Developed early in the 1990’s, analogue addressable fire alarm systems are now considered to be a natural choice for larger premises and more complex requirements. Suzanne Callander looks at some recent projects

In an analogue addressable fire system, the detectors will be wired in a loop around the building, rather than the more conventional radial circuits, with each detector having its own unique ‘address’.

Such a system will usually contain a number of loops, depending upon the system size and design requirements. The control panel is then able to communicate and receive status reports from each detector individually. This allows it to display the exact location of a device of interest. Zoning, which is necessary in more conventional systems, is therefore no longer a requirement.

A specialist education facility in Manchester is being protected by a C-TEC ZFP four-loop analogue fire alarm control panel.

The unit incorporates a touch screen interface, which is said to have proved invaluable in the installation, at the Together Trust’s Bridge College, which is an independent college for students aged between 16 and 25 years living with disabilities, complex needs and autism.

Commenting on the project, Andy Green, C-TEC’s marketing manager, said: “The visual aspect of the unit is impressive as all devices installed in the system are displayed clearly on the panel’s touchscreen interface. Therefore, if the panel identifies a faulty device, you can immediately see which one it is.”

The panel has been linked to an array of devices, including 150 Apollo smoke and heat detectors as well as 90 C-TEC addressable loop sounder/beacons located throughout the site.

The fire alarm system has been programmed as a simple ‘one out, all out’ system due to the nature of the building. “The ZFP is capable of very powerful cause and effects and complex phased evacuation strategies but, as every classroom has an exit door and the building has only one floor, a basic evacuation program was deemed adequate for this project,” said Green.

A complex project

Located just outside Newcastle, Cobalt Business Park has played a vital part in the regeneration of the region. The complex consists of around 40 individual buildings and is home to a number of blue chip multi-national organisations.

Cobalt Business Park offers access to a wide range of facilities and boasts a surgery, a nursery, restaurants, a swimming pool, a fitness suite and a 500 capacity delegate conference centre.

To ensure high levels of protection to everyone working in the complex, the site owner, Highbridge Properties, ensured that each of the buildings was fitted with a state-of-the-art fire detection system as part of an overall building services infrastructure and this task fell to ARC365, a life safety installation specialist.

Although the buildings that comprise Cobalt Business Park are all different shapes and sizes, and house many different types of organisations, ARC365 tries to keep the fire detection systems as consistent as it can and has  introduced as many common features as possible.

Chris Harris, director of ARC365, takes up the story: “When the developer has a client for a building, a complete fire detection system is designed and installed, based on the layout required by the client. If a building is unused, we usually just install a limited fire detection system in shell and core areas such as stairwells, until it is occupied.

All of the systems installed are analogue addressable and most use Hochiki Europe’s Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP), a communications solution for intelligent fire detection and fully integrated systems. It has a multi-purpose structure that provides the flexibility and expansion to accommodate simple addressable systems through to integrated building management and safety systems.

The buildings’ fire detection systems are also compliant to the BS 5839 category L1 standard, which means that automatic detectors are deployed throughout all areas – including roof spaces and voids.

Unwanted and false alarms are a problem in any type of building but in offices, where there is a high density of people, they are particularly disruptive. Where possible, ARC365 installs Hochiki Europe’s ALG-EN optical smoke sensors. Harris explained why: “The innovative chamber design of these sensors minimises the differences in sensitivity experienced in flaming and smouldering fires. The result is a high performance optical chamber that is equally responsive to all smoke types and helps to reduce the possibility of unwanted alarms, as the algorithms in the devices can be adjusted to account for the different environments that they are used in.”


A wireless solution

Apollo fire detectors are have been protecting Exeter Cathedral for some time, supplied and commissioned by Technical Alarm Systems (TAS).

TAS is now working on the second of a three-phase project which includes connecting the Cathedral’s library to the main fire system. For this phase of the project it has specified Apollo’s intelligent, wireless, detector range, XPander, where individual units communicate with the XP95 range of analogue addressable fire detectors via radio signals, removing the need for wiring or invasive drilling – a good solution in architecturally sensitive buildings. The work will also see equipment being installed in new education rooms based in the cloister area, using the XP95, which will be networked onto the existing system.


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