Plumis Automist has been used to provide an innovative fire safety solution for the conversion of Villiers House, a Regency-style building in the historic centre of the spa town of Leamington Spa, into 40 stylish apartments.
Special treatment was necessary to preserve the historic features of the building whilst achieving the contemporary design that the architects, Warwick-based Robothams envisaged. Automist was used to provide a compensatory alternative means of fire protection for 39 of the 40 apartments, which are open plan and do not have a separate lobby to protect the escape route.
Robothams had worked with Mainpoint Fire Protection of Cheltenham on previous contracts and knew that Mike Fowler, Mainpoint’s Director would be able to recommend a suitable solution. Mike had no hesitation in specifying the use of Automist, which uses water mist to suppress incipient fires before they can do any damage to properties, fixtures and fittings. The Automist system is activated utilising a dedicated heat alarm as recommended in Approved Document B, effectively eliminating nuisance alarms. Dependent upon requirements either hard wired or wireless detectors can be used. The Automist pump unit with integrated control unit was connected to the domestic water supply and requires only 6 litres of water per minute per nozzle to provide optimum fire suppression, which in comparison to traditional sprinklers minimises run-off and consequential water damage.
Warwick District Council Building Control Officers requested a Fire Engineered Report to reassure them that Automist would be suitable for installation in a building of the size of Villiers House. This was carried out by Graham Green on behalf of London Bridge Associates Ltd who was happy to concur with its use and consequently, 53 Automist units were installed. Paul Owen, Technical Manager of Spitfire Properties LLP, the contractor on the development would be happy to recommend Automist for use in similar projects. “The Plumis Automist system integrated very well into our high specification apartments. Aesthetically the product also worked well as it was installed around the base of the kitchen tap.”
Open plan fire safety protection Automist Plumis installations by Mainpoint
There’s no denying that homeowners appreciate the freedom, light, and sense of space that go with open plan layouts. Yet many open plan projects stumble or are halted because the layout would create dangerous inner rooms whose only escape route passes through the open area. So how can you provide open layouts with a safe fire escape route from these inner rooms?
Plumis Automist is a discreet fire suppression appliance designed for use in homes. The system activates when fire temperatures are detected, using a fine water mist to restore survivable conditions while occupants escape. The product includes nozzles that mount on a standard wall plate which can be matched to light switches and sockets in the home, and a small pump that can be located in a nearby cupboard. The result is almost invisible.
A minimal Automist system can serve up to 32m2 of floor area, and the system is easily extensible up to 96m2. For kitchen/diners, alternative nozzle mounts are available for use in conjunction with worktops and taps, allowing an excellent match to the design.
For three-storey houses with an open plan ground floor (four-storey if one is a basement), Automist eliminates the need for a boxed-in staircase as long as the kitchen is separate and a suitable fire door can be installed at first floor level. Such a layout can add considerable value to a loft converted house and does not need special attention or effort at the building control stage thanks to Automist’s LABC Registered Detail. More expansive open layouts may also be possible where a fire engineer or specialist Approved Inspector is involved. In apartments, Automist can often allow bedrooms that sit off a central living area, and, when refitting taller houses, it can sometimes even avoid the need to add a whole new staircase.
For more information please click on the open plan fire protection opportunities link or contact us now to discuss how we can help you.
LABC approved fire protection system with MainPoint
There is increasing demand for open plan living space and the Plumis Automist pre-engineered watermist solution from Plumis provides designers with an active fire protection option to protect escape routes and aid evacuation, offering design flexibility and reducing costs whilst meeting building regulations.
Building Control approval is essential and Automist, has now been assessed and accepted as an LABC Registered Solution – Registered Detail RD171 to provide active protection for escape routes and facilitate open plan layouts in suitable loft conversion applications. LABC Registration allows a company to register a product so individual local authorities can automatically approve it. The scheme enables much faster approval of most open plan layouts, allowing building control officers to approve loft conversion projects without a long and detailed investigation. It assures approvers that the system has been rigorously checked and independently peer reviewed. The scheme is designed to streamline the adoption of innovative solutions like Automist in appropriate applications.
Alan Hart, Plumis Commercial Director explains:
“Now that Automist is registered, it assures the whole construction industry that it has been rigorously checked by LABC members, enabling developers,architects, designers, technical specifiers and contractors to register or use existing design details to minimise the Building Control checking and approvals process in loft conversions with open plan ground floor.”
To make the process straightforward, approvers can download the relevant technical information and requirements that need to be verified on each particular layout by contacting Mike Fowler direct on 01242 584490 or you can see more information on our website at: Automist fire sprinklers.
First published in the Journal ABC and D September 2014.
MainPoint install an Automist Plumis fire prevention system in a students accommodation hall at Houseman Hall Boarding School, Bromsgrove.
Plumis Automist has been used and supplied by Mainpoint 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 and Worcester fire officers were not happy when they made their inspections because the areas had been part of a corridor there 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 Plumis 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 Plumis Automist successfully in a number of similar projects and were confident that it would provide a solution.
Plumis 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 termtime 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.
First published in the Journal ABC and D July 2014