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Apollo Fire Detectors safeguard London’s iconic Oxo Tower

Published on 22 October 2012
Apollo’s wireless XPander Range didn't require cables in certain areas as a result, there were fewer interruptions to staff and customer
Apollo's wireless Xpander Range was installed at the Oxo Tower

Apollo Fire Detectors are now playing an integral part in keeping an iconic building on London's South Bank safe.

Members of the Apollo Partner Plus initiative, Drax Services, has recently been working with the Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) to develop a design proposed by Environmental Design Associates and install a system for the Oxo Tower Wharf. The Oxo Tower has been a riverside landmark since the 1930s but entered a new lease of life in the 1990s when CSCB refurbished it into the mixed-used development it is today.

Striking design

Originally owned by the Liebig Extract Of Meat Company, the company that made the famous OXO beef cube, its architect, Albert Moore, incorporated the famous OXO moniker as windows on the tower to get around the ban on skyline advertising.

The iconic building, reopened in 1996, is now home to a unique community of design boutiques and studios. In addition to co-operative housing, the building is home to exhibition spaces including the gallery@oxo and Bargehouse and cafes and bars including the famous OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie.

Commercial Director, Alex Cother of Drax explains "The Wharf is one of a kind in London and was expecting an increasing number of visitors during a busy summer for the city as a whole. At any one time there can be up to 500 people in the building and with its concentration of over 20 retail studios as well as specialist shops, we needed a reliable solution that could be installed with minimum disruption.

Minimum Disruption

"The Oxo Tower is open all week so the ageing system it had in place was kept running as we installed the new system. The selection of products, including Apollo's open protocol devices and several Morley-IAS by Honeywell Zx control panels, has allowed us to meet the Client’s specification and to install a ConnecT graphical user interface which will not only announce alarms and produce history reports, but will also improve the administration of the maintenance."

Project Manager, Michael Kalispera adds, "As installers we want to ensure our clients can continue to operate as easily as possible whilst we are carrying out our work. Our main concern on this project was minimising disruption. Installation of hard wired equipment, by its very nature, can be a messy, noisy business and with shop units occupied by high end galleries, hairdressers, designers and applied artists we wanted to work quickly, quietly and cleanly so customers could shop in peace and businesses could continue to run smoothly.

XPander fits the bill

"The obvious solution for us was Apollo’s wireless XPander Range. Although XPander equipment is more expensive than its traditional wired counterparts, this was offset by reduced installation costs. As we didn't require cables in certain areas we could cut our time on site and, as a result, there were fewer interruptions to staff and customer as well as less mess and noise.

"We received valuable support from Apollo during the installation and the technical team visited us at the Tower on a number of occasions. They were able to understand the needs of the project first hand and advise us on the type and quantity of equipment required, carry out signal strength testing of the radio equipment and assess its suitability to the fire alarm infrastructure.

"In this unique environment we would have struggled to find a solution without Apollo's XPander range - the help and support the team provided us with throughout the project was critical to its success."

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