2020 saw the United Kingdom hit with a worldwide pandemic of a respiratory disease called COVID-19. It saw thousands of people hospitalized and cause a severe strain on the country’s NHS services. The UK government decided to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and assist the under-pressure NHS, by building seven new temporary hospitals, located around the United Kingdom.
The seven hospitals were to re-purpose existing, multi-function public buildings, such as London’s ExCel, Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and Manchester’s Central Convention Complex. The buildings would become temporary hospitals, so as to treat patients suffering from COVID-19 infection.
Manchester Central Convention Complex (MCCC)
The Manchester Central Convention Complex (MCCC) was the chosen building to offer rehabilitation to patients in the North West region. The site was to become a 750-bed hospital complex, staffed by a vast range of consultants, nurses, clinical and non-clinical support workers, and administrators.
The MCCC already had an existing fire alarm system. Due to time constraints, an extension of the current fire alarm system would be the most suitable option. However, the chosen building also carried a Grade II listing, making installation of services a complicated procedure.
Bottleneck on supplies due to lockdown
The UK government issued a nationwide lockdown, seeing the majority of industries close
The United Kingdom was suffering from a worldwide pandemic. The UK government issued a nationwide lockdown, seeing the majority of industries close. It created a bottleneck on materials and supplies across multiple sectors, resulting in more exaggerated issues than usual.
The companies involved needed dedicated labor and supply lines, in order to complete the project, without disrupting the project timeline. The proposed NHS Nightingale Manchester was the closet of the Nightingale hospitals to Protec’s production facility.
Protec supplied fire detection equipment
Protec manufactures all their detection devices and stocks a vast amount of equipment, at any given time. It meant Protec would supply the equipment, materials, and labor to carry out the work in the short timescale required making us the ideal fire alarm contractor for the project.
The Manchester Central Convention Complex’s existing fire alarm system was not a Protec system. However, this wasn’t an issue. The current and new Protec fire alarm systems connect via dedicated fire alarm interfaces.
Fire alarm system
The new Protec fire alarm system offers detection to the newly created ward, shower room and morgue areas. Nightingale Manchester saw the existing open plan area split down into separate wards. These new wards benefited from automatic fire detection, visual alarm devices with manual call points located at nurse bases.
Due to the Manchester Central Convention Complex (MCCC) still living its former life, as the Manchester Central Railway Station, built in 1880, it carries the typical architecture of that time. Its 64-meter wide by 168-meter long, arched roof means regular point detection is not the correct fire detection solution. At the highest point of the arch, the room height is more than 10 meters, which means that point detection would not be suitable, as this would be against BS5839 recommendations and challenging to maintain in the future.
Beam detection, the ideal solution for the MCCC
Beam detection benefits from short installation time over aspiration detection, while still offering ease of maintenance
Only two alternative forms of detection would be suitable in this instance. The choice was between aspirating detection or beam detection. Both solutions would be ideal in this scenario. However, beam detection’s quick installation turnaround would be the perfect solution.
Beam detection benefits from short installation time over aspiration detection, while still offering ease of maintenance. A total of 12 beam detectors covered the vast curved roof, over the new ward areas.
detectors, sounders and call points installed
In addition to the new ward areas, a series of smaller additional spaces were created. These included shower and morgue areas. Due to these areas’ pop-up nature, the quickest and most efficient fire system type for them would be a hybrid approach.
The newly installed field devices consisted of detectors, sounders and manual call points, all wirelessly linking to Protec static translator modules. The translator modules introduce the wireless fire alarm devices to the newly installed Protec hard-wired addressable fire alarm system.
NHS Nightingale Hospital North West
NHS Nightingale Hospital North West assisted in the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, as it was initially intended and was successful. All building contractors, NHS and the Army, making up a 1000 strong team, came together to see the NHS Nightingale Northwest facility completed in a staggering thirteen days.
Due to the project’s temporary nature, the system supplied included a 12-month service and maintenance contract, offering 24/7 service and support to the site. When the site is no longer needed, Protec will help decommission the fire alarm devices on the newly formed areas.