Case Study

Providing Passive Fire Protection for Award-Winning Sustainable Campus Building

Early engagement ensured smooth progress on new flagship building for the London School of Economics and Political Science

Exterior View of London School of Economics

Completed in 2019, LSE’s award-winning Centre Building (CBR) creates a new focal point to their Central London campus.  The thirteen-storey building was conceived with a focus on sustainability and received a BREEAM “Outstanding” rating alongside a number of awards including from RIBA and the Civic Trust.

The building will be home to 5 academic departments, sharing 10 floors, with the lower 3 floors allocated to lecture theatres, seminar rooms and a 200-seat auditorium.  Interspersed within the formal rooms are communal shared spaces and the building benefits from a series of roof terraces.

Backing onto the Royal Courts of Justice the construction site was challengingly constrained, leading the contractor to focus on doing as much as possible away from the construction site.  Approximately 60% of the building’s elements were prefabricated, including the extensively exposed steel frame, which was fabricated, and fire protected using FIRETEX FX2003 intumescent coating, by Billington Structures.


Sherwin-Williams’ project team were engaged with Mace from concept to completion, advising on all aspects of producing a safely fire protected and visually pleasing steel structure.  Many of the aspects of construction which can cause complications and hold-ups on site, such as the interfaces between the fire protected steelwork and other construction elements, were considered and mitigated before they became an issue for building progress.

The leading intumescent coating manufacturer’s expert fire and estimating engineers worked from the structural designs to provide detailed information on the appropriate fire protection specifications to satisfy the varied fire protection periods required within the building.

Product application training and ongoing application support during the in-shop and subsequent on-site application work was provided by Sherwin-Williams Technical Services team to assist in ensuring the work was completed to the required standard and in the desired time frame.


Through early and continuing engagement with Sherwin-Williams’ various support functions, Mace and Billington Structures avoided many of the complications and delays which can beset construction projects when the fire protection is considered independently of the project as a whole.  While it is difficult to quantify, it is almost inevitable that the holistic approach taken on this project has saved both time and money for those involved.

The fire protection requirements of 60, 90 and 120 minutes were achieved using the specified products and the steelwork widely displayed throughout the building interior satisfied the designer’s high standards for aesthetic appearance.

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