VESDA for Heritage Buildings


A heritage, or listed, building is one that is protected by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. This means that the building can not be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from the local planning authority, which typically consults the relevant central government agency, particularly for significant alterations to the more notable listed buildings.

In some circumstances, owners are obligated to repair and maintain listed buildings and when doing so are often required to use specific materials and techniques to maintain the style and appearance of the property. 

There are many different types of heritage sites; they can be significant buildings, monuments, structures, bridges or sculptures – even the Abbey Road zebra crossing made famous by the Beatles is listed. However, heritage sites are predominantly buildings such as museums, libraries and stately homes.

These buildings are most often of historical importance. They can also contain valuable and/or important artefacts and, therefore, must be protected from fire. 

What are the Risks?

There are a variety of risks often associated with heritage buildings. These can include:

Often, heritage properties can contain a lot of artefacts and other objects that collect dust. Excessive amounts of dust can be flammable and cause fire to spread rapidly.
Staff and Visitors
High volumes of people working in or visiting heritage buildings can cause issues when trying to keep areas free of clutter. This not only increases the risk of fire, but can also hinder efficient evacuation.
Poor Housekeeping
If combustible materials, such as general waste, public bins or packaging are not cleared away or stored correctly they can also cause fire to spread more quickly. This too can obstruct fire escapes.
Timber Structures
Heritage buildings are typically very old and constructed using flammable materials such as wood. This can burn easily and cause fire to spread rapidly.
Thatched Roofs
Other construction methods such as thatched roofing can also be very flammable and create dust that can easily catch fire and burn quickly.

What are the Challenges?

False Alarms
Dust, dirt and other debris can all cause false alarms. If the right fire detection technology isn’t used, nuisance alarms can be frequent and the reliability of the fire alarm system will be jeopardised.
It is usually a requirement that the aesthetics of heritage buildings must be preserved. Therefore, traditional style point detectors that are unsightly and conspicuous are not an option.
Large Areas
Some heritage buildings can have large open spaces that present some unique challenges for smoke detection. High ceilings can cause smoke stratification, and voluminous areas can delay the time it takes smoke to reach detectors.
Some heritage buildings have restricted access. Some areas that need to be preserved aren’t accessible by the public which can make access for maintenance difficult.
Heritage buildings can have a lot of visitors every day. This means that evacuation can be difficult. Therefore, it is important that any fires or potential fires are detected with enough time to evacuate all occupants to safety.

The Solution

Aspirating smoke detection (ASD) provides reliable and effective smoke detection for a variety of applications and is well suited to heritage buildings.

ASD uses powerful aspirators to draw air from the protected area into a sampling chamber where it is analysed for smoke particles. Actively collecting samples of air from the protected area means that smoke can be detected very quickly; in many cases, before it becomes visible to the human eye. This method of collecting samples means that detection of smoke is unaffected by unpredictable airflows, building size or obstacles.

Aspirating smoke detection uses discrete sample points, allowing the aesthetics of the protected area to be easily preserved. The detector itself can be installed in a central location, outside of the protected area, to provide easy access for maintenance.

VESDA, from Xtralis, is the most advanced aspirating smoke detection brand in the world. Thanks to continuous and innovative research and development from Xtralis, ASD has evolved from being a specialist and niche technology to becoming a key part of the fire detection industry. Their most recent range of detectors, VESDA-E, now set the benchmark for performance, reliability and stability and bring with them increased flexibility.

The most common VESDA detectors used for heritage buildings are:

VESDA-E VEP Aspirating Smoke Detection

VESDA-E VEP detectors are built on Xtralis’ FlairTM detection technology, a revolutionary detection chamber, to deliver very early warning of fire, improved rejection of nuisance alarms, higher stability and increased longevity. 

VESDA-E VES Aspirating Smoke Detection

The VESDA-E VES is similar to the VESDA-E VEP but includes a special valve mechanism that enables addressability across 4 pipes/sectors. This enables a single zone to be divided into four separate sub-zones, allowing 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.

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