The smoke beam detectors continually correct against building movement and ensure maximum protection at all times
5 Merchant Square is a landmark office building arranged over 15 floors in Paddington’s prestigious waterside setting, with spectacular views over the West End and City. Designed by award-winning international architects Mossession & Partners, it has a dynamic façade and a stunning full height glass atrium.
The unique shape of the atrium creates a flood of natural light throughout the building but this presented challenges when it came to fitting fire detection equipment, as Chris Onions, Project Manager at Leader Systems explains:
“We were tasked to fit out the shell and core of the 15 floor building to give unparalleled fire detection across the whole site. There were a number of features in the building that meant a complete fire detection system – such as that offered by Apollo– was absolutely vital.”
Chris continues, “The first challenge was the Atrium. As a full glass structure, with no access, it was impossible to fit any smoke or multi-sensor detectors at the top. However, because it was 100% glass, the only place a fire could start would be on the ground and so we chose to fit eight fire beam detectors.”
The open protocol, reflective smoke beam detectors incorporate a motorised head able to align itself during commissioning to continually correct against building movement and ensure maximum protection at all times.
“The next challenge came in the loading bay areas. As with any environment like this, the high ceilings allowing for lorry movement meant traditional detectors wouldn’t give the level of protection required, so we used Apollo’s Flame Detector,” Chris said.
Flame Detector is designed to protect enclosed indoor areas where open fires may occur and has a fast acting response to flames up to 25m away. Critically, it is able to discriminate between flames and other, non-threatening sources of radiation.
Leader Systems finished the initial installation in 2010 and then revisited to install detectors for a major retailer’s head offices which occupied the first seven floors of the building. In total, Leader Systems installed more than 4,500 devices and expanded on the fire alarm panels installed during the shell and core fit out. Chris explains: “We were already familiar with the site and its challenges so this installation was more straightforward. We used Discovery devices again and fitted optical devices in the voids above all ceilings.”
In any new build there are numerous demands on the devices and Leader Systems linked to Apollo’s XP95 interfaces with a number of other safety measures. For example, when an alarm is raised, smoke curtains descend in designated locations, lifts return to the ground/first floor and escalators stop.
Chris concludes: “The open protocol approach combined with Apollo detectors allowed us to complete both installations effectively and provide the most suitable level of cover for this striking new building in the heart of London.”