Welcome to the Plumis fire protection blog. Stay informed about domestic fire safety, fire building regulations and ADB-compliant solutions for open plan living. Please feel free to browse through the posts and comment about what you read.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Automist solves a problem in St Andrews townhouse

Automist has been installed as the fire suppression solution for a brand new 4 storey townhouse in St Andrews, Scotland. Due to the height of the building Local Building Control determined that a residential sprinkler or alternative solution was required to comply with the Scottish Building Regulations. However, a conventional sprinkler system was not acceptable to the end client, so the builder recommended Automist to the owner as a potential alternative. They contacted Plumis Automist and Unite Security and Electrical of Perth the local Accredited Installers provided a turnkey design, installation and certification service, which included initial survey, design proposals and liaison with Building Control to ensure compliance and approval. The system comprises of 5 pumps, 6 wall and 1 tap mounted spray head emitter, which in the event of a fire will provide a fine water-mist spray to suppress the fire and aid escape. The owner is very pleased with the Automist solution and has approved the use of the project details and provided the attached images as a case study example.

Automist allowed period-built Gyde Barn to comply with building regulations

Plumis Automist provided an innovative fire safety solution for period-built Gyde Barn in Painswick, Gloucestershire. The stone-built property contained 4 bedrooms in the upstairs living space, which meant that in the event of a fire, escape would have been down a staircase through an open plan living area. When Millar+Howard workshop Architects from Chalford near Stroud were asked to design the conversion they knew that the open plan layout and height of the living area and the lack of a separate protected escape route would be a problem for Building Regulations. They were reluctant to install sprinklers as they would drench the property in the event of a fire, causing considerable water damage. They would also have been visually obtrusive and the necessary water tanks would have taken up precious space. They contacted Mainpoint Fire Protection of Cheltenham who specialise in the supply, installation and maintenance of fire protection equipment in the Cheltenham area to recommend a suitable solution.

Alan Gatenby, Mainpoint’s Fire Protection Consultant had no hesitation in recommending Automist from Plumis which he had installed in numerous similar projects. Automist’s unique design makes installation neat and economical with the need for significantly less pipe work and therefore disruption than a traditional sprinkler system.  This unique fire suppression device aims to control and suppress fires, significantly reducing the risk of injury, loss of life and property damage by maintaining tenable conditions for as long as possible while the occupants evacuate. This is achieved in several ways. Room temperatures in the region of the fire are reduced  because much of the fire’s energy is consumed in converting water to steam. The presence of smoke and toxic gases is significantly reduced by the production of copious amounts of inert steam in the immediate vicinity of the fire. This excludes oxygen, locally reducing temperatures and thus slowing the oxidation reactions of the fire. Flashover (the rapid ignition of combustible items in the room) is prevented by constraining room temperatures. Finally, structural elements of the home that are in the sprayed path are cooled, allowing them to resist the fire for longer.

Millard + Howard were delighted with the solution provided by Automist. “Four wall mounted Automist heads were installed in the open plan living area on the ground floor. In conjunction with appropriate complementary measures such as a suitable smoke alarm system, Automist effectively allowed the property to comply with building regulations whilst providing fire suppression in all access rooms and fitting in seamlessly with the overall design of the property.”

Plumis Automist avoids disrupting student lives

Plumis Automist has been used in one of the country’s larger independent boarding schools in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire by Mainpoint Fire Protection as a key part of an alternative fire protection scheme. The innovative watermist fire suppression solution was installed in Housman Hall, a newly built, 2 storey accommodation block. The 500 year old school is set in 100 acres of grounds and educates 1500 pupils from 2 to 18.

The school had installed a common area at the end of each floor but Hereford & Worcester fire officers were not happy when they made their inspections because the areas had been part of a corridor where the access to the outside was via an open plan area. The conventional solution of providing a protected enclosed stairwell, would have restricted the available space for the students’ recreation. The use of alternative compensatory measures, such as sprinklers was undesirable due to the danger of accidental discharge which could affect the fabric of the school and also disturb the students. Furthermore, installation of sprinklers would have been time consuming and costly.

The fire officers had seen a demonstration of Automist and had no hesitation in recommending its use to overcome the problem and called in Mainpoint Fire Protection, who specialise in the supply, installation and maintenance of fire protection equipment in the Midlands. Mainpoint had used Automist successfully in a number of similar projects and were confident that it would provide a solution.

Automist suppresses flames and limits smoke and heat which could have seriously affected the students, important considerations for a school where their welfare is paramount. It also uses significantly less water than traditional sprinklers minimising runoff and consequential water damage. “The school was delighted with the installation and the fact that it took just 1 day during a busy term time and caused no disruption to the smooth running of the school or the students’ day-to-day lives.” commented Alan Gatenby, Mainpoint’s Fire Protection Consultant.

The specification of Automist was approved by Worcester and Herefordshire Fire Brigade and was completed in December 2013.