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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Growing Business Awards Announces Innovator of the Year Winner

Fire protection manufacturer Plumis wins national business accolade

London, 26th November, 2014: The Real Business Growing Business Awards, held in association with Lloyds Bank and supported by the CBI, announced the 2014 winners last night at a ceremony held at the London Marriott Hotel.

Innovator of the Year was won by London based Plumis. The business offers affordable alternatives to domestic fire sprinklers, having developed a series of innovative fire suppression systems. Established in 2008, Plumis produces Automist, which is counted as one of the top 15 British inventions of the last decade by the British Library.

Judges commented: “Yusuf Muhammad (design director and co-inventor of Automist) is truly passionate about his product and his company. This business is achieving great commercial outcomes and is a credit to the system.”

The Innovator of the Year category celebrates genuine innovation in all aspects of business, ranging from unusual management strategies to disruptive business models and from ground-breaking product design to cutting edge manufacturing techniques.

Online investing via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, was awarded Highly Commended. Also in the running for this category were water repellent technology manufacturer, P2i, call-centre solutions provider, Orderly Telecoms and security specialists, Metro Security. 

Plumis Design Director Yusuf Muhammad commented: "We are delighted to win this award and be recognised for our company’s innovative approach. At Plumis we seek to create products and services that set the standard for seamless property and life protection in the home, and enable modern open layouts that meet the fire safety requirements of Building Regulations."

Tim Hinton, Managing Director, SME & Mid Markets at Lloyds Bank, commented: “The Growing Business Awards are an important opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate UK business successes across a wide variety of industries. The stories behind this year’s award winners are incredibly interesting and motivating. It’s great to see the combination of personal passion and clever business thinking that have driven these businesses forward.”

Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said: “These firms all have a keen eye for innovation, which is crucial to driving their growth success, but also that of the broader economy. Their journeys should be an inspiration to all UK entrepreneurs.

“Huge congratulations to all the winners for their commitment, determination and success.”

Amy Carroll, Group Editor at Caspian Media, added: “The Growing Business Awards celebrated its 16th year with more entries than ever before. We are the most established and respected national recognition of SME and entrepreneurial success. The creativity and dynamism shown by this year’s entrants has been fantastic, it was a pleasure to see all their hard work rewarded at last night’s ceremony.”

The awards night was hosted by comedian Ed Byrne, and included a keynote speech from Richard Reed, co-founder of innocent drinks.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Firemaster SW use Plumis Automist for compliance with fire safety regs

When Mark Evans of FireMaster SW was asked to provide a risk assessment for a tourism business in North Devon, right at the beginning of the holiday season, he identified the problem of a compromised first floor escape route from an inner bedroom. And following consideration of the issue he recommended Automist from Plumis, an alternative innovative residential fire suppression solution, which uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water suppression mist from nozzles. Automist overcame the problem of a compromised first floor escape route from an inner bedroom which had been jeopardised by the erection of a glass porch on the ground floor. Gemma McQuillam, the manager of the North Devon Surf School was keen to comply with all of the fire safety regulations placed upon her for the holiday let (i.e. Fire Safety Order, Housing Act and Building Regulations). However, she wanted a solution which would avoid the need for the removal of the porch and which could be installed in a day without disruption to the business at this critical time of year. Plumis Automist was an ideal solution to the problem.

Automist can be mounted on a wall or on the side of the staircase with the pump assembly hidden under the staircase, under a standard monobloc mixing tap or stand alone on a work top. In this case, Automist was installed on a lounge wall with pipework running from under a bath and through the bathroom wall. The benefits which were particularly relevant to the Surf School included uncomplicated and simple installation to deliver rapid automatic fire suppression.  Gemma greatly appreciated the neatness and cost-effectiveness of Automist and the fact that there was considerably less pipework than for a traditional sprinkler system. And she is pleased that, in the event of a discharge, there would be greatly reduced water damage compared to a traditional sprinkler system.

She was particulary impressed by Automist’s aesthetic attractiveness and its unobtrusiveness which reduced its visual impact – very important in the  tourism business. 

“We would thoroughly recommend FireMaster and Automist to anyone in the holiday let business for a simple and very tidy solution to fire safety.”

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Automist keeps students safe

Plumis-Automist, the innovative watermist fire suppression solution, has been installed in 7 refurbished student flats in Nottingham as an aesthetic, lower cost, lower risk alternative to sprinklers. The developers, Azamour Investments Ltd, refurbished the building, which was built around 1900 to contain 9 single bedroom flats and bedsits. They were advised by Building Control that fire protection was necessary in the kitchen areas of 7 of them due to their open plan design. The investor was recommended to install Automist to keep the students safe and to comply with Building Regulations by their Approved Building Control inspectors operating as an alternative to Local Authority Building Control.

They called in Yorkshire-based Blue Light Safety Ltd, an independent fire safety company offering a total solutions service for every aspect of fire safety. Blue Light had been introduced to Automist by a retired Fire Safety Officer who believed in the benefits provided by Automist. These include rapid and automatic fire suppression and neat and economical installation. Significantly less pipework is needed and disruption is kept to a minimum compared to a traditional sprinkler system. And there would be greatly reduced water damage to the fabric of the property, fixtures and fittings in the event of a discharge, which was important in the newly refurbished dwellings. Automist can save lives and prevent devastating damage by suppressing flames and limiting smoke and heat. It provides full room active fire protection, and offered the developers the freedom and flexibility to provide modern, contemporary, open-plan layouts whilst still complying with Building Regulations, the RRFSO and keeping occupants safe.

Daniel Smith MIFSM MIFPO, Commercial Director who founded Blue Light in early 2012 considers Automist to be an excellent product which can be used in many applications where fire safety is paramount and says: “There was no hesitation in fitting Automist in the flats.”

Water mist provides a solution for persistent arson attempts

Arson is the no.1 cause of fire in the UK. Since 1997 the number of malicious fires in Britain has risen to more than 123,000 a year; 50 people die in fires started by arsonists and 3,200 are injured. This causes serious problems to the authorities. Camden Council had a severe difficulty with an arsonist housed pre-trial in a temporary shelter who needed to be monitored 24/7 because of the danger of recidivist behaviour. However, there was still a time delay between an hourly round for an attempt at arson, during which time considerable damage to property and life was possible. The cell was fitted with a heat detector which in turn was linked to the communal fire alarm system. Therefore, when the prisoner smoked in their cell the alarm was activated throughout the whole building, causing considerable disruption for residents and staff alike.

Elite Fire Safety Ltd of Northfleet were contacted by the maintenance department of Camden Council to see if they could provide a solution. Following a site meeting at the building Elite Fire Safety Ltd recommended the use of Automist, an active fire protection system which uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist. The existing heat detector was removed from the cell and an independent hard wired with lithium battery back-up battery smoke detector was installed to control the Automist system in addition to activating a flashing beacon fitted in the reception area thus advising the staff on duty that a breach of the rules had occurred. The Automist wall-mounted spray nozzle was hidden behind a protective metal cage to prevent interference. Since Automist was installed the common parts alarm is no longer activated and there is no further requirement for 24 hour monitoring.

The system was activated soon after installation, the arsonist was sprayed with water mist and the fire was controlled. After a second system activation they learnt their lesson, changed their behaviour and there have been no further incidents.

Neil Perring of Elite Fire safety is delighted with the outcome. “Because of the success of this installation, Camden Council is considering using Automist in 4 high risk rooms for arsonists in a dedicated hostel.”

Automist fire protection for prestigious development

Plumis-Automist the innovative watermist fire suppression solution has been installed in a prestigious London development as an aesthetic, lower cost, lower risk alternative to sprinklers and all the parties involved are delighted with the installation.

In the heart of Marylebone Village, 18 Marylebone High Street is said to be one of the world’s most exclusive locations. The development of 5 spacious flats with extensive balconies and external terraces arose from the conversion of an old commercial building. But of course Building Control had to be consulted and complied with, just as in a less prestigious project. Elite Fire Safety Ltd of Dartford in Kent was called in to provide fire protection by Design Coalition for their client the Vigo Group who was undertaking the conversion. Neil Perring, Elite’s Managing Director had to communicate and negotiate with the Building Control company Quadrant to obtain approval and recommended an innovative product to meet the requirements of Approved Document B.

Automist, manufactured by Plumis, is the first active fire suppression system to provide a more affordable alternative to sprinklers, whilst completely satisfying the demands of fire regulations and designers alike. Automist uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles mounted under a standard tap and provides residential fire and life protection without the drawback of excessive water discharge associated with sprinklers. Dependent upon layout and suppression requirements the innovative system allows nozzles to be mounted on work tops or neatly in a bespoke wall mounted unit. There is no need for wiring or complicated pipework hence design and aesthetics are not compromised – vital in this prestigious development.

Most of the flats in Marylebone High Street were fitted with a single nozzle system, but the 4th floor flat was fitted with a 2 nozzle system due to its size and the complexity of its escape route.

The Vigo Group were delighted with Elite’s recommendation and have subsequently invited the Dartford company to work on a further conversion site at Endford Street, in Central London. Neil Perring owes much of the success of the Marylebone High Street project to Automist. “Without the design flexibility that Automist offers, the development would have been less aesthetically attractive and also more costly because there would have been much more disruption caused by the installation of pipework and wiring. We definitely plan to use Automist in the future for projects where the demands of Building Control and aesthetic considerations are both paramount.”

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Automist prevents arson damage

Exeter City Council installed Automist from Plumis in the flat of a vulnerable resident who had already set fire to his flat 3 times. The innovative fire suppression device is designed to significantly reduce the potential for fire damage. The Council needed a reliable solution to the problem because each attempt at arson risked significant damage to property and, more significantly, potential harm to the resident and those around him. 

The Council called in Mark Evans, Director of Fire Suppress, who provide Fire Protection solutions throughout the South West and South Wales. Mark had used Automist from Plumis in the past and installed 2 units with 2 heads each to provide protection for the bedroom, lounge, hallway and kitchen in the property. 

In a recent incident the resident went on to attempt arson a fourth time and deliberately damaged the Automist heads. Nevertheless, the units were activated, effectively preventing a serious fire. Automist uses significantly less water than a traditional sprinkler system, considerably reducing consequential water damage but because the heads were sabotaged, there was some water damage. However, Exeter City Council were pleased that a fire was successfully prevented.  

Automist’s unique design means it is significantly cheaper than other automatic fire extinguishers, home fire suppression devices and residential sprinklers. Installation is neat and economical with the need for significantly less pipework and therefore disruption than a traditional sprinkler system. Nevertheless, when the Council were given the quote for installation they were concerned about the investment as they needed demonstrable proof that this ground-breaking device would do everything it claimed. Fire Suppress were able to negotiate a 3 year buy back scheme, so confident were they that Automist would perform well in the detection and control of any fire and thus provide improved protection against injury, life loss and property damage.