The bank’s headquarters is housed within a stunning seven story structure which is widely admired for its architectural excellence. The curved outer perimeter of the building houses the offices and in the middle is a large atrium, which maximises the potential for natural daylight, excellent views and ventilation. With over 2,500 workers and visitors coming and going through its doors every day, safety is a paramount concern.
Recognising that its fire detection system was nearly 20 years old and nearing its end of life, the bank decided the time was right to install a new one.
Having already commissioned Harelbeke based VSK Electronics to carry out work on its security and access control infrastructure, the company was invited to tender for the installation and commissioning of the new fire detection system. Commenting on its credentials, Robert Verwee, VSK electronics’ sales and marketing manager, states: “Over the last 30 years we have become one of Belgium’s leading fire detection, access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection and perimeter detection specialists. We provide fully integrated safety solutions for a wide range of clients in a variety of industries and offer a complete service that is based on providing the latest technology.”
Once awarded the contract, VSK Electronics carried out a full assessment of the building and agreed a schedule of work. Detectors from Hochiki Europe would be used throughout and explaining this decision, Sandy Dubaere VSK Electronics’ account manager, says, “We have used Hochiki detection products exclusively for over 20 years. The reasons for this are simple – they are designed to a high standard, are incredibly reliable and, just as importantly, the service and support the company provides is second to none. What’s more, for this project we knew that they would be fully interoperable with panels and associated devices from other manufacturers.”
For a project of this scale excellent planning is crucial to its success and with over 4,600 detectors to remove and replace, all while the building continued to function as normal, Sandy Dubaere and his team had to keep disruption to a minimum. VSK Electronics had two months to complete the job so, not surprisingly, teams of between four and six technicians were deployed almost around the clock, with most of the work in voids and ceilings being completed during the night so as not to affect the bank’s-day-to-day activities.
“We installed the 16 FALCONnet control panels first as this meant that we could then carry out the installation of the detectors in zones, line by line,” explains Sandy Dubaere “There were 74 zones in total and we also had to strategically connect new loops via a dual operation system to ensure complete coverage and protection during the project.”
A total of 4,300 ALG-EN optical smoke sensors, which feature Hochiki Europe’s High Performance Chamber Technology, have been installed. By minimising the differences in sensitivity experienced in flaming and smouldering fires these devices are incredibly responsive and help to reduce the possibility of unwanted alarms. These products are complemented by 350 ACA-E multi-heat sensors and 160 HCP-E call points.
For the Atrium, VSK electronics installed the new Xtralis OSID beam detector. Technologies from both Hochiki and Xtralis were the perfect solution for this modern Office building.
To provide 100 per cent visibility the fire detection network has been linked to the Xtralis M3000 security management system (SMS), which is used to control and monitor the whole fire and security infrastructure. The project then underwent a full test and certification process in accordance with the Belgian Organisation for Security Equipment Certification (BOSEC) and the National Organisation for Fire and Theft Fighting (ANPI) – bodies that VSK Electronics works very closely with on a continual basis.
Since the installation was completed, no unwanted alarms have been reported and the bank employees are delighted with the effectiveness of the new fire detection system.