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.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Plumis Automist used to safeguard ‘Britain’s finest 20th Century folly’

Plumis Automist, the innovative water mist fire suppression system, was used to protect a unique 100 foot tower known as Faringdon Folly Tower, in a circular woodland in rural Oxfordshire. Faringdon Folly, built in 1935 by an eccentric nobleman was the last major folly to be built in England and is hailed as ‘Britain’s finest 20th Century folly’ and as ‘one of the most important follies in Britain’.

 "There are many single points of view, which equal, or perhaps surpass, that to be seen from this place, but when a circuit is made of its summit, and new beauties are found at every step, it cannot fail to be pronounced the finest circular view in the kingdom," Extract from Pigot & Co's Directory of 1824 on Faringdon’s Folly

There are 154 steps which lead to the 2 rooms at the top from where the roof is reached and there is no other access or exit and certainly no fire escape. As it is used for private functions like parties and naming ceremonies and is open to the public twice a month, Oxfordshire Fire Service recommended that fire suppression measures were taken and suggested it be installed in the entrance hall where the electrics are housed in a cupboard under the staircase. The Trustee, Eddie Williams believed that sprinklers were unattractive due to the need for pipes to be installed across the ceiling. He searched the internet for an alternative and was impressed by Plumis Automist which is a simple, retrofit, alternative to sprinklers for full room active fire protection. It works by using a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist and is activated utilising a heat detector as recommended in Approved Document B, effectively eliminating nuisance alarms. The device automatically and reliably detects and suppresses incipient fires before they can take hold and cause devastating damage and potential injury or loss of life. This was particularly crucial for a building which is open to the public and where access is so restricted. Automist is designed to limit fire growth and minimise exposure to toxic gases and heat making evacuation easier in an emergency and providing precious extra time for the unconscious and immobile, as well as sounding an alarm.

Automist was installed in a matter of hours with no disruption to the day to day running of the Folly and Eddie Williams would recommend Automist to others. “We take the safety of our public very seriously but, at the same time, didn’t want to compromise the historic nature or aesthetic value of the Folly so when we discovered Automist it solved many problems. We would definitely recommend it to others in the tourism businesses where visitor safety is paramount.”

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Plumis Automist adds considerable value to Windsor apartments

Plumis Automist has been used to provide an innovative fire safety solution for the conversion of offices to residential use. Bentley Apartments are in a stunning location next to Windsor Castle on Victoria Street. The 2 apartments both have an open staircase with glass balustrade leading down to an open plan basement living room/dining room/study and kitchen. There was no separate lobby to protect the escape route.

ABA Group Ltd were aware that Twickenham Borough Building Control officers would object to the layout unless a means could be found to provide fire protection but they were very anxious that the solution did not compromise the high-specification design of the apartments. They discovered Automist whilst searching for a solution online and called in Bracknell-based Vapourmist, the accredited installers for the system who readily specified an Automist unit to provide complete protection from the risk of fire throughout the apartments.

Automist gave ABA Group a number of active fire protection options to protect the escape routes and aid evacuation for a fraction of the cost of a traditional sprinkler system. Patrick Amos, ABA’s Director was pleased with Vapourmist’s recommendation. “Automist gave us complete design flexibility and was simple to install as it could be connected to the domestic water supply. Because it requires much less water than traditional sprinklers, there are great practical advantages in the event of a fire because run off would be minimised and the high-specification fixtures and fittings would not be in danger of being drenched as would be the case with sprinklers. We will definitely consider the use of Automist in similar designs in the future.”

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Plumis Automist provides fire protection in Cheltenham development

Plumis Automist was used to provide active fire suppression in a new development of five 2 and 3 storey detached houses in Church Street, Charlton Kings, an affluent suburb of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. The view of Cheltenham Borough Council Building Control was that, because each property had a large amount of glazing adjacent to the boundary of the site this constituted a fire risk. The proximity of walls to any boundary line determine how much glazed area can be used for a window. For example, if the wall is within 1.0m of the boundary then the window or door can only have 1.0m² of unprotected glazing unless alternative measures are put in place such as the use of sprinklers. The developers, Sptifire Properties LLP were very reluctant to install sprinklers which would potentially have caused water damage in the event of a discharge. They had had Automist installed in an apartment complex they had constructed in Leamington Spa in 2014 and believed that it would represent an ideal solution so they called on Mainpoint Fire Protection of Cheltenham, the local accredited Automist installer.

Automist is an innovative water mist device which controls and suppresses incipient fires, significantly reducing the risk of injury, loss of life and property damage for as long as possible giving the occupants vital time to evacuate. It reduces the temperature of the room in the region of the fire by consuming much of the fire’s energy. This is achieved by the water’s conversion into steam, thereby suppressing the flames without drenching the room. Automist also reduces the presence of smoke and toxic gases by producing large amounts of inert steam in the vicinity of the fire. This excludes oxygen which lessens temperatures thereby slowing the oxidation of the fire. Automist also prevents flashover because the temperatures are constrained. Finally, the structural elements of the property that are in the sprayed path are cooled down, allowing them to resist the fire for longer.

Mainpoint installed 2 pump units, 1 worktop mounted spray nozzle, 1 wall mounted spray nozzle and 2 240V heat detectors in each of four properties with a second wall mounted spray nozzle being installed in the fifth. The system was installed at basement level in the kitchen/breakfast room of the 3 storey houses and a similar room at ground floor level in the 2 storey house.

Paul Owen, Spitfire’s Technical Manager was delighted with the solution: “The use of Automist allowed the development to proceed seamlessly without impinging on the design of the properties, which depended on the use of significant amounts of glass. We will definitely use Automist in future developments.”