The Christie Paterson Cancer Research Centre

Performance assessment of the horizontal and vertical circulation of the new building


We were commissioned by BDP Architects to evaluate the proposed design facilities in relation to pedestrian movement within a new office and laboratory building, known as the Paterson Building, and part of Christie Hospital complex. The primary project objectives were to: (1) Assess the capacities of critical points of the vertical and horizontal circulation elements of the design (e.g., whether queuing for security gates or lifts compromises circulation); and (2) Validate the design to ensure it provides the required capacities at the desired level of service (i.e. comfort) while being efficient in use of space.


BDP Architects


Manchester, UK


February 2020  – April 2020


We undertook a detailed assessment of the horizontal and vertical circulation, including lifts. Our analysis was both quantitative and qualitative.

Vertical Circulation: We assessed the proposed vertical circulation in accordance with guidelines set out in CIBSE Guide D: Transportation Systems in Buildings for an office environment, which were refined based on lessons learnt from previous healthcare work and understanding of the anticipated staff movements in the building.

We used our in-house lift modelling spreadsheet tool to gain insights into the performance of the two primary lift banks for staff circulation. Model outputs directly correlate to the performance indicators specified in CIBSE (e.g., maximum waiting time and time required to process the forecasted demand), allowing for simpler performance checks.

Additionally, the model records the size of the queues during the peak periods, which we compared with the available waiting space to ensure the lift lobbies can operate at a comfortable level of service.

Horizontal Circulation: To assess the capacity of constraining elements on the ground floor, we identified the possible throughput of each element and compared this with the assumed peak demand levels. This provided assurances that the revolving doors at the main entrance and the security gates to access most of the building had sufficient capacity for the number of staff predicted to be using them.

We undertook a qualitative review of each level, with a focus on the lobby area given the high footfall anticipated in this location. The assessment involved considering the circulation routes and highlighting any areas where the proposed design may impede the natural staff movement, or a potential lack of visibility may cause conflicting movements.

Our analysis provided assurance that the design offers adequate capacity to meet the estimated occupancy levels and delivered an efficient and logical circulation system on each level.


We highlighted possible challenges that the building may experience (e.g., an out of service lift or if a greater proportion of staff than predicted use a particular bank of lifts) and developed measures to mitigate their impact on operation.


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