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.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Mainpoint Fire Protection use innovative solution for fire protection in old boot repair premises

Plumis – Automist was installed by Mainpoint Fire Protection as a key part of an alternative fire protection scheme which was required because the refurbishment of a 1930’s factory into three buildings did not allow sufficient access for the fire brigade in the event of a fire. Building Regulations Fire Safety (Part B) Section 11, paragraph 2 states that: “There should be vehicle access for a pump appliance to within 45m within the dwelling house.” 103 St Mary’s Road in Oxford had been the boot repair department of Oxford Co-operative Society until it closed in the 1970’s. It remained derelict until SM Developments bought the building with a view to transforming it into 3 houses. The 2 dwellings furthest away from the entrance did not allow sufficient access to allow the fire brigade’s hoses to be extended therefore Oxford City Council Building Control officers stipulated the installation of a fire suppression system.

Steven Moss, the MD of the developer researched fire suppression on the internet and discovered Plumis Automist. He was pleased that Oxford City Council Building Control officers validated his choice by also recommending the innovative and highly cost effective product. He had no hesitation in contacting Mainpoint Fire Protection, Automist accredited installers who proposed installing 2 Automist pumps in both properties under the sink in the open plan kitchen/dining area and in an under stair cupboard. Automist uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles to suppress any fire. It is also extremely reliable because sensing is based on heat detection as recommended in Approved Document B, effectively eliminating nuisance alarms. It was installed with much less disruption and in a considerably shorter timeframe than fitting sprinklers. It also has the benefit of using less than 6 litres of water per minute per head compared with 65 litres per head used by sprinklers which reduces potential damage to the fabric and furnishings of the property in the event of a discharge and unlike smoke alarms Automist not only alerts residents to the fire but also suppresses it.

Automist is ideal for use in similar refurbishments where access for the fire brigade is restricted and it can be justified as a fire engineered solution, as it minimises fire flash-over by reducing temperatures and improves ambient conditions for fire-fighters.

Plumis Automist facilitates conversion of Art Deco houses

Plumis Automist has been used to provide an innovative fire safety solution for the conversion of a stunning collection of Art Deco houses in Twickenham, midway between the River Thames and Twickenham stadium. The architects, ABA Group of Sunbury on Thames, were keen to preserve the period features whilst achieving the contemporary design they envisaged. The 8 2-bedroom houses all comprised a large, open plan reception room opening onto a kitchen at ground floor level with 2 large double bedrooms on the first floor. The proposed designs provided no separation to protect the escape route.

ABA Group Ltd worked with the appointed Building Control officers to meet the fire safety requirements of the Building Regulations but they were very anxious that the solution did not compromise the high-specification open plan design of the apartments. They discovered Automist and called in Bracknell-based Vapourmist, the accredited installers for the system who provided a design and install service.

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.”

Viable alternative to residential sprinklers for multi-million pound building

Plumis Automist has been used to provide an innovative, best value fire protection solution for a multi-million pound Victorian terraced house in Kensington, London. The prestigious three-storey building was to incorporate a contemporary design, including a loft conversion and an open plan staircase at ground floor level. Building Regulations require that in such cases where a separated escape route is not provided, an active fire suppression system such as sprinklers must be used. However, the architects were concerned that a sprinkler installation would have multiple consequences for the clean lines of the design.

Daniel Smith MIFSM MIFPO, Commercial Director at Blue Light Safety had installed Automist, a pre-engineered water mist system, in similar applications and was confident that a three-pump Automist system would meet his clients’ requirements. The installation proved rapid, and was less expensive than sprinklers. The process was also simplified by Automist’s modest demands: the water pressure requirement of only 1.0 bar and the flow of 5.6 litres per minute per pump eliminated the need for a dedicated water supply or storage tanks. Disruption on site was kept to a minimum as installation and commissioning took less than a working day to complete.  Automist only uses a small fraction of the water required for a conventional sprinkler system; it is neat and unobtrusive and fitted seamlessly into this impressive refurbishment.

Daniel Smith was pleased with the result and will continue to use Automist in the future for projects where the demands of Building Control and aesthetic considerations are both paramount.

Plumis Automist provides fire protection in open plan student accommodation

 An innovative fire protection system was used at three new build flats in Leicester at the end of last year. Sheila Grieff, West Manor Student Living’s Property Manager advised that the flats were going to be used for student accommodation. Open plan living is becoming increasingly popular,  increasing room sizes by incorporating circulation areas and letting in more light.  In this case, all 3 flats were open plan and two of the flats had escape routes through a common room.  BCK Contracting Ltd, accredited, approved installers of Plumis Automist systems in the Midlands were asked to provide a quotation. Charlene Johnson, BCK’s Company Secretary, explained, “Leicester City Building control had initially recommended the installation of fire sprinkler systems. However, the flats were completed before the sprinklers were fitted.  As a result, BCK recommended 3 Automist systems which enabled the retrofit of fire protection without additional construction works.”

Automist uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles mounted under a standard tap and provides residential fire life protection. The innovative system can also be mounted stand alone on a work top or even a wall. Building control was very happy with this alternative and the quotation was very acceptable to the client. The whole project was much more affordable and less disruptive than fitting sprinklers which would have entailed construction costs and consequent time delays. Additional considerations were that Automist uses significantly less water than traditional sprinklers minimising runoff and consequential water damage and sprinklers would drench the property disturbing the lives of the students.

Automist is ideal for student accommodation, as it makes open plan living possible and, as in this case, for use where a bedroom escape route is through a kitchen or high hazard area. In addition, the client was able to benefit from the quicker installation compared to sprinklers and was able to save valuable space, as sprinklers usually require water storage tanks or the upgrading of water mains.

Automist was installed in September 2014 and the client was very happy with it as an alternative option. Sheila would have no hesitation in using Automist in Westmanor’s other accommodation blocks where an open plan design is desirable.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Unite Security use innovative solution for fire protection in Edinburgh business

Plumis Automist® provided an innovative fire safety solution for a new high-end coffee shop in the Southside/Newington area of Edinburgh. “Cult Espresso” serves "third wave" espresso drinks from cool, basement style premises with an open plan layout but because of the width of the building and one direction of travel, exit in the event of a fire is restricted and access for the emergency services limited.

The City of Edinburgh Council insisted that either an emergency exit or an alternative suppression system was installed. The use of sprinklers was deemed unsatisfactory as they would drench the property in the event of a fire, causing considerable water damage.  Furthermore, accidental discharge could cause a costly interruption to business which was unacceptable to the owners. Edinburgh Building Control knew of Automist® and recommended that the owners view the Plumis website where they identified Unite Security as local Automist® accredited installers for the system. Glenn Kippen, Unite’s Managing Director had no hesitation in suggesting the installation of this highly innovative and very cost effective product from Plumis. Automist® uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles to suppress any fire, including grease and chip pan fires for which water mist is an effective fire suppressant. It is also extremely reliable because sensing is based on heat detection as recommended in Approved Document B, effectively eliminating nuisance alarms which, again, would have interrupted custom.

Glenn Kippen was delighted to be able to recommend Automist® to address the objections of Building Control. Unite Security fitted only 1 pump within the kitchen, protecting the building affordably, with much less disruption and in a considerably shorter timeframe than fitting sprinklers. It also has the benefit of using under 6 litres of water per minute per head compared with 65 litres per head used by sprinklers. Because Automist® uses a wireless system, installation did not interrupt the day to day business, there were no ugly wires to mar the decor and, unlike smoke alarms Automist® not only alerts customers to the fire but also suppresses it

Automist® is ideal for use in similar businesses where closure for building works or in the event of a fire would be commercially disadvantageous.

For further information on this project or the Plumis Automist® range of water-mist suppression solutions call Plumis on +44 (0) 20 7871 3899, visit or email

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.”