, including a 7,000 sqm warehouse section.

“ID Logistics was looking for a warehouse that meets the highest storage standards. A2 Warsaw Park offers A-class warehouse space, providing functionality and flexibility in shaping modules. Park jest także doskonale skomunikowany,  położony bowiem tuż obok Węzła Grodzisk Mazowiecki. The proximity of the A2 motorway provides quick access to the capital and convenient connection with other parts of Poland”, comments Ludwika Korzeniowska, Business Development Manager, JLL, who advised ID Logistics in the process of searching for a new location and preparing long-term lease agreement.

Terms of Contracts

The JLL expert also points to another aspect. “Extra adjustments to the building also have higher costs. Such contracts are usually signed over a longer period of time to spread the depreciation of the expenses incurred”, explains Norbert Kowalczyk.

Krzysztof Choma of the Rhenus Data Office confirms this and provides specific figures: – To optimise the storage of documents, a properly prepared place is needed, as well as procedures and employees assigned to handle it. Establishing an archive requires significant costs for its technical equipment and protection. Total value of our investments amounts to PLN 2 million, that is why we decided to extend the warehouse lease period up to 10 years. Such a long-term agreement is beneficial for both parties”, says Choma and provides details of such advantages.

“The lessor gets a reliable tenant and Rhenus Data Office gets a lower lease rate. This is also important because our customers expect a high standard of service and safety at optimal cost level”, concludes the Rhenus Data Office representative.