Apollo Fire Detectors’ SOTERIA® range of detectors has been chosen to protect Ulster Bank’s headquarters in Belfast. Owned by RBS, Ulster Bank Group is a bank in Ireland with a branch network across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The group moved its headquarters to development in Donegall Square East in Belfast in 2000. The building required a life cycle replacement of its existing fire alarm system, which had been in service for 18 years, along with additional detection as necessary to validate L1 coverage.

The Project

The development was created around the façade of an old Methodist church designed by Dublin architect, Isaac Farrell, and consists of a reinforced concrete frame with flat slab floor construction including a double storey basement.

In order to cause the least amount of disruption to staff, the work was all carried out after-hours and at weekends over a 12-week period, while also making sure the system was fully functional and all work areas clean and tidy for staff coming in the next day.

Installation of Fire Alarm Systems

Integrated services supplier Aramark Ireland was selected by Ulster Bank to perform the role of main contractor for the works. Following a tender process, fire alarm specialist Ashdale Engineering Ltd was appointed to replace the existing closed protocol fire alarm system and PAVA system.

Met the customers’ expectations of enhanced detection to minimize the risk of false alarms

Aramark project manager Michael Hyland said: “We were pleased to be able to appoint Ashdale for the key role of fire alarm replacement. Having delivered a similar project with them in 2015 for the same client we had total confidence in their ability. Ashdale performed flawlessly and the project was delivered on time and within budget.” 

In the role as principal contractor Aramark were also responsible for all the health and safety management relating to the project. Some of the work involved detection replacement in the 25-meter-high atrium, working at height over areas of plant, lift shafts and HV switch rooms. H&S manager for Aramark Gary Henderson said: “The project certainly had its challenges but with planning, consultation and coordination with Ashdale and other contractors we were able to deliver the project safely and without incident.” 

Optical smoke detector and heat detectors

Apollo’s SOTERIA® range of devices were chosen for this project. This included the optical smoke detector, heat detectors, multisensors, manual call points and interfaces. Covering a range of areas from open plan offices, carpark, plant rooms, kitchens and canteen, SOTERIA® met the customers’ expectations of enhanced detection to minimize the risk of false alarms and provide a future proof system using next generation technology.

A total of 645 optical detectors, 89 heat detectors, 24 multisensors, 83 manual call points and 78 interfaces combine to provide the ideal solution for Ulster Bank. All controlled by a fire panel from Advanced.

Open protocol and backward compatibly

David Moore, team leader at Ashdale, said: “The decision to select the Apollo SOTERIA® range of device for this project was an easy one. Having used SOTERIA® on a number of other projects we knew the devices were easy to install and commission. They also provide a modern aesthetically pleasing look in a modern office environment.”

Colin Simms, operations director at Ashdale, added: “It was great to be able to continue our long relationship with Apollo on this project. Ashdale have represented Apollo Fire Detectors for over 30 years in Northern Ireland. With over 27 years’ experience with the product myself, it’s great to see how fire detection technology has developed from the days of Series 90 to the highly advanced SOTERIA® devices we have today. The open protocol and backward compatibly yet future proof design, continue to be key factors for us when we make our recommendations to our clients for fire detection.”

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