Group SCS takes pride in being a part of the Friars Walk development

Project title: Friars Walk

Location: Newport, South Wales

Client: Whitehead Building Services

Service: Smoke Control

Project Background

Located right in the centre of Newport, South Wales, Friars Walk is 390,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space which has completely transformed the heart of the city.
Group SCS was delighted to be involved with this prestigious development, which was opened to much public acclaim on schedule on November 12, 2015. Friars Walk boasts a fantastic selection of major fashion brands, an eight-screen cinema and a choice of top restaurants. The site was developed by Queensberry Real Estate in partnership with Newport City Council.

Photo © Jaggery (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The Project

The Client
Group SCS was brought in at an early stage at the start of 2015 by Whitehead Building Services. The main client was Queensberry Real Estate with Bowmer & Kirkland as main contractor and Whitehead Building Services as M&E contractor.
Our Involvement
Our remit was to develop the design of smoke ventilation and vehicle pollution control to the service yard, the 350-space underground car park and seven firefighting stairs cores – including the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling.

Our Solution


Car park and service yard/road – protected for vehicle pollution (general day-to-day ventilation of harmful vehicle exhaust fumes). Constant monitoring of the NOx and CO will determine the required extract duty to limit the concentration levels. In the event of a fire being detected the system would immediately initiate fire mode, this is to extract at full duty to assist firefighters in clearing the car park of smoke.


Firefighting protected stair/lobby – mechanical extract systems to the lobbies to protect the various firefighting stairs. UniForce mechanical extract is a fire-engineered smoke control solution designed to extract smoke from the lobbies while fresh air is drawn in from the staircase to maintain suitable conditions both for means of escape and firefighting. Extract is provided by run and standby Fläkt Woods axial flow fan units mounted on the roof and inlet air is via a roof-mounted stairwell ventilator. The pressures between the stairs and lobbies are constantly monitored to prevent excess depressurisation. A constructed shaft connects each lobby and air is extracted from the lobby through a fire-rated damper. The system operates automatically on detection of smoke from an addressable control system with manual overrides for firefighting and maintenance use.

One of the challenges that came up was to develop a workable solution with regards the main extract plant arrangements for both the service yard and car park, taking into consideration the strict noise levels and requirement for large extract plant within a limited plant footprint. Our solution was to manufacture off-site custom bespoke discharge and attenuation arrangements, which allowed key completion dates to be met.
We were always aware of the importance of the shopping centre opening on the correct day and ensured our deadlines were met. Just before the shopping centre opened, we carried out successful smoke tests to the satisfaction of the professional team including Newport Council, Queensberry Real Estate and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
We worked closely with Whitehead Building Services to ensure all required interfaces with other trades were considered and worked effectively.



Manufacture of off-site custom bespoke discharge and attenuation arrangements allowed key completion dates to be met.

Carried out successful smoke tests to the satisfaction of the professional team.

Nigel Williams, Commercial Director at Whitehead Building Services:
“We have a good working relationship with Group SCS built up over a number of years. We’ve engaged their services on a number of high-profile, major projects along with works of a smaller scale and each time they’ve carried out their obligations in a professional, timely manner whilst always being extremely approachable and easy to deal with. “We have a large supply chain network ranging from large, multi-national PLCs to smaller, owner-managed local companies and in a similar manner to Whitehead, Group SCS tend to offer the benefits of a market-leader whilst retaining the more personalised profile of a smaller, ‘local’ company. This appeals to a business such as ours a great deal. “We’re happy to engage the services of Group SCS on any size and scope of project due to the fact that their qualities and business principles appear to run parallel to those of our own in striving to offer a high-end service with a personal level of interaction. “We’ve not really experienced too many problems but generally they’re dealt with promptly. It also helps knowing that we can easily contact any of the Senior Management should something escalate for any reason – however this has been a rarity in our experience with Group SCS."
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