Tall building fire safety
Orange Fire Protection, which provides fire sprinklers, extinguishers and alarms for commercial and residential properties, relocates to new, 6,500 sq ft offices at Queens Court in Wakefield. The business, which launched in 2016 with eight staff, has more than tripled in size over three years and now has a workforce of 26. A heightened awareness of fire safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017 has led to a number of new contracts for the business. High-End Residential Developm...
Western Business Events (WBE), host of The Fire Safety Event, is in the final week of preparations before it opens the doors at the NEC on 9th-11th April for its largest edition yet. Now in its third year, The Fire Safety Event has seen phenomenal growth since its inception in 2016. The event, which began with 16 exhibitors now boasts over 50 exhibitors for its 2019 edition. High-profile incidents in recent years have put a spotlight on the industry and The Fire Safety Event recognises it has a...
Global provider of intelligent fire systems, Advanced, has announced the release of their upgraded addressable carbon monoxide (CO) detector and low frequency sounder base. Designed to meet NFPA / UL low-frequency signalling standards for sleeping areas such as hospitals, hotels and multi-occupancy residential applications, the sounder base generates a 520 Hz tone to alert occupants of a fire or CO / life safety emergency. Advanced CO / 520 Hz Sounder Base Advanced’s high-performance CO...
The Fire Safety Event, 9-11th April, at the National Exhibition Center (NEC) in Birmingham, UK, is the fastest growing exhibition for the fire safety industry in the United Kingdom in terms of both exhibitor and visitor numbers, say the organizers. The growth can be attributed to the exhibitor lineup and full program of seminars and features. Visitors can also expect live demonstrations, world-class speakers and a keen focus on the issues most pressing in the industry today. This content is man...
Western Business Events (WBE), host of The Fire Safety Event, is pleased to release further developments on this year’s exciting seminar program. Now in it’s third year The Fire Safety Event features a powerful combination of education, networking and business support designed to help organisations maintain the very highest standards of fire safety management. ...
Taking short lead times and convenient delivery to new heights, manufacturer and supplier of specialist passive fire protection products, Quelfire, has launched QuelQuick, a new same day delivery service to businesses and project sites across North West England. Fire Containment Systems Expert With over 40 years of experience and expertise in fire containment, Quelfire provides a wide range of high quality and certified products and services to specifiers, architects, engineers and contr...
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 products such as passive fire protection (PFP) materials has grown rapidly over the last few years. Passive Fire Protection (PFP) Material PFP materials prevent the structure of a building from collapsing by containing the spread of fire and are increasingly becoming an indispensable part of the building disaster management system. Use of PFP materials in buildings and complex structures enhances the structural stability and offers additional protection to load bearing beams and columns which prolongs their crumbling in the event of a fire breakout. Apart from construction, other key end-use markets for PFP materials are oil & gas, and electronics. Sprays, boards, and thin film intumescent coatings are the most commonly used PFP materials to protect steel structures from fire Sprays, boards, and thin film intumescent coatings are the most commonly used PFP materials to protect steel structures from fire. Intumescent thin-film coatings are one of the fastest growing market segments and are being widely used as substitute for boards and sprays. Water-based intumescent coatings are the most commonly used coatings for fireproofing steel. Global PFP Market The above findings are part of a comprehensive analysis of the global passive fire protection materials market published by Melvin Bright, which provides insights into key market segments such as coatings, bulkheads, cladding and panels, fire protection doors, sealants, fittings, sprays, boards, cables, ductworks, glazing systems, fire walls, and ceilings and partitions, among others. It also covers end-use markets such as construction, oil and gas, electronics, defense, automotive and transportation, chemical, energy and power, healthcare, waste management, and hospitality, among others. The study provides granular market information on the above market segments for all the major regional and country markets.
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 member and represents the association on the IFSS – said that in an increasingly globalized construction market there needed to consistent principles, so fire safety could be tackled internationally. The standards aim to overcome the risk to public safety that can arise when there is confusion and uncertainty arising from different rules for materials testing and certification, building regulations or codes and standards on how buildings are managed. Chakravarthy said the standards being developed at an international level would provide guidance so professionals could improve safety locally. Improving Building Fire Safety Standards I believe that the experts who have joined the coalition will play a vital part in making buildings everywhere safer for everyone"Past-President Bobby Chakravarthy said: “The standard of fire safety needs to be improved at home and overseas. This is why the Association for Project Safety [APS] is part of the International Fire Safety Standards Coalition [IFSS] and why we are working with our partner organizations across the world to develop consistent standards which will take the guess work out of fire safety in construction. “The Grenfell Tower disaster was a wake-up call in the UK but far too many people are still killed in building fires worldwide. I believe that the experts who have joined the coalition will play a vital part in making buildings everywhere safer for everyone.” Best Practise For Fire Safety The International Fire Safety Standards Coalition consists of local and international professional bodies and standard-setting organizations committed to developing and supporting, in the public interest, a shared set of standards for fire safety in buildings. The standards aim to set and reinforce the best practice for professionals to ensure building safety in the event of a fire.
The UK market for passive fire protection products is estimated to be worth around £650m at manufacturers selling prices - excluding installation. The market has grown by around 2% in 2017, with forecasts for 2018 at a similar level. This follows good growth between 2013 and 2015, which represented a period of recovery for the overall construction industry, especially in the education, offices, retail and leisure sectors. The forecasts indicate a more subdued performance, with lower levels of construction activity anticipated as investor confidence has fallen, in the lead up to Brexit. In terms of structure, the passive fire protection market is comprised of fire resistant doors, fittings and intumescent seals, cables, partitions and suspended ceilings, glass, structural protection and ductwork and damper systems. Fire resistant doors, fitting and seals account for the largest shares of the market, with around 60% of the total value. Innovations in the fire protection sector Recent product innovations in the sector include intumescent coatings with faster drying times Recent product innovations in the sector include intumescent coatings with faster drying times, electronic fire door closers that are linked to fire alarm systems, and more flexible fire stopping pipe collars that allow a greater range of applications compared to conventional collars. Key drivers, such as the regulatory aspects of the fire protection sector, are expected to remain unchanged in the short term, since the Hackitt Review into the Grenfell Tower disaster only covered high-rise buildings and provided no recommendations for immediate change in the technical aspects of Building Regulations. However, modifications are expected in the medium to longer term, and AMA Research also anticipates that there will be other implications for the wider industry, as manufacturers and specifiers alike seek to provide safer environments, possibly leading to positive growth by value. Modest growth prediction in construction sector Forecasts for the passive fire protection market in the medium-term are for modest growth in 2018 and 2019, with slightly higher growth levels by 2020. While the longer-term impact of Brexit remains unclear, investors are likely to remain cautious, and this has resulted in recent forecasts being less optimistic for overall construction sector output growth. In the short term, activity in the non-domestic construction sector is likely to slow down, with more subdued growth of around 1-2% in 2018-19. The overall market for passive fire protection products such as cable, glass, ceilings, partitions and doors, is dependent on the performance of key construction sectors, such as offices, industrial, entertainment, health and education. Impacting structural fire protection sector The hotel and entertainment sector has shown good growth in recent years and is attracting substantial investment In terms of output, new office construction is forecast to be less positive over 2018-22, following strong output growth of 70% between 2013 and 2017, something which may impact on demand in sectors such as structural fire protection, suspended ceilings and partitions. However, the hotel and entertainment sector has shown good growth in recent years and is attracting substantial investment, especially in the budget sector. The university sector has also been positive in terms of new orders in 2018, with future output having the potential to be boosted by demand for new accommodation and facilities for additional students following the removal of the cap on student numbers. Passive protection in residential sector Uncertainty regarding Brexit is expected to have less of an impact on residential construction, where the outlook remains modestly positive, driven in particular by the ongoing imbalance between demand and supply for new housing. Increasing numbers of new flats and apartments built will be the primary source of demand for passive protection in the residential sector. Other factors influencing the market include the performance of Sterling against both the US dollar and the Euro. Since the 2016 Referendum, Sterling’s fall in value and continued relative weakness has meant that materials price inflation has become a key influence in the UK construction market. If this situation continues, it will prompt some value growth in the passive fire protection sector, since a wide range of materials and products is imported.
ASSA ABLOY UK is holding a dedicated event at West Midlands Fire Service’s headquarters in Birmingham to help raise the bar on standards of quality for fire door safety Over three million fire doors are installed every year in the UK, yet incorrect specification, poor installation and a lack of maintenance is still a common occurrence. In light of this, and to coincide with Fire Door Safety Week, ASSA ABLOY UK is holding a dedicated event at West Midlands Fire Service’s headquarters in Birmingham to help raise the bar on standards of quality for fire door safety. The event will take place on Thursday 27th September and is aimed towards building owners, facility managers and persons responsible for fire door safety. Key topics on the day will cover the importance and future of fire door certification, common issues of fire door installation, inspection and maintenance, and the importance of compartmentalisation within high rise residential buildings. Door closers are important part of fire safety On the day, attendees can expect a discussion panel, speaker presentations and a series of case studies from representatives from British Woodworking Federation (BWF), BRE Global, Exova Warringtonfire, West Midlands Fire Service, the NHS, and ASSA ABLOY UK. David Hindle, Head of Door Controls for ASSA ABLOY UK, said: “The draft report produced by BRE Global on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, highlighted that only 17% of door closers at Grenfell were present and working. “Door closers and other door hardware that impacts on the performance of a fire door or doorset are a critical part of fire safety and should be subject to performance standards and regular maintenance and testing. Educating professionals about fire door safety “After the success of our Fire Door Safety Week 2017 event, we wanted to continue to help educate professionals on raising the standards of fire door safety. We urge building owners, facility managers and persons responsible for fire door safety to attend this year’s event to learn more as we all have to start treating and recognising ‘passive fire protection’ as critical, at all times.” ASSA ABLOY UK is leading the way when it comes to campaigning for increased fire safety awareness. An insightful and educational whitepaper was recently issued in response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. The whitepaper will also be showcased and discussed in-depth at the event during Fire Door Safety Week.
FireVu awarded Visual Flame Detection Patent No.GB2535409 for exceptional fire detection system The award, Patent no. GB2535409, is granted in recognition of the uniqueness of the ‘Flame detection system and method’. The patent was awarded in April this year and follows on from the grant of a US patent in March 2017 for the FireVu flame detection algorithm. FireVu flame detection system FireVu’s innovative method of measuring the colour and intensity of flame in an image results in exceptional detection rates, exceptional detection range and zero false alarms. It is superior to all other visual flame detectors on the market which rely on flicker. Other manufacturers claim to correlate colour and flicker, but they are unable to eliminate false alarms. FireVu’s flame detection uses the absolute laws of physics, and in particular Planck’s Law which results in an accurate determination. It is also able to identify the break out of fire much earlier than conventional systems that rely on physical contact between a detector and the off-gas or smoke. Furthermore, FireVu segments the field of view, significantly helping stakeholders to identify the origin point of the fire, aiding efforts to extinguish the threat. Early and efficient fire detection FireVu’s flame detection system is ideal for the early detection and warning of smoke and flame in industrial processes which utilise motors, conveyor belts, bearings and moving parts, hot substrate and flammable materials; for e.g. in Waste Management and Processing, Steel, Paper, Utilities, Petrochemical, Waste to Energy, and Power Generation. It can also be effectively installed in retail outlets and on high-rise developments. FireVu is also ideal for detecting smoke and flame in large voluminous areas such as Aircraft Hangars, Warehousing and Atriums.
FIREX International 2018 provides fire and life safety solutions Over 18,000 visitors - representing a 12% increase on the 2017 event; and more than 140 exhibitors – 70 of which were new to the 2018 edition – came together from 29 countries at FIREX International to drive and reflect on the life safety landscape in the UK. For three days at ExCeL London, fire safety professionals accessed over 10,000+ life safety solutions held to the highest standards. FIREX International 2018 Amidst the present national agenda regarding fire safety in the built environment – with a particular emphasis on social housing – FIREX was the dedicated platform for engaging with leading experts, exploring proven technologies and receiving essential guidance. Gerry Dunphy, Brand Director of FIREX International explained, “It is reflective of the times we’re in that a fully-fledged fire safety event is resonating so deeply with the market, and we’re pleased to see an increase in life safety professionals engaging with the event. The show’s growth is a testament to the industry’s demand for change. Both visitor and exhibitor sentiment reflected the criticality of FIREX, and the conversations held on the show floor speak volumes for the way in which FIREX is changing perceptions around life safety being a right, not a privilege.” Sales Engineer at Specialist Wiring Accessories explained, “The first two days were probably the busiest days that I’ve ever known at any exhibition. It’s brought forward an extremely good quality of contacts and enquiries.” 5th International Tall Building Fire Safety Conference The show also welcomed the 5th International Tall Building Fire Safety Conference, exclusive to FIREX, in addition to an in-depth seminar programme across the Expertise & Guidance Theatre, sponsored by BAFE, and the FPA Infozone. A highlight of the seminar programme included Dr Chris Cocking’s talk “Human Behaviour During an Emergency”. This hugely popular seminar, presented at the FPA Infozone, provided insight into the rarity of mass panic, and indicated that there is very little evidence to suggest that people panic if they are made aware of the threat – which means that information should not be withheld. His analysis was paired with a tangible solution to provide vital information about what’s going on, what the threat is and what they need to do to escape it. Fire doorsets and live smoke demonstrations New to FIREX International 2018 were Show Me How demonstrations in the brand-new Sprinkler Zone. These addressed the fire safety concerns keeping visitors up at night by not only offering the latest solutions and technology but showing how to use them. There were also live smoke demonstrations by GERDA, showing the crucial role of fire doorsets in passive fire protection. With a newly introduced fire challenge, the 20th anniversary of the Engineers of Tomorrow competition saw fire apprentices compete in live installation challenges. The Inspirational Speaker Series also drew massive crowds as the show welcomed a fantastic line-up of world class speakers, including comedian and mental health expert Ruby Wax OBE, English rugby legend Sir Clive Woodward OBE and Nicky Moffat CBE, formerly the British Army’s highest-ranking female officer. Jeremy Rees, Acting CEO, ExCeL London commented, “We were delighted to welcome FIREX to ExCeL London. Our teams are working closely with UBM to support their ambitions for growth and we are delighted that they had another successful event with us. This event, together with the wider P&M series, is playing a vital role in maintaining and creating safe and secure environments, something that resonates strongly with us. We look forward to welcoming visitors and exhibitors again next year, when they will be able to travel to ExCeL more quickly than ever before via the Elizabeth line.”
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 compliant when choosing products. In the meantime, with the Grenfell inquiry projected to go on during 2019, what is the benchmark?The development of LSZH materials was accelerated following the King’s Cross Underground disaster in which 31 people died Cables With LSZH Materials We have standards through British Standards (BS) and testing regimes which cables should meet to validate that they meet these standards with approvals from various industry bodies including BASEC and LPCB. At AEI Cables, we have developed our Total Fire Solutions range of cables and accessories for all fire safety applications, incorporating Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) features. Traditional PVC cables which produce vast amounts of dense black smoke, toxic fumes and acid gas when exposed to fire, bring an added danger to people who may be caught in the fire. Cables which incorporate LSZH materials emit very little of these substances. In a real fire situation, the cables will enable the fire and rescue services to find and evacuate people and help to protect property Smoke And Noxious Gases Cause More Casualties The development of LSZH materials was accelerated following the King’s Cross Underground disaster in which 31 people died, many of them from toxic fumes. London Underground has banned the use of PVC cables as a result. The adoption of LSZH for cables and other materials is also endorsed by the Building Regulations themselves. According to Part B, referencing fire safety, it says clearly: “The primary danger associated with fire in its early stages is not flame but the smoke and noxious gases produced by the fire. They cause most of the casualties and may also obscure the way to escape routes and exits. Measures designed to provide safe means of escape must therefore provide appropriate arrangements to limit the rapid spread of smoke and fumes.” Helping Fire And Rescue Services The very latest in technology and science, including LSZH materials, offers enhanced fire performance cablingThe very latest in technology and science, including LSZH materials, offers enhanced fire performance cabling, accessories and technical support ensuring critical fire-safety circuits can continue to operate in the event of a real fire from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes. In a real fire situation, these cables will enable the fire and rescue services to find and evacuate people and help to protect property. At the same time, there is still evidence of non-approved cabling still coming onto the market, and we simply cannot compromise quality of these products being used in these applications. Applications include residential and commercial buildings, shopping malls, airports and protected buildings with a track-record ensuring that fire alarms, sprinkler systems, building monitoring and security systems can continue to operate in a fire.
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.
In a fire, a safe, reliable source of power is of paramount importance. Tasked with supplying emergency firefighting power for Victorian mill conversions, Newburn Power Rental’s expertise and commitment to health and safety made them the perfect partner for power safety - instilling confidence should the worst happen. The client, who are converting mills into luxury apartments – initially in and around Leeds, Halifax and Manchester, the centres of Victorian industry – gave Newburn a two-fold job. Providing emergency power to the lifts in the event of a mains failure was one element, with a critical requirement to ensure power for lifts and smoke extraction fans for the emergency services in the event of a fire. Emergency Communication Systems The vital importance of firefighter access and safety is recognised and legislated through numerous Standards and Regulations, and inadequacy or non-adherence can have devastating effects. As LEIA (the trade association and advisory body for the lift and escalator industry) note, the development of British and European Standards has been central to lowering accident rates – both to people using lifts, escalators and lifting platforms, and to those working on them. For firefighting lifts, the requirements are covered by Standard EN 81-72:2105 For firefighting lifts, the requirements are covered by Standard EN 81-72:2105, which replaced the 2003 version and includes changes to the physical structures of firefighter lift systems as well as amendments to requirements for emergency communication systems. The critical element of a firefighting lift is that, unlike a normal lift, it should be designed to operate for a long as is practicable in the event of a fire. Firefighting Equipment In the UK, it is a requirement that buildings with a floor more than 18 metres above or more than 10 metres below fire service vehicle access have a firefighting lift, helping firefighters to move more quickly and more easily through the building and allowing for the transportation of firefighting equipment across multiple floors. The lift installation includes the lift car itself, the lift well and machinery area, along with the control and communications systems. While the Standard EN 81-72:2015 covers all aspects of firefighting lift design, e.g. minimum load; minimum lift car dimensions; speed of travel and specific design, there are also a range of factors that Newburn needed to consider when specifying the power generators for emergency use: robust and reliable back-up (secondary) power supply and the potential for water ingress. Electrical Installations In terms of building structure and power safety, the issue of water ingress needs to be addressed at the design stage In terms of building structure and power safety, the issue of water ingress needs to be addressed at the design stage, including measures such as drainage channels at each landing entrance; ramping up of the floor at the lift’s entrance; as well as methods of prevention of water build-up such as drains or draining pumps permanently installed and fitted outside the lift shaft. There have been instances where water from hose lines has entered a lift well, causing malfunction to electrical installations such as door locks, lift car controls and communications systems, hence it is vital to both reduce the potential for water ingress in the first instance as well as to minimise the effects of water on lift operations to avoid hampering firefighting and evacuation procedures. Fire-Protected Areas Newburn Power Rental’s power supplies, following the Standard, were specified and installed to the appropriate IP rating, to protect the electrical equipment against water ingress. Their generators, which varied from 20kVA up to 60kVA (dependent upon the lift motor sizes) are all installed in fire-protected areas, with fire-protected power cabling. Reliability of power supply – both the mains and the secondary sources – is clearly critical to the safe use of firefighting lifts and this, too, is referenced in the Standard. Mark Henstock, managing director at Newburn Power Rental, comments on this project, “We were approached to undertake this contract based on Newburn’s reputation for reliability and for the weight we place on health and safety at all times.” Reliable Power Supply The importance of secure and reliable power supply in an emergency can’t be over-emphasised" “The importance of secure and reliable power supply in an emergency can’t be over-emphasised. We’ve worked on projects in the past where water ingress is an issue, so have a great deal of experience with managing pumping solutions and circuitry, as well as emergency backup supplies for a whole range of sectors.” “We have a committed workforce – in sales and specification for generators and ancilliaries, as well as in the service and maintenance team. Clearly, both aspects are vital to ensuring that the correct equipment is installed in the first instance, and to making sure that it works efficiently and reliably, should it ever be needed. Since the first installation for this client, we have gone on to work with them on buildings in cities and towns across the North and we look forward to continuing this relationship.”
In large factory halls used for metalworking operations, conventional fire alarm systems are often not enough to protect buildings, employees and equipment. In many cases, high ceilings, greater fire hazards and interference from reflected light characterize these halls. The company of MKM Mansfelder Kupfer und Messing GmbH (MKM) faced exactly this challenge. MKM is a manufacturer of copper and copper-alloy precursor and semi finished products. Achieve Better Protection The company wanted to achieve better protection from fire hazards in two of the halls at its Hettstedt site in Saxony-Anhalt, a state in the eastern part of Germany. Conditions in the halls are particularly challenging because the pace of production constantly varies While searching for the optimal solution, the plant fire brigade tested a number of candidates, including quite a few conventional fire alarm systems. Conditions in the halls are particularly challenging because the pace of production constantly varies. “Due to the large size of both halls, in the end we decided that only one solution was up to the job: the AVIOTEC visual early fire detection system from Bosch,” explains Christoph Dammann, administrator fire and alarm systems at MKM. Fire Detection System AVIOTEC is the first video-based fire detection system to be certified by VdS Schadenverhütung GmbH (VdS). Intelligent algorithms integrated in the camera ensure reliable early detection of smoke and flame. This innovative technology also excels in terms of costs and efficiency. Bosch experts planned and configured the solution for MKM and then took care of integrating it into the existing fire detection system and connecting it to the monitoring center of the plant fire brigade. If a fire is detected in either of the two halls, it sends signals to the central fire detection system as well as directly to the fire brigade. Then the firefighters can check the video monitor and take targeted appropriate action to extinguish the fire before it can spread.
FireVu multi-detectors facilitate quick fire detection and remedy at Worcestershire warehouse Budget Waste Management operates a waste removal, disposal and recycling service. It processes the waste it collects at its large waste processing facility in Worcestershire. The company deals with a great variety of material, much of which is flammable. So the risk of fire is significant and the potential impact of a fire outbreak is extremely serious. FireVu multi-detectors rapidly identify fire outbreaks The fire started as a result of an aerosol can contained within the waste being punctured during processing which then ignited. The purple and green boxes that can be seen on the video show FireVu rapidly identifying the outbreak of fire. Crucially, FireVu spots the fire quickly because the multi-detector can identify both the thermal output and visual flame. The system is visual based, so it can detect fire much more quickly at source than systems which rely on an overall increase in ambient temperature, or physical contact with smoke or flame. Other systems will only detect if there is a substantial fire present, by which time a total loss is likely. Early detection means remedial action can be taken quickly, before the fire has taken hold. In this case, an operator is able to stamp out the flames. Without early detection the entire warehouse could have gone up in flames within minutes. Multi-detectors installed by Alert Systems FireVu partner, Alert Systems, installed 7 multi-detectors with an FV1 Annunciator within the warehouse to provide comprehensive coverage of the waste processing areas with associated control room alert functionality. Each FireVu solution is customised to meet the individual client need, and in this case study the detectors were placed in specifically identified strategic locations following consultation between the client and the FireVu team. The result is a very early warning fire detection system that gives Budget (and their insurers) peace of mind of knowing that if a fire breaks out, FireVu will alert them quickly. High tech analytics software analyses video images from the FireVu detector to identify the presence of smoke, flame and heat at source, thus providing fast, accurate, very early warning. Furthermore, FireVu segments the field of view, significantly helping stakeholders to identify the origin point of the fire, aiding efforts to extinguish the threat. The system also provides sensitive calibration features which minimise the risk of false alarms. Why does FireVu stand out in the industry? FireVu offers a unique combination of features not available from other products on the market, including: Can ‘see’ flame colour, brightness and intensity (Planck’s Law) and signal the visually verified alarm in seconds * Works outside and in large voluminous spaces Unaffected by airflow or stratification Thermal detection** with two thresholds to detect heat build-up The visual of the smoke, flame and heat detection provides situational awareness to the owner/operator via FireVu annunciator and Enterprise ObserVer viewing software Can integrate to the alarm panel and automate the shutdown of systems within recommended field of view, **Multi-Detector version Application Scenarios As a visual-based system, FireVu can be applied in many, diverse scenarios. It can be effectively applied both indoors and outdoors; on the outside of buildings or in large atriums/warehouses. Application areas include: High-Rise Buildings Waste Management Facilities Hotel lobby areas Retail outlets Schools Warehousing Industrial Production Line Facilities
Most of the systems installed at Cobalt Business Park use Hochiki Europe's Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP) With around 40 individual buildings housing over 160,000m 2 of prime office space, Cobalt Business Park is the largest complex of its kind in the UK. Located just a short drive from central Newcastle, it has played a vital part in the regeneration of the region, which is now one of the nation’s most vibrant and forward thinking business hubs. Building work began over 12 years ago and being awarded Enterprise Zone status meant that tenants could enjoy free business rates and 100 per cent capital allowances for corporation tax until August 2006. This led to a plethora of blue chip multinational organisations choosing to locate there and by doing so they have brought over 9,500 jobs to the area. Cobalt Business Park offers access to a wide range of facilities and boasts a surgery, a nursery, restaurants, a swimming pool, a fitness suite and a 500 capacity delegate conference centre. In order to give those working on-site the highest levels of protection its owner, Highbridge Properties, has insisted that each of the buildings has a state-of-the-art fire detection system as part of an overall building services infrastructure. Based in Blyth, Northumberland, ARC365 is one of the north-east of England’s leading life safety installation specialists and it has enjoyed a long-term relationship with Cobalt Business Park. Chris Harris, director of ARC365, explains, “We were originally invited to tender for the fire detection installation in the first building. Our proposal centred on the installation of a Hochiki Europe fire detection system, which we have used almost exclusively over the last 17 years. We won the contract and since then we have been asked to carry out similar work for all but three buildings on the site.” "We will continue to specify products from Hochiki Europe, as we know that we can rely on them to ensure the highest levels of protection” Although the buildings that comprise Cobalt Business Park are all different shapes and sizes, and house many different types of organisations, ARC365 tries to keep the fire detection systems as consistent as it can and introduce as many common features as possible. Harris and his team are involved when the main construction works are underway, usually through Castle Building Services Ltd, who have been involved in the electrical and mechanical disciplines of many of the buildings throughout the business park. Harris says, “When the developer has a client for the building, a complete fire detection system is designed and installed, based on the layout the client requires.” If a building is unused, we usually just install a limited fire detection system in shell and core areas such as stairwells until it is occupied. Working as a team with Castle Building Services Ltd gives them the confidence that the Hochiki products we offer are of the highest quality and reliability. "This innovative chamber design minimises the differences in sensitivity experienced in flaming and smouldering fires" All of the systems installed at Cobalt Business Park are analogue addressable and most of them use Hochiki Europe’s Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP). Stuart Davies, the company’s marketing manager, explains, “ESP is a resilient total communications solution for intelligent fire detection and fully integrated systems. It has a multi-purpose structure that provides the flexibility and expansion to accommodate simple addressable systems through to integrated building management and safety systems.” The buildings’ fire detection systems are also compliant to the BS 5839 category L1 standard, which means that automatic detectors are deployed throughout all areas including roof spaces and voids. This gives the earliest possible warning of fire and makes sure that there is sufficient time for escape. Unwanted and false alarms are a problem in any type of building but in offices, where there is a high density of people, they are particularly disruptive. Where possible, ARC365 installs Hochiki Europe’s ALG-EN optical smoke sensors, which feature the company’s High Performance Chamber Technology. Harris states, “‘This innovative chamber design minimises the differences in sensitivity experienced in flaming and smouldering fires. The result is a high performance optical chamber that is equally responsive to all smoke types and helps to reduce the possibility of unwanted alarms, as the algorithms in the devices can be adjusted to account for the different environments that they are used in.” A fast and efficient installation is important for ARC365, and the ability to fit detectors onto a standard base unit offers significant time and cost savings, without any compromise in quality. Harris adds, “Our experience with other manufacturers’ products has highlighted just how well designed and thought out Hochiki Europe’s are, what can take minutes only takes seconds.” To enhance continuity across the estate, each building has a stainless steel plate installed in the reception area to house ARC365’s control equipment for the fire detection, disabled refuge and accessible toilet alarm systems. This means that if one of the site’s security operatives has to enter one of the empty buildings, they can easily locate the control panel and know how to operate it. Cobalt Business Park is very much a work in progress and new buildings are being designed and constructed all of the time – the most recent being a four floor office block and a two storey retail/office block - both handled electrically and mechanically by Castle Building Services Ltd. ARC365’s Chris Harris, concludes, “It’s been fascinating to see how it has developed over the decade or so and we are thrilled to be a part of it. We will continue to specify products from Hochiki Europe, as we know that we can rely on them to ensure the highest levels of protection.”
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.
TOA Europe is celebrating a huge new audio network installation at OpernTurm TOA Europe is celebrating a huge new audio network installation comprising TOA VM-3000 Series PA/VA systems, SX-2000 audio management systems and loudspeakers, in Frankfurt, Germany. Due to open later this year, the OpernTurm (literally 'Opera Tower') is the latest addition to Frankfurt's celebrated skyline. Comprising a 170 m high-rise building and a 26 m low-rise perimeter development, OpernTurm derives its name from Frankfurt's historic opera house, the Alte Oper, which faces it across Opernplatz. Designed by Frankfurt-based architect Christoph Mäckler, OpernTurm is the latest development by Tishman Speyer Properties, whose last major investment in Frankfurt was the OperaTurm - the 257 m high 'giant pencil' that has stood at the entrance to Messe Frankfurt since 1991 and is known to tens of thousands of tradeshow-goers from all over the world. Though not as high as OperaTurm, which became Europe's tallest building when completed, OpernTurm has already become a landmark building for other reasons. It is one of the first new office buildings in Europe to be certified according to Gold rated LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green construction standards, and has been designed to consume 23% less energy than the guideline stipulated by EnEV 2007 - Germany's latest set of energy-saving regulations. To help achieve these results, OpernTurm uses a sophisticated BMS (Building Management System) based on LONworks protocols, under which all IT and related technical hardware is equipped with a standard chip, allowing intercommunication between any two pieces of equipment at any point on the building's network. SPIE delivered a complete fire alarm, voice evacuation and paging backbone for the project. SPIE in turn partnered with Hellwig Tonanlagen, based in nearby Bensheim, to design and install the audio elements of the system, using TOA SX-2000 and VM-3000 audio management systems as hubs. SPIE delivered a complete fire alarm, voice evacuation and paging backbone for the project "In total there are some 13 racks of TOA equipment, including a whopping 78 VM-3000 units and six SX-2000s acting as master controllers, and over 3,000 TOA loudspeakers," reveals Torsten Hellwig, managing director, Hellwig Tonanlagen. "The scale of the project is enormous - with 42 floors of offices in the main tower and a further seven in the low-rise section, plus a conference centre, a casino and other leisure facilities, not to mention a series of themed gardens which connect the buildings together. With their ability to distribute multiple channels of audio digitally, plus their inherent scalability and flexibility, TOA products are the obvious solution in a project such as OpernTurm." TOA Germany supported the project throughout with technical assistance and design consultancy. Wolfgang Pein, sales manager, Germany at TOA Europe, comments: "At TOA we pride ourselves on being able to support our customers throughout the process, from initial tendering through to system commissioning and beyond. You don't just buy boxes from us. This is increasingly important as the worlds of fire detection, PA/VA and security become more deeply integrated. "Designed with full network integration and compliance with EN 54 standards in mind, the SX-2000 and new VM-3000 are perfectly suited to installations like OpernTurm. We are delighted to have been chosen as a key supplier to such a technically sophisticated and prestigious new commercial building." While the scale and technical complexity of OpenTurm are themselves outstanding, the project also required great attention to detail, as Hellwig's Cirullies explains: "Culturally, this is a very important building for the city of Frankfurt. Its lobby areas allow direct access from Bockenheimer Landstrasse to the historic Rothschildpark for the first time since the 1960s, and park itself has been specially extended. The architect was very keen for this space to be as aesthetically 'clean' as possible, so we partnered with an acoustic consultancy, Barth Acoustics, to design custom enclosures that would keep the architect happy, while also integrating seamlessly with the TOA network to provide the required intelligibility." Work began on the construction of OperaTurm in late 2006 and the building opened in late 2009.