Commercial buildings include office buildings, medical centres, hotels, malls, retail stores, multifamily housing buildings, farm land, warehouses, and garages or, simply, any property that is used for commercial purposes.
Commercial properties vary in size but can be simple single room properties to larger buildings spanning multiple floors. Either way, they often contain valuable equipment and/or stock and can regularly welcome staff and visitors onto the premises. Therefore, it is essential that an efficient and reliable fire alarm system, that is suited to commercial properties, is installed.
What are the Risks?
The fire risks associated with commercial buildings can vary depending on the type of application. However, some common fire hazards include:
- Machinery and Equipment
- Commercial buildings are often home to a wide variety of machinery and electrical equipment. If not maintained properly this equipment can overheat, develop electrical faults or hotspots and set nearby materials alight.
- Flammable Materials
- Flammable materials such as packaging, chemicals and other stored items can cause a fire to spread very rapidly through commercial buildings. Therefore, it is essential that any fires are detected very quickly before they spread too far and cause irreparable damage.
- Staff and Visitors
- High volumes of people working in or visiting commercial buildings can make keeping areas free of clutter a challenge.
- Poor Housekeeping
- If combustible materials, such as general waste, public bins or packaging are not cleared away or stored correctly they can cause fire to spread more quickly. Furthermore, excess rubbish can obstruct fire escapes, hindering the safe evacuation of occupants in the event of fire.
What are the Challenges?
There are also a number of challenges that are often presented when it comes to protecting commercial buildings from fire. These can include:
- Access for maintenance can be limited depending on the type of building the fire detection system is installed. If, for example, the protected area is a manufacturing facility, it may be necessary to shut down operations to service the detection system. Therefore, it would be beneficial to use a fire detection solution that can be installed outside of the protected area.
- Area Size
- Large open spaces can often have unpredictable airflows. Doors opening and closing, varying levels of pedestrian traffic and movement from machinery can all cause the air in these spaces to behave erratically.
- Cooling and Heating Systems
- Cooling and heating systems can also cause unpredictable airflow, making it much more difficult for traditional detectors to detect the presence of smoke.
- Aesthetics of a building often have to be preserved, particularly in retail buildings or areas visited by customers. Traditional type detectors can be considered an eyesore.
- Machinery can cause obstructions, which not only impact evacuation procedures, but can also interfere with the behaviour of smoke, making it difficult to detect.
Aspirating smoke detection (ASD) provides reliable and effective smoke detection for a variety of applications, particularly in the commercial sector.
It uses powerful fans to draw air from the protected area into a sampling chamber where it is analysed for smoke particles. This method of actively collecting samples of air means smoke can be detected extremely quickly; often before it is visible to the human eye. It also means that it is unaffected by unpredictable airflows, building size or obstacles.
Aspirating smoke detection used discrete sample points, allowing the aesthetics of the protected area to be easily preserved and the detection unit can be installed in a central location, outside of the protected area, providing easy access for maintenance.
VESDA is the world’s leading aspirating smoke detection brand. The VESDA brand has evolved from being a specialist and niche technology to becoming an important part of the fire detection world. The new range of VESDA-E detectors now set the benchmark for performance, reliability and stability and bring with them increased flexibility.
The most common VESDA detectors used for commercial buildings are:
VESDA-E VEP Aspirating Smoke Detection
VESDA-E VEP aspirating smoke detectors use advanced Flair detection technology to provide a very early warning of fire while reducing the nuisance alarm events. The VEP range offers absolute calibration, multi-stage filtration and optical protection with clean air barriers to provide continual detection performance. VEP detectors have four alarm levels, a wide sensitivity range and use flow fault thresholds for each port to support changeable airflow conditions, making this range of detectors suitable for a host of commercial applications.
VESDA-E VES Aspirating Smoke Detection
The VESDA-E VES is similar to the VESDA-E VEP but includes a special valve mechanism enabling addressability across 4 pipes/sectors. This enables a single zone to be divided into four separate sub-zones. This allows the user to locate the source of smoke by identifying the first sector to reach the alert level. Once the first sector has reached the alarm level, the detector continues to sample from all sectors to monitor fire growth.
VESDA-E VEU Aspirating Smoke Detection
VESDA-E VEU aspirating smoke detectors have an Ultra-wide sensitivity range and provision for more sampling holes provides an increased coverage in high-airflow applications by up to 40%. Longer linear pipe runs and extended branched pipe network configurations cater perfectly to commercial applications with higher ceilings providing an increased coverage by up to 80% whilst allowing convenient detector mounting for ease of service and maintenance.
VESDA-E VEA Aspirating Smoke Detection
VESDA-E VEA combines the reliability of VESDA early warning smoke detection with pinpoint addressability and a range of annunciation options that exceed traditional spot detectors. Once a fire is detected the system uses a rotary valve to individually test each sampling point, allowing the detector to accurately pinpoint the location of a fire.
Why Choose Eurofyre?
- Xtralis Gold Partner
- Eurofyre has ‘Gold Channel Partner’ status with Xtralis – the market leader in aspirating smoke detection. This recognition displays our level of commitment, including excellent customer service and competitive pricing.
- Complete System Supplier
- Eurofyre is a complete system supplier and has been a major Xtralis technical wholesaler since 2007. This means we can offer expert advice and supply all aspects of fire detection including aspirating smoke detection systems, conventional and addressable fire alarm control panels and linear heat detection.
- Pipework Design
- Eurofyre can also provide assistance with aspirating pipe network design to ensure optimum network performance and installation quality.
- Demonstration and Training
- We have a sophisticated training facility where we offer demonstrations and expert training on a range of systems, including VESDA-E aspirating smoke detection systems.
- After-Sales Support
- Eurofyre prides itself on providing after-sales care and support that is second to none. We offer both on-site and telephone assistance to help you ensure that your system is fully operational and working at its best.
For more information about VESDA aspirating smoke detection, or to discuss any of the other products that Eurofyre have to offer, please feel free to get in touch either by phone on +44 (0) 1329 835 024, by email to [email protected] or via the online enquiry form situated on our contact page.