Station Design Conference Preview

Feb. 29, 2024
The 2024 Station Design Conference is a can't-miss event for the members of fire departments and other public safety entities who participate in a new station's design and construction.

If you plan to build a new fire station, headquarters or training center, start your research now.
If you’re thinking about sharing a facility with law enforcement or others, start your research now.
If you are deciding whether to renovate an existing station or to build a new one, start your research now.
If your project is in progress, be certain that you’re on top of the latest trends in operations, 
   health and safety, and NFPA standards. Start your research now.
No matter the status of your project, saving time and money is critical. Start your research now.

For 10 years, the organizers of the Station Design Conference have worked diligently to pull together an unparalleled collection of fire chiefs, project managers and architects who are specialists in fire department facilities, to help you to design and build a most-effective facility that will last for dozens of years. Not to be overlooked is the opportunity to network with peers from across the United States and Canada to share experiences—pros and cons—of projects.

Valuable consultation
On Monday, May 20, the preconference program begins with the ever-popular 1-on-One program. It provides attendees with the opportunity to meet with experienced architects who specialize in fire and other public safety facilities. The team will offer objective reviews of projects, whether in the form of sketches of ideas or blueprints. Previous attendees said the 1-on-One was the most important meeting that they had during the conference. Separate registration is required.

On Monday afternoon, four new preconference programs are open to all conference attendees, who are free to mix and match the programs that they want to attend.

For example, if current or future plans include a memorial area for a station, learn how to save time and money by installing electricity infrastructure, reinforced concrete padding and other requirements during building construction. Creating a memorial after a station is complete adds expenses that could be avoided.

The other preconference programs tackle preserving history in a station, tort liability, and station design elements to enhance recruitment and retention.

On Tuesday, May 21, the general session opens with an overview of the conference’s numerous programs. “Where Do I Start? Planning a Successful Public Safety Facility” will be presented by Ken Newell of Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects. Newell’s thoughts and recommendations always are well received.

Uncompromising prep
The first of the four conference tracks digs deep into the basics of designing a facility and includes 10 sessions over three days.

Tuesday’s topics include “Blueprint for Success: Crafting a Comprehensive Station Program,” “How to Write an RFQ/RFP: Create a Fire Department Wishlist” and “Location, Location, Location: Optimal Station Placement & Site Design.”

The second track of the conference covers the facets of projects that are further along in the process. Among the presentations that will be provided are “Using Location and Feasibility Studies to Strategically Plan for the Future” and “Delivery Methods: Design Build vs. Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) vs. Design-Bid-Build.”

New presentations in the second track include “Response Times & Deployment Models” and “NFPA Standards and Fire Stations.” The new second-track sessions also include “Clean PSB: Improved Health & Wellness Through Fire Station Design and Construction,” “Analyzing Options for Firefighter Training & Recovery Spaces” and “What Is an Owner’s Representative?: Solutions for Success.”

The conference’s third track focuses on law enforcement facilities and includes 10 programs on the latest trends in facility security, specific design considerations for law enforcement facilities and “Gun Smoke! Firing Range Planning 101.” “Police Facilities: A Million and One Little Details” will dive into the smaller costs of design and construction that add up quickly.

The fourth track’s 10 programs will relate to fire and law enforcement facilities. “Navigating Your Plans and Specs” will provide an in-depth explanation of the blueprints and other paperwork (or computer-generated materials) that are provided by the architect and/or construction company. “Unveiling the Keys to Being an Effective Client” will help attendees to build confidence in working with the specialists. Other topics that will be covered in the fourth track include net-zero fire stations, multidepartment facilities and modifying a facility for an emergency operations center.

Tapping into the expertise of architectural firms that specialize in public safety facilities, two panel discussions will include several architects each: “Top Trends in Police Station Designs” (Wednesday, May 22) and “Top Trends in Fire Stations” (Thursday, May 23).

For members & community
Planning designing and building a new fire station or public safety facility can be a career-defining project. Over the past 10 years, significant improvements in sustainability and preventive steps for firefighter health were introduced, but applicable standards and codes continue to be implemented. The Station Design Conference is a can’t-miss opportunity to put yourself in the best position possible to deliver for members and your community.

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