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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, 8 June 2016

Cost effective sprinkler alternative used to protect Edinburgh apartment

Plumis Automist was used in a loft conversion on the fourth floor of a 19th Century building in a prime, residential area of Edinburgh to comply with building regulations and to provide unobtrusive fire protection. Paulo Gaggero, an Italian Outsource Manager for the contact centre industry who has lived in the city for over 20 years wanted extra space but was disinclined to move. The alternative was to convert his loft but, because there was no fire escape Edinburgh City Council’s Planning Department insisted that he install fire protection measures. Paolo was extremely reluctant to install sprinklers because of the expense and because space was at a premium. Furthermore, the fact that his apartment is on the upper floors of the block means that water damage caused by the discharge of copious amounts of water could cause considerable harm to the lower floors of the building.


He researched fire suppression on the internet and discovered Automist from Plumis, a simple, retrofit, alternative to sprinklers for full room active fire protection. Automist works by using a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist. 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. The system is activated utilising a heat detector as recommended in Approved Document B, effectively eliminating nuisance alarms. It fits seamlessly into any d├ęcor. Paolo identified Blue Light Safety Ltd, an independent fire safety company offering a total solutions service for every aspect of fire safety and called in Daniel Smith MIFSM MIFPO, Commercial Director who founded Blue Light in early 2012 to advise. Daniel recommended the installation of 2 Automist pumps and 3 heads covering the hallway upstairs, the stairs leading to the hallway downstairs and the original hallway leading to the landing meaning that there was coverage of all the escape routes. Other rooms were protected by fire doors.


Paulo Gaggerro was delighted with Automist. “Automist looks like a piece of art and I am thrilled with my discovery. My property has increased considerably in value thanks in part to this innovative piece of equipment.”

London interior designers use Plumis Automist to enable modern design

Plumis Automist was used at a north London property to provide a cost effective and appropriate fire protection solution, which was acceptable to the clients of Living-in Space, an interior design company based in Belsize Park, London. The clients did not want a door separating the kitchen on the lower ground floor from the open plan staircase. Q&A Builders added an additional floor to the terraced house with a loft conversion and due to the height of the proposed building, Building Regulations stipulated that there should be separation or that a sprinkler system should be installed. Angelique Tracey, Senior Interior Designer who was overseeing the project was very reluctant to compromise the design and layout of the conversion by installing a protected escape route or risk the drenching of high quality fixtures and fittings in the event of a discharge by sprinklers. She spoke to Steve Moore from Salus, the private building inspectors who suggested they investigate Plumis Automist, a water mist system which is a very cost-effective alternative to sprinklers. Automist has the added advantage of eliminating the need for a water storage tank. The client had coincidentally studied at the Royal Academy of Arts with the inventors of the innovative system, so was very keen to explore this option and utilise the technology.

Open plan kitchen in London
Automist works by using a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles mounted under a standard tap, stand alone on a work top or even a wall and provides residential fire life protection. It integrates seamlessly into high-specification designs and opens up opportunities offering significant design flexibility.

Open plan kitchen diner in London

Vapourmist, the local accredited installer fitted Automist in the ceiling of the open plan area on the lower ground floor in a matter of a couple of hours meaning that there was no delay in the building project.

Angelique was delighted with her discovery. “The system enabled us to achieve the desired open plan design at a reasonable cost and without compromising fire safety. I would definitely use Automist in future design projects where ease of installation and aesthetic considerations are paramount.”

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Open-plan kitchen flat design enabled by fire engineering

In the latest BS 9991:2015 guidance on open plan flats, requires the provision of a suppression system within the flat. However, the overall maximum size of an open plan flat before the kitchen also needs to be enclosed is 8m by 4m. The implication of this reduction in flat size is any open plan flats larger than this size, would now need the kitchen to be separated from the rest of the flat with 30 minutes construction and an FD30S fire door.

This recommendation seems to go against the desire of flat owners who want an open plan arrangement for the communal areas within their flats. A significant number of the open plan flats that will be built in the future will exceed 8m x 4m. Therefore, this new guidance will affect a large number of open plan flats by forcing the kitchen to be enclosed in fire rated construction. However, there is an alternative.

The Alternative!


BS 9991 is a guidance document showing only one way of achieving the functional requirements of the Building Regulations. An alternative fire engineered approach can be developed which allows the kitchen to be completely open whilst still meeting the functional requirements of the Building Regulations.

The acceptability of having the kitchen area open in a flat with dimensions over 8m x 4m can be demonstrated through using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling.

This is one example of were a fire engineered approach can be used to meet the functional requirements of the Building Regulations. This is an acceptable alternative to following prescriptive guidance which would constrain the design.

Content provided by James Brady of Innovation Fire

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.”

Monday, 25 April 2016

Automist Smartscan LABC Registered Detail Announced

Plumis have announced Automist Smartscan is an LABC Registered Solution (EW534). It is suitable to be used in any application where a BS 8458:2015 compliant watermist system is deemed to be acceptable as a code-compliant automatic water fire suppression system, for example in accordance with the recommendations of BS 9991:2015.



The development of Automist Smartscan was steered by computational fluid dynamics modelling by the University of Greenwich’s Fire Safety Engineering Group. Once the design was finalised it was extensively tested and proven to deliver performance superior of the requirements of the British Watermist Standard (BS 8458). Aware of the need for evidence, we pushed the Smartscan’s limits beyond the bare minimum, challenging it in many additional tests to suppress or extinguish fires in any position (even difficult fires directly under the nozzle or hidden by furniture) and in a variety of draught conditions. Demonstration tests have convincingly proved its worth time and time again. It has even travelled to the USA, where the UL 2167 listing process is being kicked off and where it favourably impressed fire risk authorities in demonstration testing.