Hybrid Fire Detection for Office Buildings


Hybrid Fire Detection for Office Buildings

Office buildings, also known as office blocks or business centres, are a type of commercial building that provides office space for one or more companies. Office blocks can be built in almost any location. However, there are many factors to be considered such as legal and technical requirements and other considerations such as security and flexibility of layout.

Office buildings are typically either divided into sections for different companies or dedicated to one company. In both cases, office buildings provide a workplace and working environment for a wide variety of workers. An office building will typically provide singular or open-plan offices, a reception area, at least one meeting room, photocopying rooms, kitchen facilities, staff areas and toilets. On top of this, they include all the usual areas that are typical of commercial buildings such as plant rooms, storage rooms and outbuildings.

What are the Risks?

There are many fire risks associated with office buildings:

  • Combustible materials
    Due to the nature of work that is commonly carried out in office spaces, there can be an increased amount of combustible materials present. Packaging and printed documents that are not disposed of correctly can easily catch fire if they are exposed to an ignition source, or cause an already established fire to spread more rapidly.
  • Footfall
    Given the size and the number of offices in some office buildings, they can see a vast amount of people pass through every day. Whether they are employees or visitors, an increased amount of people means an increased risk of fire. Not following procedure, or complacent attitudes, can increase the chances of fire.
  • Electrical appliances
    Offices are often full of electrical equipment. If that equipment is not correctly maintained or becomes faulty, it can cause a fire. On top of this, if plug sockets are overloaded, the result is the same.
  • Kitchen facilities
    If the building offers kitchen facilities, appliances such as microwaves, toasters and other cooking equipment can become faulty, especially given the frequency in which they will likely be used.
  • Smoking areas
    Most office buildings provide smoking areas for their tenants, if the proper facilities are not provided or cigarettes are not extinguished properly, then the risk of fire increases.

What are the Challenges?

When it comes to protecting office buildings from fire there are a number of hurdles to overcome:

  • Outbuildings
    Outbuildings are buildings which are separate to a main building such as garages, bin yards and external storage areas. These areas need to have suitable fire detection installed, which must be connected the main building’s fire alarm system in order to provide suitable warning of fire.
  • Flexible areas
    As one tenant leaves, the layout in some offices may need to be changed to accommodate the next tenant’s requirements. These changes may include new partitions, thus creating separate areas that will need their own detectors.
  • Niche areas
    Niche areas such as plant rooms require specific types of detection to overcome unique challenges, including the presence of atmospheric gases or chemicals.

What is the Solution?

Buildings as complex as this require a range of detection types to be installed across a wide variety of areas. The solution needs to be flexible, yet remain cost-effective. Therefore, a hybrid fire alarm system that combines hardwired and wireless detection technology can provide the perfect solution for office buildings.


Using Wi-Fyre, fire alarm system designers can use wired detection types such as linear heat detection for plant and boiler rooms, and traditional type detectors for communal and fixed areas, while using wireless detectors where necessary to provide a flexible solution.

Wi-Fyre can be installed as part of a new or existing system, by connecting as many Wi-Fyre transponders as necessary (limited to six per building) into the fire alarm wiring via a compatible interface module. Each transponder can communicate with up to thirty field devices such as detectors, sounders, manual call points and input/output modules.

Wireless devices can then be installed in areas such as outbuildings, to avoid the need for lengthy cable runs, and in office compartments that may be subject to change. When a change to the layout is required, Wi-Fyre devices can simply be moved to a different location, without the need to re-route or replace any cabling.

A wireless survey must be conducted from the device’s location before it is installed to ensure that the signal between the device and its transponder is strong enough for the system to operate effectively.

For more information about using Wi-Fyre in office buildings, or to learn about the other benefits of Wi-Fyre, please feel free to give us a call on +44 (0)1329 835024 or email [email protected] where we would be happy to answer any questions.

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