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Those responsible for the specification of products which go into new modern buildings have been asking for safe, approved cabling, which play a critical part in electrical supply systems. The number of fires in high-rise buildings in Europe and the Middle East have brought the issue of quality of products for fire performance circuits into sharp focus, not least the Grenfell disaster. Meanwhile, new buildings become increasingly complex, with the use of new materials and the designs of many requiring complex electrical systems to support security and fire safety. New and refurbished buildings such as hospitals, schools, shopping malls or airports, may have complex addressable loop fire alarm systems which provide information on individual detectors. Conventional systems only provide information about specific circuits or zones. Indicating exact location of fire, fault For critical alarm circuits in buildings where large numbers of people move about there can be no greater priority than safetyThe addressable systems feature a fire control panel which receives information and status reports from each device, indicating its exact location and if there may be a fire, a fault, heat or contamination. For critical alarm circuits in buildings where large numbers of people move about – many of whom can be vulnerable – there can be no greater priority than safety. The cabling chosen for these systems is therefore critical. If the power to these alarm systems fails because the cabling does not meet the required performance, then the information available for fire and rescue services is directly affected and with it, the chance of finding people who may be in the building. To meet these design challenges, and with the inquiry into the Grenfell disaster still ongoing, it is the use of the very latest technology and science that is taking enhanced fire performance cabling onto a new level. Safe and compliant cable products Decision-makers in the supply chain want reassurance that the products they are specifying are safe and compliant, meeting all recognized specifications. Calls have been made by the Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) for all cable being used in the UK to conform to relevant British, European or international standards amid increasing concerns about the volume of non-approved cables coming onto the market. Installers have welcomed the development of a new generation of fire performance cabling Installers have welcomed the development of a new generation of fire performance cabling which ensures critical fire-safety circuits can continue to operate in the event of a fire from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes. The standard and enhanced cables in the Total Fire Solutions range are tubed, making them a welcome product for contractors with ease of installation. They are all UV stable and they all come with a hard insulant to resist any fault generation over time. These cables meet all relevant industry standards including ISO 9001 and is approved by the leading industry organizations nationally and worldwide including BASEC and LPCB. Carrying out fire risk assessment For the fire and rescue services, the continuity of power means they can continue to read fire alarm system information which can direct them to the seat of the fire and help to locate people who may be in the building. Responsibility for choosing the right system lies with the ‘responsible person’ under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in business or any other non-domestic premises. This will be the owner, employer, landlord, or may be the facilities manager or building manager. As the responsible person, he or she must carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly and put in place and maintain appropriate fire safety measures. Ultimately, the responsible person faces a fines or jail if they fail to follow these measures and there is a fire. For some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios Any items or products which go into these fire safety systems must be covered by standards set by national, European and international bodies such as British Standards. These will certify that when needed these products will perform their function and operate as expected in real life fire conditions. Ensuring cables meet fire safety standards In support of these standards, cable industry bodies provide testing regimes to ensure that different types of cable are fit for purpose and meet these standards when tested in fire conditions. For installers, or those procuring cables, there is a need to check the cable when it arrives to make sure it is exactly what was specified. Instances of unsafe non-approved cable continue to come to lightFor some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios. These include environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes where older people and children move about. Specifiers looking at new large public sector projects such as hospitals should refer to BS 8519 for the electrical supply, and the most relevant cabling system. Counterfeit Flexible Cords campaign Instances of unsafe non-approved cable continue to come to light. Unsafe flexible cord, intended for use in domestic and industrial applications, has been found on sale in the UK recently, prompting the ACI to issue a fresh alert to the electrical supply chain. The latest find of sub-standard flexible cords is marked ‘Made in Turkey’ and ‘Ermaks’. Samples came to light following the initiative’s recent ‘Counterfeit Flexible Cords’ campaign which alerted the electrical supply chain to dangerous industrial flexible cords. We in the supply chain should all be vigilant to watch out and report these instances of non-compliant cabling wherever we see or suspect they have been installed, while developing only the safest products and systems of our own. We shouldn’t forget that we all have a duty and a responsibility where lives and property are at stake. Importance of MV cables to infrastructure Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market should be independently approved and certified as compliantThe demand for power has never been greater, with the explosion of development in towns and cities across the UK and the growth of industrial development and technology reliant on consistent supplies. Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market should be independently approved and certified as compliant as the pressure mounts on the installation of quality products in modern building developments. MV cables are crucial to our infrastructure. Electricity leaves the generating site and is routed via a step-up transformer to take it up to the National Grid distribution voltages of 400Kv, 275Kv and 132Kv. Once in the local area, the supply goes through step-down transformers that reduce the voltage to 415V with domestic supplies tapped off at 230V. To provide power to the sub-stations – very often located on the premises of the establishment that they supply – Medium Voltage (MV) cables are used. MV cables were only developed as the level of voltages increased and the need arose for a greater classification range. design and specification of the cables The technical design and specification of the cables is of paramount importance within the power distribution networkThe size of the market has developed to the point where the global MV cables market was valued at 39.31billion US dollars in 2016 and projected to grow at a rate of more than six percent until 2022. The technical design and specification of the cables themselves is of paramount importance within the power distribution network. There are a number of technical considerations to be taken into account including the size of the installation, the position of the installation in relation to the network and the presence of primary and secondary sub-stations. Prior to installation, a detailed route survey should also be carried out to plan where cables will be jointed and to identify any possible obstructions which may require special civil engineering works such as directional drilling. Underlying the critical nature of supplies to these types of services, the incidence of non-approved cables for these applications also plagues the industry.
The continuity of power in the event of a real fire has never been more important as modern buildings become more complex and the need for the highest quality of products comes under the spotlight. With power for lighting and fire alarms, the fire and rescue services can use the intelligence gathered to evacuate people quickly, confident that they have found all the people in the building. Without power, they are literally scrambling in the dark without good information upon which to make their rescue. The continuity of power will also ensure that sprinkler or water mist systems can continue to operate where they exist. In commercial buildings, there may also be smoke evacuation fans which help to enable safe evacuation. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services Appropriate Cabling At the start of a project, the most appropriate cabling should be specified as part of the electrical system rather than at the end of a project. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services across individual areas and floors. At the same time, there are new designs, materials and products continually coming on to the market for major projects, and with it an increasing need for the various parties involved to work closely together to make sure they get it right. There has been an increasing incidence of non-approved cables on the market and unfortunately it is not until cables have been installed, tested or used that issues become clear. For installers, or those procuring cables, there is a need to check the cable when it arrives to make sure it is exactly what was specified. Should there be a problem, have it checked and seek good advice. Keep records of purchase, including reel flanges with batch markings and a sample of the cable markings. Send lengths for testing and then decide on the most appropriate course of action. Choice of cabling is crucial at the start of major projects as issues may occur later Meeting Rigorous Third-Party Tests For some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios. These include environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes where older people and children move about. Specifiers looking at new large public sector projects such as hospitals should refer to BS 8519 for the electrical supply, and the most relevant cabling system. It is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests This Code of Practice specifies that the type of system selected during the design phase ‘should be derived from a detailed process of consultation with the relevant authorities’ and that ‘the design should be agreed at an early stage.’ The decision-making process for cable selection relevant for life safety and firefighting systems is clearly defined here. This covers three categories ranging from 30 minutes to 120 minutes fire survival time. Categories 1 and 2 cover means of escape for 30 minutes and then 60 minutes respectively, and these cables are tested in accordance with the relevant codes. Category 3 for firefighting to 120 minutes refers to power and control cables meeting the 120-minute test according to the relevant standards. It should be emphasised that only Mineral Insulated Cable (MIC) or a cable meeting the requirements of BS7846 F120 will meet this criteria. For clarity, BS 8519 does not take precedence over BS 5839 for alarm systems and BS 5266 for emergency lighting. In essence, choosing the most relevant cabling and electrical accessories which will continue to operate under fire conditions has become critical. Application Of Medium Voltage Cables As the incidence of non-approved cables continues then so the application of Medium Voltage (MV) cables into high-risk environments including hospitals, schools, care homes, industrial sites and sub-stations serving infrastructure sites also becomes critical. In the context off fire engineering, it is important to select the relevant MV Cables in these areas. Adhering to the latest regulations is no longer enough - there needs to be a risk assessment. In order to do this effectively, it is important to ask – are the fire safety procedures up to date? All AEI MV cables are third party tested and approved by BASEC. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards The whole supply chain needs to take consideration of these areas where vulnerable people often move about such as children or elderly people in hospitals or care homes. The fire and rescue services may need a little more time than a conventional building including reading complex fire alarm information to ensure a safe rescue in the event of a real fire. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards. This is due to ageing structures, high volume of combustible materials, and changing use in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths programmes where more combustible and flammable liquids are being used. Concerns have been raised by architects and and designers about fire protection regimes Sufficient Fire Risk Assessment Recent research by the Fire Brigades Union, for example, showed that a key focus for all educational institutions must be ensuring that there is an effective fire risk management process in place, delivered by suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out by an expert in the field. The best practice under Business Information Modelling (BIM) and all best practice of fire safety engineering methods should be observed in conjunction with project partners. There have been concerns over a number of years around the fire protection regime for new buildings expressed by the architects and designers themselves. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) points to the delays to Approved Document B with regard to the relationship of Building Regulations to changing design and construction. AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service RIBA says the virtual disappearance of the role of the clerk of works or site architect and the loss of independent oversight of construction and workmanship on behalf of the client is a further issue for concern. In essence, RIBA believes that future proposals for the fire safety regulatory regime should be informed by the specialist fire safety expertise of relevant professional organisations and groups, and also take full account of this wider set of construction industry AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service with the support of its parent company Ducab based in Dubai, with the design, manufacture and supply of MIC, Firetec Enhanced or Firetec Power depending on specific needs. The choice of cabling and accessories should not be underestimated at the earliest opportunity to ensure the fire and rescue services are given every chance of success in rescuing people and saving property.
While whole room protection – sprinklers or gas systems – is a common choice, there is an argument for thinking smaller; taking fire detection and suppression down to the equipment, enclosures and even the components where a fire is most likely to start. Traditional Fire Suppression Methods A traditional water-based sprinkler system is the most common form of fire protection found in commercial and industrial buildings. They offer reasonable cost, large area protection for entire facilities, safeguarding the structure and personnel by limiting the spread and impact of a fire. Every square foot of the protected area is covered equally regardless of the contents of the space, whether it’s an empty floor or an object with an increased risk of fire. Sprinklers aren’t always the most appropriate choice. Not all fires are extinguished by water of course, and in some cases, water damage can be just as harmful or even more so than the fire. They are an impractical choice for instance for facilities housing anything electrical, such as data centres and server rooms. There is also the risk of accidental activation, with an estimated cost of up to $1,000 for every minute they are left running. Water damage can be just as harmful or even more so than any fire, so sprinklers may not be appropriate Targeted Supplementary Fire Suppression An alternative method to protect whole server rooms and data centres is gas fire suppression, which either suppresses the fire by displacing oxygen (inert) or by using a form of cooling mechanism (chemical/synthetic). These aren’t without risk; in the case of inert gas, oxygen is reduced to less than 15% to suffocate the fire, but must be kept above 12% to avoid endangering the lives of personnel. Similarly, clean agent gas can be toxic in high doses. There are smaller, focused systems that give the option of highly targeted supplementary fire suppression within fire risk areas. Installing a system directly into the areas most at risk, means that fires can be put out before they take hold and cause serious damage. Both sprinkler and gas systems can contain a fire, but micro-environment or closed space systems are completely automatic, detecting and suppressing the fire so rapidly that activating a sprinkler or gas total flooding system often isn’t necessary. The most popular enclosure fire suppression systems achieve this though the use of a flexible and durable polymer tubing that is routed easily through the tightest spaces. The tubing is extremely sensitive to heat and, because it can be placed so close to potential failure points, detects it and releases the fire suppression agent up to ten times faster than traditional systems. An airline was forced to cancel over 2,000 flights after a “small fire” in one of its data centers Cost-Effective Fire Protection Highly customizable, small enclosure fire suppression is specifically designed to protect business critical spaces and equipment. It is typically used inside machinery like CNC machines, mobile equipment like forklifts and inside server rooms and electrical cabinetry but is suitable for any hazard that’s considered to have an elevated fire risk. Some may question the need or cost-effectiveness of protecting micro-environments. However, examples abound of where fires that have started at component level have gone on to cause damage of the highest magnitude, and the cost of downtime can be crippling to many time-sensitive facilities and processes. An airline was forced to cancel over 2,000 flights in August 2016 when what was described as a “small fire” in one of its data centers ultimately led to a computer outage. The cost of that small fire, and the domino effect that quickly escalated from it, has since been announced as $150m. Admittedly that number is unusually high - the average cost of a data centre outage today is estimated at a more conservative $730,000 – but this is still an expense businesses can ill afford. Preventing Major Losses Staying with the transport industry, newer metros systems have redundant systems in place to prevent interruptions. However, older metro lines, such as the one in New York City, have experienced electrical fires that started small, but grew to such a magnitude that service was affected for months.Older metro lines, such as New York City's, have experience electrical fires that start small but grew exponentially A wind energy customer experienced a fire in a turbine converter cabinet. The loss of the cabinet was valued at over $200,000 and disabled the turbine for six weeks. Following investment in fire suppression systems inside the electrical cabinet, a subsequent fire was detected and suppressed before major damage could be caused. The cost on this occasion was therefore limited to a $25,000 component and downtime was less than two days.Equally - happily - there are also many instances where the installation of small enclosure fire suppression has prevented disaster. In the manufacturing world, CNC machines are valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars and need to be constantly operational to justify the investment. Oil coolant used in the machines can create a flash fire in an instant due to failed components or programming errors. The fact that many of these facilities are run ‘lights out’ with no personnel present further exacerbates the risk. If a fire is not dealt with immediately, the machine will be destroyed; sprinklers don’t react quickly enough for this scenario and would be ineffective. Ensuring Business Continuity One such flash fire occurred inside a protected CNC machine at a machine shop in Iowa. The polymer tubing ruptured within a fraction of a second, releasing the suppression agent and extinguishing the flames. The machine was undamaged and was operational again with a few hours. Contrast this to a previous fire at the same facility in an unprotected machine; it was out of operation for 4 days, costing the business thousands of dollars in downtime In short, fire protection is an essential element of our industrial and commercial environments to ensure both safety and business continuity. However, the nature of that protection is changing, as capacity increases to cost-effectively protect specific areas where fires are most likely to start. Risk mitigation analysis needs to look beyond what has been accepted in the past and find ways to further limit the impact of a small fire using this next level of protection. The benefits can really have a positive effect on the bottom line in the event of fire.
The VESDA portfolio is the most widely used advanced smoke detection technology in telecommunications and data centre applications Honeywell, a pioneer in Connected Buildings, announced its advanced smoke detection technology – capable of detecting and reporting smoke at its inception, before a fire develops – can now integrate with some of the most widely used fire panels in commercial buildings without the need for additional hardware or wiring. Combining Intelligent VESDA-E detection technology with NOTIFIER and Gamewell-FCI fire systems allows owners and operators to easily upgrade Connected Buildings to improve occupant safety. “The true measure of innovative technology in this industry is the ability to keep people safe faster and smarter, and VESDA has proven itself in this area for decades,” said Samir Jain, general manager at Honeywell Fire Americas. “Combining this advanced detection technology with proven legacy brands like NOTIFIER and Gamewell-FCI shows exactly what a smart building fire detection system looks like.” Prior notification about potential fire The Intelligent VESDA-E detector resides on the Signaling Line Circuit (SLC) loop of a fire panel and directly communicates with NOTIFIER and Gamewell-FCI fire systems. Unlike traditional spot detectors, VESDA-E’s patented technology actively draws in air from the environment and can notify building staff to potential fires before they develop. The technology is ideal when very early warning of a potential fire is needed and for highly secure environments where routine maintenance and servicing would disrupt daily operations. The VESDA portfolio, which Honeywell acquired from Xtralis in 2016, is the most widely used advanced smoke detection technology in telecommunications and data centre applications. It also is increasingly used in the healthcare, education, retail, logistics and transportation industries. Improving safety of building occupants From advanced fire protection solutions to smarter security capabilities, Honeywell helps owners and operators leverage building connectivity to simplify management of increasingly complex building environments and improve occupants’ safety. Honeywell’s portfolio consists of the most-trusted and best-known brands in the security and fire safety industries; each designed to be easy to use, install and maintain – even in the most demanding and critical environments. Being among the most widely used fire panels in commercial buildings, NOTIFIER and Gamewell-FCI customers can now maximise their protection capabilities with Intelligent VESDA-E technology.
The new line of addressable detectors includes photo, photo/thermal, and heat detectors, along with bases and accessories Honeywell, a pioneer in Connected Buildings, is helping customers get ahead of upcoming building code changes and improve fire detection through a new line of addressable smoke and heat detection devices available across all Honeywell Fire brands. The devices improve detection of fires involving synthetic materials that are commonly used in modern buildings, and offer improved system reliability against false alarms. In addition, these devices have been designed to meet new industry requirements that go into effect in the United States in 2020 – the UL 268 7th Edition standards – ensuring a smooth transition to the new codes. “Honeywell’s newest fire detection devices step up to the challenge of modern construction methods and codes with the latest technology in fire safety,” said Samir Jain, general manager for Fire Americas, Honeywell Home and Building Technologies. “Serving customers in more than 10 million buildings around the world, we were able to redesign our devices with an unwavering focus on customers and end users. Our products across all of our fire brands are easy to install and use with a lower cost of ownership without sacrificing safety.” Photo/thermal and heat detectors Whether it’s a photoelectric detector or more advanced multi-criteria solution, the Honeywell devices provide advanced features for fire or life safety systems So-called ‘addressable’ detectors connect to a fire alarm control panel and are assigned an address so responders can more easily locate the source of an alarm. The new line of addressable detectors includes photo, photo/thermal, and heat detectors, along with bases and accessories. Additional specialty detectors, including higher-sensitivity and combined carbon monoxide detectors, will be available in the coming months. Each spot-type detector is designed for ease-of-use, simple installation, and project flexibility. With varying base sizes, an expanded colour offering and modern design, the new line supports contemporary aesthetic needs to fit any environment. Whether it’s a photoelectric detector or more advanced multi-criteria solution, the Honeywell devices provide advanced features for fire or life safety systems. Beneficial to the small and medium sized facilities Honeywell addressable smoke detectors and accessories can be used in commercial building spaces across the country including offices, hotels, schools, airports, hospitals, high rise, retail, stadiums, military buildings and more. Small- to medium-sized facilities can benefit from photo and heat detectors in a contemporary white colour to meet popular design demands. Diverse commercial environments can integrate broader offerings, like remote test capabilities in the ducts, heat detectors in furnace rooms, photo detection across the main building, high sensitivity for a server closet, and the wider system connection. The new line of smoke detection devices will be available across Honeywell Fire brands: NOTIFIER, Honeywell Gamewell-FCI, Honeywell Farenhyt, Honeywell Silent Knight and Fire-Lite Alarms.
The Opal photoelectric smoke detectors are linked to Pearl control panels for enhanced protection money.co.uk recently completed a £3m renovation project to transform a Grade II listed castle into the ultimate high-tech workplace. To keep employees and visitors safe, innovative fire detection technology from Notifier by Honeywell has been installed throughout. Reliable fire detection system A Star Wars themed cinema, a library that has a secret passage in the bookcase, Rolling Stones themed bathrooms and TVs and Apple iPads in every room are just some of the impressive features of money.co.uk’s new headquarters. Located in a 10,000 square feet Grade II listed Victorian castle on the Bathurst Estate in Cirencester, the distinctive building provides a unique workplace setting and the interior, designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, reflects the eccentricity of the exterior. While it is the style of the workspace that has grabbed all the headlines, the building services infrastructure is also of the highest quality. Life safety is considered paramount and Bristol based APE Fire & Security was asked by the main contractor for the project—Interaction—to design, specify, install, and commission a fire detection system that could offer staff and visitors the highest level of protection. Unrivalled performance, scalability, and functionality “Trading for over 30 years, our business is well-established and boasts a wealth of experience and expertise” comments Peter Leonard, Director at APE Fire & Security. “We knew from the outset that this was going to be a challenging and interesting project to work on and would require an innovative solution. Having worked closely with Notifier by Honeywell for many years, we recommended using a Notifier system throughout, which would be based around its pioneering Pearl intelligent addressable control panel.” The advanced Pearl design offers best in class performance, scalability, and functionality. The networkable fire detection control panel is available in one or two loop models and has been specifically created to be immune from the threat of unwanted alarms. Opal photoelectric smoke detectors “For a building like this it is vital to maintain its fire safety and intrusion integrity” Linked to the Pearl control panels are Notifier’s Opal photoelectric smoke detectors. With a cutting-edge chamber design, Opal optical smoke detectors deliver excellent responsiveness and reduce sensitivity changes caused by settling dust. In the kitchen areas, SMART3 detectors are used, which utilise optical smoke sensing in conjunction with heat sensors, infrared flame sensing technology and sophisticated alarm algorithms to offer a fast response to flaming fires while providing superior unwanted alarm immunity. Via some very clever cause and effect programming, APE Fire & Security was able to integrate the Pearl control panel with the existing intruder and access control system. Asked why this was considered important, Peter Leonard replies, “For a building like this it is vital to maintain its fire safety and intrusion integrity, and that means making sure that doors and access points are closed when they should be. Now, if doors are propped open, certain areas are alerted through the fire detection sounders using an alternative tone, which is programmed through the Pearl panel. Occupants can then take action.” Refurbished contemporary workspace As the building was fully refurbished, the fire detection installation had to take place while people were working and, therefore, two loops were employed with 318 addresses on each loop. “This meant that people didn't need to vacate the building, as we could do the work in two phases and always have one loop in operation. It also meant that we could locate the main panel in the entrance foyer and have active repeater in rear door, in order to maximise the effectiveness of the system,” states Leonard. The project has been a complete success and has received plaudits for its unique take on a contemporary workspace. Joe Francis, Head of SEO at money.co.uk, concludes, “While it’s the style and décor of the castle that catches the eye, we also value the technology that is in place to protect us. By using Notifier’s products, APE Fire & Security has complemented the aesthetics of the building with devices that are reliable and provide the earliest warning of the broadest range of fire conditions.”