Providing reliable fire detection for any type of property can have its challenges. Different environments come with different obstacles to overcome; some areas require specialist detection, some have limited access and some have restrictions in place to protect the aesthetics of the property.
Before installing a fire detection system in any property, it is vital that all options are considered and that the system is designed by a professional to ensure that it is suitable, reliable, cost-effective and that it meets all the regulations of the building.
The Turnbull Building, Newcastle
The Turnbull Building in the centre of Newcastle is a Grade II listed apartment building that was made famous in 2001 when a flat there was sold for £1M, the first time a flat had sold for this much in the North East.
The Turnbull building hosts a number of high-end flats and their tenants are charged a princely sum for service charges and maintenance. However, for the last few years, the building and its residents have been plagued with nuisance fire alarms.
False alarms have been reported to occur more than once per day and as many as four in one night. The issue is so severe that residents are concerned that if there was a real threat of fire in the building that tenants would assume it was another false alarm and not take any action.
Walton Robinson Estate Agents were appointed as managing agents towards the end of 2018 and inherited a number of issues from the previous managing agent. Since then they have been liaising with stakeholders to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.
What are the Challenges with a Building Such as the Turnbull Building?
The Turnbull Building is Grade II listed, and as expected with any old building, providing reliable fire detection can be challenging. The fact that this is also a residential building only adds to the challenges:
Due to the buildings listed status, the aesthetics of the building must not be altered.
As the apartments are occupied by private tenants, access for installation, maintenance and repairs can be limited.
As the building offers 24-hour access to tenants, with a steady flow of people in and out of the building, installation, maintenance and repairs must cause as little disruption to the operation of the building as possible.
What is the Solution?
Eurofyre’s Hybrid Fire Detection System, Wi-Fyre, combines hardwired and wireless fire alarm devices and can provide the ideal solution for buildings like the Turnbull Building. Wi-Fyre allows hardwired and wireless devices to coexist seamlessly to form part of the same fire detection solution. This means that wired devices can be used where there are no restrictions and wireless devices can be used anywhere else. A hybrid system combines the reliability of hardwired components with wireless technology and, therefore, does not depend solely on wireless technology to operate effectively.
With Wi-Fyre, hardwired devices can be used in back-of-house areas such as storerooms and maintenance cupboards, as well as in corridors and communal areas. Wireless devices can then be used in areas where access is limited, such as private quarters.
As wireless devices do not require any cabling, they can also be used in areas where aesthetics must remain intact or where time is limited. This makes providing fire detection for listed buildings much easier.
In areas that require specialist detection types, such as bin yards which may require robust and waterproof detectors or boiler rooms where linear heat detection may provide the best coverage, Wi-Fyre wireless I/O devices can be used to transmit the condition of the detector wirelessly to the control panel.
Wi-Fyre actively monitors the battery life of all of its connected devices and provides plenty of warning when the batteries require changing.
How Wi-Fyre Works
Wi-Fyre uses wireless transponders, installed into the fire alarms wiring via a compatible interface to communicate with wireless field devices. Each transponder can communicate with up to 30 devices such as wireless detectors, wireless sounders, wireless manual call points and wireless input/output devices.
A Wi-Fyre Wireless Survey Head is also available and must be used to ensure that the signal between the transponder and the devices connected to it is strong enough for the system to operate effectively.