Fire Safety Standards
Products for electrical systems that are installed into modern, complex buildings have to be fit-for-purpose for today’s challenging demands. With the background of numerous incidents still being felt by the fire performance industry, how is it to set the benchmarks for the future to make sure there is never another Lakanal House or another Grenfell? The long-term answer is for clearer guidance and legislation, if necessary, to enable the whole supply chain to make decisions which are com...
Each spring, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) honors a firefighter who has provided a lifetime of service, an outstanding junior firefighter, and an exemplary junior firefighter program. With the addition of a new award, the NVFC will also honor a firefighter who has demonstrated leadership in the area of firefighter health and wellness. All recipients receive a personalized award and national recognition. The nomination period for the NVFC’s four annual awards is now open, with...
The 2018 Fire Industry Association Annual General Meeting (AGM) and lunch was again, one of the standout industry events of the year bringing together more than 300 industry leaders. The FIA AGM provides the ideal opportunity to highlight the achievements of the association over the last year and signal our priorities for the future. Our members mingle with industry colleagues, entertain prospective customers and catch up with the FIA Secretariat team. This year Ellie Taylor provided the after-...
The global market for Passive Fire Protection (PFP) Materials is estimated to reach US$ 30.2 billion by 2025. Growth in the market will be driven by the growing number of fire accidents, stringent fire safety regulations, and technological advances and product innovations. The growing number of fire accidents worldwide in recent years has led to the implementation of increasingly stringent regulations related to fire safety across the globe. In this background, demand for fire management produc...
Leading lights in fire safety have been appointed by the International Fire Safety Standards Coalition [IFSS] to help improve building safety worldwide. A core group of twenty-two leading fire safety experts was appointed to the coalition’s standards setting committee that will work to develop landmark industry standards for fire safety in buildings. Overcoming Risk To Public Safety Past-president of the Association for Project Safety (APS) Bobby Chakravarthy – who is a founder mem...
The Middle East’s US$1.9 billion fire safety systems and equipment market will see solid growth over the next six years, with new government regulations around life safety and fire protection along with large-scale infrastructure investment among the key market drivers. A November 2018 report by analysts 6Wresearch estimates the Middle East market for firefighting systems, fire detection & alarm systems, and emergency exit & lighting, will be worth US$3 billion by 2024, growing at...
Euralarm has welcomed its newest Member Eaton Electrical Products Ltd. The company will join the Fire Section of Euralarm, which activities cover detection, notification and evacuation in case of fire. Eaton Electrical Products will now benefit from Euralarm’s services in terms of representation towards European Institutions and standardization organisations, the monitoring of relevant legislative and standardization issues, and will have access to its extended network of national associations and major companies in the fire safety and security sector. Eaton Electrical Products As a global power management company, Eaton enables customers to manage the power needed for buildings, aircraft, trucks, cars, machinery and businesses. Eaton’s innovative technologies help customers manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more reliably, efficiently, safely and sustainably. The products of Eaton Electrical Products help detect, notify, evacuate and protect against a range of threats in complex and challenging environments The products of Eaton Electrical Products help detect, notify, evacuate and protect against a range of threats in today’s most complex and challenging environments. Among the many products that the company provides are fire alarm devices, fire detection systems, public address and voice alarm systems as well as security systems and intruder alarms. Insight In European Markets One of Euralarm’s objectives is to provide an open, transparent and equal platform for Members of all sizes, including by monitoring trends in European and global markets, informing Members and promoting action where appropriate. Additionally, Euralarm uses professional advocacy, when appropriate, to achieve its goals, including building close relations and constructive dialogue with related industries, associations, standardization, testing and certification bodies, and political authorities (including relevant directorates-general of the European Commission). Companies that join Euralarm gain expertise into ‘political’ issues impacting the Industry and its markets and have an opportunity to influence the Industry by having a say directly into Brussels.
Hi-line Industries Ltd. has moved into a new, larger production facility in order to meet the growing demand for its range of highly efficient compressed air purification equipment. The new premises is three times the size of the company’s previous headquarters, ensuring that Hi-line will continue meeting the needs of customers in sectors such as food, beverage, medical, general engineering, dairy, automotive and laser cutting. Hi-line designs, manufactures, supplies and installs a broad range of energy-efficient compressed air equipment that includes air dryers, nitrogen/oxygen generators, compressed air filtration equipment, condensate management/drains and service kits. With demand for the company’s innovative, UK-made products continuing to grow, Hi-line sought to invest in its future by relocating to a facility that would not only allow existing production to expand but facilitate a forthcoming extension to its innovative product range. Large Trade Counter The new facility is located centrally in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, with excellent access to the A38, A50, M1 and wider UK motorway network The new facility is located centrally in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, with excellent access to the A38, A50, M1 and wider UK motorway network. An immediate benefit of the move is that lead-times will be further reduced on Hi-line’s range of dryer and generator products. In addition, the relocation has created many more jobs locally and allowed the company to take on twice as many apprentices this year. Importantly, there’s also a large trade counter and customer pick-up centre at the new site, ensuring that Hi-line continues its customer-centric focus. The significant investment in new premises has been supported by various grants for energy efficiency and investing in people and the original Hi-line factory will be used for additional warehousing for refrigeration air dryers. Ongoing Investments Hi-line is acknowledged as Britain’s largest stockist of a broad range of air treatment ancillaries, and the largest supplier of refrigeration air dryers, as distributed via its established network of compressed air agents. The company is also a member of the British Compressed Air Society, and proud to be part of the ‘Made in Britain’ campaign promoting the best of British manufacturing. Utilising the latest 3D CAD software, combined with ongoing investments in personnel, training and development, Hi-line has the best technology and expertise to undertake the development of innovative products and remain at the forefront of the industry. All of the ISO9001-accredited company’s products are designed and built to the highest standards of quality by experienced and qualified engineers. This ethos is reflected in Hi-line’s five-year warranty, ensuring long-term piece of mind for customers. Hi-line can offer both a standard and bespoke range of energy-efficient products built to suit specific applications.
On March 27-28, 2019, Leverage International will be holding PROTECT 2019, an International Conference and Exhibition on Security and Safety. This will be at the New World Makati Hotel in Manila, Philippines. Its theme is ‘Business Resiliency: The Next Evolutionary Phase of Business Continuity’. Now going on its 14th edition, Protect has proved to be an effective platform and a valuable source of business and information sharing between the security industry, the government and the private sector. Organized in 2005 in partnership with the Anti-Terrorism Council, PROTECT was initially devoted to overcoming terrorist threats. Global Economic Crisis PROTECT 2019, strong focus will be on cyber security, resiliency for facing natural disasters, internet of things (IOT), information warfare, terrorism and CBRN Over the years, focus of the annual gathering expanded to cover other prevailing serious threats from global economic crisis, natural disasters, pandemics, cybercrimes and other physical threats that affect business. For PROTECT 2019, strong focus will be on cyber security, resiliency for facing natural disasters, internet of things (IOT), information warfare, terrorism and CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear). PROTECT consists of a select exhibition, a business conference, technical presentations, new product demos and networking events. It is attended by Decision Makers and CEOs, Senior Officials of government agencies, Security Specialists and Consultants, IT and Cyber Security Professionals, Strategic Planners, Risk Managers, Terrorism Experts, Construction Managers, Architects, Systems Integrators, Operators of Critical Infrastructures, Academics, and everyone concerned with security and safety. Social Networking Cocktail PROTECT 2019 conference series on ‘Doing Business Amidst New Threats’ will focus on Business Resiliency: The Next Evolutionary Phase of Business Continuity. It has 6 main sessions: The Evolving Security Landscape Sectoral Break-out Sessions: Panel Discussions Plenary session: Summary Presentations by Panel Session Facilitators Future Instability Challenges Future Business Opportunities Technology Presentations The agenda includes also a Speed Meet Up Session on the first day where each delegate gets to meet a representative from each of the government agencies concerned with security and safety. This will be followed by a Social Networking Cocktail with senior government officials and diplomats as special guests. PROTECT 2019 will be featuring new technological products in the exhibition to complement the conference.
In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, Allstate has released Escape Route, a new Allstate Mobile app feature, to help families create and practice fire escape plans using augmented reality (AR). According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to a home fire every 90 seconds. Yet only one- third of American households have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan: something Allstate hopes to change through this new smartphone experience. Real-World Problems Allstate Mobile's Escape Route helps customers create a plan to protect themselves and their families when disaster strikes. Escape Route uses a mobile phone camera to add a virtual image to real-life surroundings. Users mark a starting point, trace a route and designate an exit point at least 50 feet away from their home. The app then overlays the route on users' real-life surroundings. Families can review and access their virtual plan at any time. Protecting our customers is our business, so we're excited to share this new innovation using augmented reality to help families "We constantly innovate and look at how new technologies can be applied to real-world problems," said Allstate's Director of Mobility Michael Antognoli, "Protecting our customers is our business, so we're excited to share this new innovation using augmented reality to help families plan an emergency escape route using the Allstate Mobile app." Fire Safety Awareness Escape Route builds on Allstate's commitment to customer safety and is the latest of the company's fire safety initiatives. Escape Route is user-friendly, so kids and parents can create their virtual plan together. The app also builds family fire safety awareness by offering fire safety tips. Allstate is launching Escape Route to support 2018 Fire Prevention Week, a national awareness week from October 7 through October 13 that aims to educate Americans about steps to take to reduce the likelihood of having a fire––and how to escape safely in the event of one. How to Access Escape Route: Escape Route is available in the Allstate Mobile app for iPhone users running iOS 11.3 or above. Allstate policy owners must login to Allstate Mobile to access the Escape Route experience. Allstate Mobile is available for free in the iTunes App Store.
Ramtech Electronics, an industry innovator in wireless technology solutions, launches WES3 – a new enhanced fire alarm system that has new benefits beyond its current WES+ range. Fully compliant with EN-54 and developed in conjunction with construction companies, WES3 offers several new features that mean firms maximize site safety, helping to safeguard their employees as well as important assets. The new headline feature is the medical alert, allowing someone the ability to easily raise a medical emergency from any call point without having to cause a complete site evacuation. Pre-alarm function Also included is the new optional inspection delay, which allows site managers the time to establish if a false alarm has been raised. This feature can also be used to organise a staged evacuation process. Another positive feature for site managers is the pre-alarm function, allowing the ability to turn off the alarm sounder on other stations and enable a lower level alert without triggering a full evacuation. WES3’s wireless technology not only allows units to be moved as a project evolves, but the system features enhance the safety" A full isolation test mode is included, which means individual call points can be tested without the need for a full system alarm. Paul Henson, Sales and Marketing Director at Ramtech Electronics, comments: “High profile fires on construction and renovation sites have never been more talked about in the media, prompting more and more companies to really analyze their fire prevention equipment. WES3’s wireless technology not only allows units to be moved as a project evolves, but the system features enhance the safety of site staff, visitors and the property asset itself.” Key safety standards “With the addition of a stand-alone medical alert on each call point and various features to allow site managers the ability to truly manage activity associated with the system, it is much more than a wireless fire alarm. When used in conjunction with our cloud-based monitoring platform WES REACT, WES3 becomes a total fire safety solution”, Henson concludes. A range of units make up the system, including call points, interface, heat detector, dust resistant smoke detector, link and the all-important base station. The system is compliant with key safety standards, including HSG168, the Structural Timber Association Guidelines, and the Fire Protection Association Joint Code of Practice and it is installable to BS5839.
The Middle East’s outstanding security and fire safety projects and products will share the spotlight next week, when they contest for the ultimate accolade at the region’s only awards ceremony dedicated to excellence in commercial security and fire protection. A stellar shortlist of 55 finalists from 150 entries has been selected for the inaugural Intersec Security, Safety and Fire Protection Middle East Awards, with the winners across 10 categories to be celebrated during a gala dinner on the 20th September 2018 at Dubai’s Habtoor Palace. Hotly contested fire categories include the Fire Protection Project of the Year, where the Dubai Frame, the Dubai Mall Fashion Avenue Expansion, and Route 2020 Metro Rail are among the five finalists. Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Gate, Sheikh Zayed Sports City Stadium, and King Abdullah Economic City Hijaz in Saudi Arabia are the three finalists making the cut in the Security Public Assembly Project of the Year. It’s important to acknowledge the hard work and efforts that industry stakeholders undertake to ensure security and fire safety standards are maintained across the Middle East" The 1st Intersec Awards are organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, which also organises Intersec, the world’s largest security, safety, and fire protection trade fair which takes place every year and returns for its 21st edition in January 2019 in Dubai. Recognizing the work of security professionals Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said: “The Intersec Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate the great work that security and fire protection-related professionals are contributing to keep our societies safe and secure, from manufacturers, authorities, consultants, and contractors, to the end-users and clients. “It’s important to acknowledge the hard work and efforts that industry stakeholders undertake to ensure security and fire safety standards are maintained across the Middle East, and we’re delighted with the industry response to these inaugural awards. “There have been exceptional examples of industry innovation in recent years, not only in functionality, but in other important areas such as sustainability, reusability, and aesthetics. The Intersec Awards brings the very best of these examples of industry best-practise, celebrated among industry peers and the public,” Pauwels added. Six security and four fire categories The Intersec Awards are good for the fire protection and security industries in general and particularly in the Middle East because they show the maturity that the industry has now reached in the region" The 1st Intersec Awards comprise six security categories (three project and three product categories), and four fire categories (one project and three product), with a 12-strong independent judging panel overseeing the shortlist and ultimately deciding the overall winners. Terry Johnson, Senior Fire Service Advisor at the Dubai Civil Defence, who was among the seven judges adjudicating the fire categories, said: “The Intersec Awards are good for the fire protection and security industries in general and in the Middle East in particular because they show the maturity that the industry has now reached in the region. “They also show how the industry has gained in confidence in its actual abilities over the past years, and there’s a shared benefit from all participating companies and stakeholders.” Driving innovation and improvements John Cowling, Director of AcuTech Consulting Group in the Middle East, who was part of the Security Categories judging panel, added: “Initiatives such as the Intersec Awards are beneficial because they drive innovation and improvements, thus motivating the regional security and fire safety industries to higher achievements. Security should be an enabler, and not prohibit operations, so we take a holistic approach to those that add value, and show new innovative designs" “They keep industry standards high because they promote competition, showing suppliers, manufacturers, as well as consultants that striving for continuous improvement adds value to the industry. “As judges, what we’re looking for is design, innovation and what adds value to businesses. Security should be an enabler, and not prohibit operations, so we take a holistic approach to those that add value, and show new innovative designs, which range from low tech and simplistic right through to the very high tech.” Seven key show sections at Intersec 2019 More than 250 industry professionals are expected to attend the inaugural Intersec Security, Safety and Fire Protection Middle East Awards in Dubai, which is partnered with Axis Communications as Platinum Sponsor, and ATEÏS as Categories Sponsor. The 21st edition of Intersec will take place from 20-22 January 2019 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, featuring more than 1,300 exhibitors from 59 countries, and covering the seven key show sections of commercial security, fire & rescue, homeland security & policing, physical & perimeter security, safety & health, cyber security, and smart home & building automation.
The continuity of power in the event of a real fire has never been more important as modern buildings become more complex and the need for the highest quality of products comes under the spotlight. With power for lighting and fire alarms, the fire and rescue services can use the intelligence gathered to evacuate people quickly, confident that they have found all the people in the building. Without power, they are literally scrambling in the dark without good information upon which to make their rescue. The continuity of power will also ensure that sprinkler or water mist systems can continue to operate where they exist. In commercial buildings, there may also be smoke evacuation fans which help to enable safe evacuation. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services Appropriate Cabling At the start of a project, the most appropriate cabling should be specified as part of the electrical system rather than at the end of a project. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services across individual areas and floors. At the same time, there are new designs, materials and products continually coming on to the market for major projects, and with it an increasing need for the various parties involved to work closely together to make sure they get it right. There has been an increasing incidence of non-approved cables on the market and unfortunately it is not until cables have been installed, tested or used that issues become clear. For installers, or those procuring cables, there is a need to check the cable when it arrives to make sure it is exactly what was specified. Should there be a problem, have it checked and seek good advice. Keep records of purchase, including reel flanges with batch markings and a sample of the cable markings. Send lengths for testing and then decide on the most appropriate course of action. Choice of cabling is crucial at the start of major projects as issues may occur later Meeting Rigorous Third-Party Tests For some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios. These include environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes where older people and children move about. Specifiers looking at new large public sector projects such as hospitals should refer to BS 8519 for the electrical supply, and the most relevant cabling system. It is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests This Code of Practice specifies that the type of system selected during the design phase ‘should be derived from a detailed process of consultation with the relevant authorities’ and that ‘the design should be agreed at an early stage.’ The decision-making process for cable selection relevant for life safety and firefighting systems is clearly defined here. This covers three categories ranging from 30 minutes to 120 minutes fire survival time. Categories 1 and 2 cover means of escape for 30 minutes and then 60 minutes respectively, and these cables are tested in accordance with the relevant codes. Category 3 for firefighting to 120 minutes refers to power and control cables meeting the 120-minute test according to the relevant standards. It should be emphasised that only Mineral Insulated Cable (MIC) or a cable meeting the requirements of BS7846 F120 will meet this criteria. For clarity, BS 8519 does not take precedence over BS 5839 for alarm systems and BS 5266 for emergency lighting. In essence, choosing the most relevant cabling and electrical accessories which will continue to operate under fire conditions has become critical. Application Of Medium Voltage Cables As the incidence of non-approved cables continues then so the application of Medium Voltage (MV) cables into high-risk environments including hospitals, schools, care homes, industrial sites and sub-stations serving infrastructure sites also becomes critical. In the context off fire engineering, it is important to select the relevant MV Cables in these areas. Adhering to the latest regulations is no longer enough - there needs to be a risk assessment. In order to do this effectively, it is important to ask – are the fire safety procedures up to date? All AEI MV cables are third party tested and approved by BASEC. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards The whole supply chain needs to take consideration of these areas where vulnerable people often move about such as children or elderly people in hospitals or care homes. The fire and rescue services may need a little more time than a conventional building including reading complex fire alarm information to ensure a safe rescue in the event of a real fire. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards. This is due to ageing structures, high volume of combustible materials, and changing use in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths programmes where more combustible and flammable liquids are being used. Concerns have been raised by architects and and designers about fire protection regimes Sufficient Fire Risk Assessment Recent research by the Fire Brigades Union, for example, showed that a key focus for all educational institutions must be ensuring that there is an effective fire risk management process in place, delivered by suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out by an expert in the field. The best practice under Business Information Modelling (BIM) and all best practice of fire safety engineering methods should be observed in conjunction with project partners. There have been concerns over a number of years around the fire protection regime for new buildings expressed by the architects and designers themselves. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) points to the delays to Approved Document B with regard to the relationship of Building Regulations to changing design and construction. AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service RIBA says the virtual disappearance of the role of the clerk of works or site architect and the loss of independent oversight of construction and workmanship on behalf of the client is a further issue for concern. In essence, RIBA believes that future proposals for the fire safety regulatory regime should be informed by the specialist fire safety expertise of relevant professional organisations and groups, and also take full account of this wider set of construction industry AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service with the support of its parent company Ducab based in Dubai, with the design, manufacture and supply of MIC, Firetec Enhanced or Firetec Power depending on specific needs. The choice of cabling and accessories should not be underestimated at the earliest opportunity to ensure the fire and rescue services are given every chance of success in rescuing people and saving property.
The era of “smart buildings” is here, bringing new opportunities for significant gains in efficiency, safety and environmental protection. In an interview, Rodger Reiswig, director of industry relations at Johnson Controls Global Fire Protection Products, offers his insights into the impact of smart buildings on fire detection and what it means for organisations planning new facilities. Q: How do you define smart buildings? The term “smart buildings” means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about the Green Initiative. Is the building able to sustain itself or reduce its carbon footprint? Can they reuse some of their water or generate electricity from onsite solar cells or wind turbines? Another definition of “smart buildings” is based on sensors. Is the building smart enough to know that, if I’m the first person there in the morning and I swipe my card, it should switch the HVAC system into occupied mode? Can it start to turn the lights on? Can it adjust the window shades to allow the sun to come in? Can it call the elevator down for me because it knows that I’m in the lobby and I’m going to the tenth floor? It’s all about how the systems integrate with one another, not just providing information to each other, but also interacting with one another, causing things to happen from one system to another. Q: How close are we to the vision of an integrated intelligent building where all the systems work together? We’ve already been doing some integration for a few years now with things like HVAC and lighting. Now we’re seeing tighter integration where, for example, we can use the position of the sun to get the best impact of sunlight to start to heat the building in the winter. One of the biggest challenges that we see in the smart building environment is protocols or topologies for how one system talks to another. The fire alarm system uses a certain protocol or language. The HVAC system uses another protocol or language, and so on. Creating an environment where systems can talk to one another and not just send, but also receive information – that’s the difficult part. Everybody can send information out. It’s easy for me to tell you what is happening in a system. But for you to tell me what’s happening in your system and then expect me to do something with that information, that’s when it gets a little bit harder. Q: What makes system-to-system communication challenging? Because of the critical role they play in protecting lives and property, life safety systems require a level of reliability and resilience far beyond that of other building systems or networks. Therefore, we have to be extremely careful about how we allow information from other systems to come into the life safety system, in case that information should affect the performance of the system. In addition, the design and specification of life safety systems is guided via three different means: building codes, standards and listings. Each of those means is controlled by different organisations. Any proposed changes to life safety networks have to pass muster with those entities, and that takes time, effort and consensus-building. When we’re talking specifically about system-to-system communication, the listing entities, organisations like UL and FM Global, regulate how much information can come into any life safety system. The listing documents require that there be some type of a barrier or gateway to prevent unauthorised or corrupted information from coming into a fire alarm system, causing harm or causing it to lock up. Life safety systems require a level of reliability and resilience far beyond that of other building systems or networks We will see all building technologies become more integrated over time as we work through the different entities and people begin to realise the benefits of improved safety, lower environmental impact, and reduced costs. Q: How will fire detection systems benefit from other sensor information available in a building? One of the things being explored is occupancy sensors that tell where people are located in a building. Some type of telemetry could be used to understand where people are concentrated in a facility and, based on that, make the fire alarm system more or less sensitive to smoke. If a lot of people are congregating in one area, there might be more activity and more dust being stirred up. You could use that information to set different alarm parameters compared to, for example, an empty building with no significant air movement. We see that type of operation happening. Knowing how many people are in a building and where they are located is also a critically valuable piece of information for first responders. Here’s another example: let’s say we have a big parking garage next to a mall. Cars come in, and perhaps some people leave their cars running, or the cars aren’t operating as efficiently as they should be. You could have carbon monoxide detectors and occupancy sensors in the garage, and when the garage becomes crowded and carbon monoxide levels start to rise a bit, you could tell the fire alarm system not to go into alarm, but instead to turn fans on to get some fresh air moving throughout the building. It’s performing a life safety function, but at a non-emergency level. Q: Are you involved in any cross-industry standard-setting organisations to enable better communication among building systems? On an industry level, Johnson Controls is very active in the development of codes and standards. We have people who sit on committees for things like healthcare occupancy standards. We have engineers that contribute to product listing documents. We have people who participate in committees that determine how products should be installed and maintained.Fire alarm systems could be used to detect and solve non-emergencies before they become threats We’re even involved with groups, like the National Disabilities Rights Network, that advocate for laws that promote equal access and notification of life safety events. The list goes on. It’s a common protocol that allows all types of systems to get on the same communication platform and be able to send and possibly receive information, depending on the product and the type of system it is.Just to give you an example, there’s a standard called BACnet, Building Automation Control Network, which was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. BACnet is based on entities, so within their system, they need to define what each entity is. What is a thermostat? What is a variable air box? What is a lighting controller? What is a fire alarm smoke detector? We work closely with this organisation to create entities that can reside on their infrastructure so that, for example, the lightning system recognises what a smoke detector is when they send that entity out to the network. It’s one of the most important methods we are using to communicate among dissimilar systems. Integrated systems mean elevators could be used to evacuate people in an emergency We’re working on two fronts: internally and industry-wide. We’re developing third-party interfaces that enable an outside entity to sign a non-disclosure form and get the keys to the kingdom, if you will, on our protocols for how our systems operate – the data stream that we can send out and receive back – allowing that third-party developer to create some of these interfaces themselves. That has been one of our challenges, because we have always said that this is a fire alarm system, and if you want that type of an interface, we need to write it and get it listed. We had to step back and say, what if we developed a barrier gateway and allowed somebody else to develop the protocol and, done properly, became able to receive and send information to the fire alarm system? It’s like what Apple does with apps. We are going down that road with this third-party interface gateway. Q: Have these developments changed how you’re planning for the future development of fire detection systems? Yes, they have. We are looking at how we can use these systems strategically to make life safety systems better. And life safety is becoming more nuanced, proactive and comprehensive. Can I communicate and use this information to unlock the door so people have a clear egress? Can I start to use the elevators to evacuate people during an emergency? We’ve been told traditionally to use the stairwell and not the elevator in the event of a fire. But it takes a person about a minute a floor to get out. That’s a problem if you’re in an 80-story building. You have elevators sitting there. Is there something we could do to allow these elevators to be used to evacuate people? The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has been working hard on developing the language and requirements to do that. It’s just one example of how having systems integrated and talking to each other allows us to create smarter solutions that can help make facilities safer. Q: What advice would you give to building owners, architects, designers or contractors to help them start planning today for the future of smart buildings? The most important thing is to build awareness. The average building owner doesn’t know that a lot of this technology even exists. We need to inform them that there are options they can ask about. One of my recommendations would be to ask your design engineer. As you discuss the kind of windows you want, the kind of flooring and lighting and so on, ask how these systems could integrate together and what the benefits of integration would be. The bigger your facility, the greater the benefits of integrating these systems. Another resource that people don’t use often enough is the AHJs, the authorities having jurisdiction. That’s the local fire marshal, the fire chief, the local first responders. Don’t be afraid to sit down with a fire marshal, tell them what kind of building you’re putting in, and ask them what would help them respond in the event of an emergency in that building. They’ll be glad you asked, because these people see a lot of different buildings and respond to emergencies every day.
A number of shocking incidents involving fire have highlighted the need to better manage risks in buildings. David Adkins, managing director at Risk Warden, explains why some organisations need to give compliance with statutory regulations more focus and how the use of state-of-the-art online risk assessment tools can help to ensure that a building is as safe as possible. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into sharp focus. A government review into building regulations in the wake of this tragedy, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, made it clear that competence – defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and experience – underpins safety for all. It also found that that the current regulatory system is not fit for purpose and, with little or no quality monitoring, has created a situation where poor language confuses guidance with regulation and means that there is an overlapping regulatory enforcement framework. Why you need a fire safety action plan Sadly, Grenfell was not an isolated incident and similar events have occurred throughout the world. In 2017 a fire at a 17-storey commercial building in Iran led to multiple deaths, including those of 18 firefighters, while in 2015 16 people died in a fire in a residential building in Azerbaijan. Perhaps what is most concerning is that these types of events have been regularly occurring for many years – in 2010 a fire in a 28-storey tower block in China killed 53 people and injured at least 90, while in 2004 a fire at a care home in Scotland led directly to the deaths of 14 residents. The inquiry concluded that this tragedy could have been prevented by a suitable fire safety action plan. These examples highlight why it is vital to take the issue of safety seriously by undertaking a formal risk assessment. Put simply, if risks aren’t identified, a building’s occupants are in danger. There are a number of important pieces of legislation relating to this area in the UK including The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which contain a consistent set of requirements. Employers also have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into focus Responsibility for fire risk assessment When it comes to the dangers associated specifically with fire, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) places the onus on a designated responsible person within an organisation to carry out regular assessments to identify, manage and reduce the potential danger posed by fire. Article 9 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he/she needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him/her by or under this order". Any failure that leads to loss of life, personal injury or damage to property will expose a responsible person and could lead to prosecution. Outside fire risk assessors If the responsible person does not have the knowledge to carry out a fire risk assessment on his or her own, it will be necessary to call on a competent outside fire risk assessor. However, as Article 18 of the RRFSO points out, "Preference is to be given to a suitable competent person in the responsible person’s employment over a person not in their employment". Just as importantly, it states that, "A person is to be regarded as competent where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures". If an outside fire risk assessor is employed then the responsible person must undertake due diligence to ensure that the individual concerned is competent and has successful track record in this line of work. Failure to do so can have enormous repercussions like, for example, in 2017 when a former firefighter and professional fire risk assessor was given a sentence of four months in prison suspended for 12 months for providing a ‘woefully inadequate’ fire risk assessment in his capacity as a private consultant. Failure to undertake due diligence when employing a fire risk assessor can have legal consequences Monitoring and reviewing fire risk It is up to the responsible person to put processes and procedures in place to enable compliance to be fully evidenced. This includes keeping up to date records of testing and maintenance regimes that can be scrutinised by relevant enforcement authorities, as well as enabling the responsible person to monitor, control and periodically review the fire risk assessment, especially during and after significant changes to the use or layout of a building. At the moment there are no hard and fast rules as to how fire risk assessments should be carried out. However, the most important requirement is to identify the fire hazards and how people could be at risk. In addition, emergency routes and exits, fire detection and warning systems, fire fighting equipment, the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances, and the needs of vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with disabilities must be factored in. The aim should always be to remove or reduce the risks as much as is 'reasonably practicable'. A failure to provide satisfactory evidence that a comprehensive risk assessment has taken place could result in invalid insurance, large fines and even the prosecution of any individuals responsible. To that end Article 11 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the size of his/her undertaking and the nature of its activities, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures". Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface Risk assessment and compliance tools Sometimes, particularly with large buildings or campus environments, the complexity of the risk assessment process requires a more methodical approach that takes subjectivity out of the process. When it comes to satisfying the requirements of Article 11 of the RRFSO where "the responsible person must record the arrangements", the latest generation of intuitive risk assessment and compliance tools can help. Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface, which allows a responsible person to be guided through the entire risk assessment process in a clear and thorough manner. This is a significant improvement on the old fashioned ‘pen and paper’ approach, as digital images can be captured and placed directly into a report at the relevant section, while templates for specific building types ensure consistency throughout. This simplifies the identification, management and prevention of any risks related to not only fire, but security, and health and safety too, thereby reducing the potential for danger within a wide variety of environments. It should always be remembered that the risk assessment is only the first stage of the process and where traditional methods often fall down is in taking – or not taking, as the case may be – any necessary remedial action. Online tools provide a more cohesive approach, as once the risk assessment has been completed all work undertaken is clearly outlined, logged and accounted for to comply with audits. This provides evidence of compliance and ensures organisations meet their legal obligations, validate their insurance, take a consistent approach to risk management and provide peace of mind for a responsible person. Making buildings safer There is a clear need for a digital record of risk assessment compliance for the whole life of a building – from design and construction through to occupation. As assessing risk can be a lengthy and complicated process, anything that makes this easier and enhances an organisation’s ability to negate the likelihood of injury or even death should be embraced. It stands to reason that risk management must be more strictly applied in order to prevent incidents that could be avoided – therefore, the use of online risk assessment and compliance tools should be at the forefront when it comes to making buildings safer.
For many students, the prospect of moving away from home and living alone for the first time can be daunting. Thanks to leading manufacturer of life safety solutions, Hochiki Europe, and NSC Sicherheitstechnik, students living at two sophisticated accommodation developments in Germany have one less thing to worry about when it comes to fire safety. The new developments are eight storeys high and capable of accommodating 239 residents at each location. Both named The Flag, they provide a flexible, smart city living space for students in Frankfurt and Munich, and feature premium fire detection and alarm equipment supplied by Hochiki Europe. Complying With European Standards One challenge that arose when specifying the life safety solutions for The Flag was the complexity of the sites. The nature of the buildings called for compliance with European EN standards including EN 54 Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems. It was also imperative that products selected offered optimum reliability to safeguard the wellbeing of occupants and limit the risk of false alarms. As well as being reliable, the products had to help keep running costs down across the sites, without compromising quality. Using products that offer enhanced energy efficiency credentials was therefore essential. Hochiki Fire Detection Solution To address these challenges, Hochiki Europe’s German-based systems partner, NSC Sicherheitstechnik, worked with building owners to identify and provide a range of life safety solutions for the two sites. This included a Solution F1 18 loop fire alarm system with 800 multi sensor detectors, which incorporate both smoke and thermal elements, and 925 base sounders. Multi sensors offer a number of benefits when it comes to reducing the risk of false alarms in residential environments, thanks to in-built intelligence. The sensors can be programmed in a way that ensures alarm conditions are reached only when smoke and heat are present at specific levels to minimise false alarms, and prevent unnecessary evacuations of residents. Additional Life Safety Solution Features The base sounders selected for use likewise feature in-built intelligence, and have an auto shutdown feature to reduce the risk of noise pollution, a common issue in large housing developments such as The Flag. In addition, the base sounders offer a low current consumption to help increase energy efficiency. Both the multi sensors and base sounders are also compatible with Hochiki Europe’s Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP), a range which offers high performance with enhanced reliability. This ensured compliance with strict fire safety standards as required by the developers. Frank Schade, Sales Manager at NSC Sicherheitstechnik, added: “By using these intelligent life safety solutions from Hochiki Europe, we have been given peace of mind that our premises are fully protected and compliant with international legislation.” Both of The Flag developments were completed in 2017.
Hochiki Europe, leading manufacturer of life safety solutions, has recently worked with Scottish Security and Fire Systems to ensure the safety and security of a renovated Baptist church in Fife. The building which now houses Glenrothes Baptist Church was first constructed in the early 1960s and used as local authority offices. Following its recent conversion into a place of religious worship and, as such, a place of medium assembly under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Order), the clergy house updated its fire safety and emergency lighting equipment. Appointed to carry out the works was specifier Scottish Security and Fire Systems, a provider of professional installation and maintenance services across Scotland. Meeting Aesthetic Requirements And Safety Standards The Fife project required an ultra-reliable and easy-to-maintain system that would not detract from the aesthetics of the building itself, nor distract its occupants with large, imposing features. Furthermore, the three-storey structure needed a networked system that performed in-line with recent changes in fire safety legislation. For example, the newly revised BS5266 Part 1: 2016 stipulates that emergency safety lighting should be bright enough to allow building occupants to see their surroundings in the event of a mains supply failure and the loss of normal lighting. On the back of a successful working relationship which began in 1995, Hochiki Europe’s intelligent emergency lighting and fire detection solutions were specified by their customer Scottish Security and Fire Systems. Hochiki Europe’s ESP range of intelligent devices utilise the world-proven Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP). The range offers high compliance to globally recognised safety standards, and the open protocol gives installers the flexibility to incorporate devices from multiple manufacturers. Intelligent LED Emergency Lighting Scottish Security and Fire Systems also chose to specify Hochiki Europe’s innovative FIREscape system – the UK’s first low-voltage, addressable, intelligent, LED emergency lighting system. When compared to conventional mains-driven, fluorescent emergency lighting luminaires, FIREscape products can save more than 95 per cent of energy costs*1. Richard Wharram, Regional Sales Manager at Hochiki Europe, explained: “In places of assembly, such as churches, many people can be affected by an emergency situation in a very short space of time, which means fire safety must be regarded with upmost importance. FIREscape technology is a fantastic investment for this project. The system is not only reliable, intelligent and compliant, but its energy saving capabilities make it a long-term, cost-effective investment, saving the church both time and money.” Safety For Church Buildings “By using our easy-to-install technology, the specifiers were also able to significantly reduce the expected turnaround time of the project. Using both our ESP intelligent and FIREscape products, Scottish Security and Fire Systems ensured that Glenrothes Baptist Church is completely compliant with the latest building regulations, and churchgoers will be alerted quickly and efficiently in the case of an emergency." Matthew Marshall, Assistant Pastor of Missions, said: “The new life safety system at Glenrothes Baptist Church is easy to operate, and its self-test ability is a great additional feature. The new system will undoubtedly save us time and money through energy savings over the coming years. The safety of our congregation is, of course, of paramount importance, and Hochiki Europe’s products have given us that peace of mind.” *1 Based on 100 luminaires (VTT Technical Research, Finland)
The University Hospital of Wales had been in use for some 20 years and several aspects of its design did not meet current hospital and fire safety standards. Project: The University Hospital of Wales is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe. The main ward block houses 800 beds and is a high-rise building. In addition, there is a three-story medical block and a three-story dental block. The three buildings are interconnected by subways and tunnels. The hospital had been in use for some 20 years and several aspects of its design did not meet current hospital and fire safety standards. The hospital had also experienced severe disruption due to smoke spread from some relatively small fires. A radical re-evaluation of all aspects of the fire safety provision was required. This included assessing: Compartmentalisation and separation aspects. Automatic fire detection requirements. Automatic fire suppression strategies. Requirements for storage and removal of waste/rubbish. Procedures for evacuation in a fire emergency. Contribution: BRE Global's Fire and Risk Sciences Division (FRS) was commissioned by WHCSA to assess the total fire safety provision. The hospital of Wales will get an enhanced security and safety cover after the FRS report FRS liaised with the local fire service, the hospital board, the hospital fire officer and NHS Estates in order to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the problem. FRS then produced a fire safety report detailing cost-effective recommendations, which were based on fire safety engineering principles rather than just opting for compliance with prescriptive codes and requirements. The fire safety assessment report was then used to form the basis of a subsequent £multi-million refurbishment and upgrading scheme. Benefits: FRS is the UK's leading centre for research-based consultancy and testing covering all aspects of fire safety and security. The division can draw upon extensive research into experimental emergency evacuations and occupant behaviour during fires, all of which was important to the successful conclusion of this project. Established in 1947, FRS's clients extend beyond the construction industry, and include those concerned with design, development and manufacture of materials, products, systems, industrial processes, transport and offshore. BRE is retained as an advisor to the NHS Fire Code Committee and the NAPG.
Nuclear facilities require special security measures, as they are prone to hazards and fatal accidents ASL Safety & Security have supplied a high-integrity building evacuation system (BES) to Sellafield Ltd at the company's nuclear processing facility in Cumbria. Sellafield currently performs multiple tasks geared towards decommissioning the UK's nuclear legacy as well as fuel recycling, manufacture and waste management. As a key safety system at this nuclear-licensed site, the equipment is required to be entirely dual redundant, with emphasis placed on a design that meets key objectives for a robust architecture, unaffected by environmental and electromagnetic factors as defined in BSEN 61000-6-4 and BS EN 61000-6-2. The system also meets the stringent BS5839:8 standard for voice alarm systems. Nuclear facilities have unusual requirements and safety is so critical at this location that a 'confidence tone' is broadcast at 15-second intervals around the clock. The presence of these regular pips reassures personnel that the evacuation system is functioning correctly. If an event is activated manually by criticality incident detectors or activity-in-air monitors specific to a building, a distinct warning tone is broadcast within 300 milliseconds and the location in question is evacuated. At the same time, "Keep Out!" warning beacons are triggered throughout the evacuation zone. Local residents are automatically contacted by telephone and can also ring a number to hear a description of various emergency sirens. Failure of any of the components will not affect the operation of the system as a whole. The amplifiers employed are ASL's M400 rack-mounted main frame units which use the company's unique class-D adaptive technology to minimise power consumption, meaning a reduced sizing requirement for battery back-up. The system features dual power supplies, routers and standby amplifiers modules with speaker line monitoring and automatic switching carried out via DC surveillance.