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, 14 May 2014

Automist keeps students safe

Plumis-Automist, the innovative watermist fire suppression solution, has been installed in 7 refurbished student flats in Nottingham as an aesthetic, lower cost, lower risk alternative to sprinklers. The developers, Azamour Investments Ltd, refurbished the building, which was built around 1900 to contain 9 single bedroom flats and bedsits. They were advised by Building Control that fire protection was necessary in the kitchen areas of 7 of them due to their open plan design. The investor was recommended to install Automist to keep the students safe and to comply with Building Regulations by their Approved Building Control inspectors operating as an alternative to Local Authority Building Control.

They called in Yorkshire-based Blue Light Safety Ltd, an independent fire safety company offering a total solutions service for every aspect of fire safety. Blue Light had been introduced to Automist by a retired Fire Safety Officer who believed in the benefits provided by Automist. These include rapid and automatic fire suppression and neat and economical installation. Significantly less pipework is needed and disruption is kept to a minimum compared to a traditional sprinkler system. And there would be greatly reduced water damage to the fabric of the property, fixtures and fittings in the event of a discharge, which was important in the newly refurbished dwellings. Automist can save lives and prevent devastating damage by suppressing flames and limiting smoke and heat. It provides full room active fire protection, and offered the developers the freedom and flexibility to provide modern, contemporary, open-plan layouts whilst still complying with Building Regulations, the RRFSO and keeping occupants safe.

Daniel Smith MIFSM MIFPO, Commercial Director who founded Blue Light in early 2012 considers Automist to be an excellent product which can be used in many applications where fire safety is paramount and says: “There was no hesitation in fitting Automist in the flats.”

Water mist provides a solution for persistent arson attempts

Arson is the no.1 cause of fire in the UK. Since 1997 the number of malicious fires in Britain has risen to more than 123,000 a year; 50 people die in fires started by arsonists and 3,200 are injured. This causes serious problems to the authorities. Camden Council had a severe difficulty with an arsonist housed pre-trial in a temporary shelter who needed to be monitored 24/7 because of the danger of recidivist behaviour. However, there was still a time delay between an hourly round for an attempt at arson, during which time considerable damage to property and life was possible. The cell was fitted with a heat detector which in turn was linked to the communal fire alarm system. Therefore, when the prisoner smoked in their cell the alarm was activated throughout the whole building, causing considerable disruption for residents and staff alike.

Elite Fire Safety Ltd of Northfleet were contacted by the maintenance department of Camden Council to see if they could provide a solution. Following a site meeting at the building Elite Fire Safety Ltd recommended the use of Automist, an active fire protection system which uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist. The existing heat detector was removed from the cell and an independent hard wired with lithium battery back-up battery smoke detector was installed to control the Automist system in addition to activating a flashing beacon fitted in the reception area thus advising the staff on duty that a breach of the rules had occurred. The Automist wall-mounted spray nozzle was hidden behind a protective metal cage to prevent interference. Since Automist was installed the common parts alarm is no longer activated and there is no further requirement for 24 hour monitoring.

The system was activated soon after installation, the arsonist was sprayed with water mist and the fire was controlled. After a second system activation they learnt their lesson, changed their behaviour and there have been no further incidents.

Neil Perring of Elite Fire safety is delighted with the outcome. “Because of the success of this installation, Camden Council is considering using Automist in 4 high risk rooms for arsonists in a dedicated hostel.”

Automist fire protection for prestigious development

Plumis-Automist the innovative watermist fire suppression solution has been installed in a prestigious London development as an aesthetic, lower cost, lower risk alternative to sprinklers and all the parties involved are delighted with the installation.

In the heart of Marylebone Village, 18 Marylebone High Street is said to be one of the world’s most exclusive locations. The development of 5 spacious flats with extensive balconies and external terraces arose from the conversion of an old commercial building. But of course Building Control had to be consulted and complied with, just as in a less prestigious project. Elite Fire Safety Ltd of Dartford in Kent was called in to provide fire protection by Design Coalition for their client the Vigo Group who was undertaking the conversion. Neil Perring, Elite’s Managing Director had to communicate and negotiate with the Building Control company Quadrant to obtain approval and recommended an innovative product to meet the requirements of Approved Document B.

Automist, manufactured by Plumis, is the first active fire suppression system to provide a more affordable alternative to sprinklers, whilst completely satisfying the demands of fire regulations and designers alike. Automist uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles mounted under a standard tap and provides residential fire and life protection without the drawback of excessive water discharge associated with sprinklers. Dependent upon layout and suppression requirements the innovative system allows nozzles to be mounted on work tops or neatly in a bespoke wall mounted unit. There is no need for wiring or complicated pipework hence design and aesthetics are not compromised – vital in this prestigious development.

Most of the flats in Marylebone High Street were fitted with a single nozzle system, but the 4th floor flat was fitted with a 2 nozzle system due to its size and the complexity of its escape route.

The Vigo Group were delighted with Elite’s recommendation and have subsequently invited the Dartford company to work on a further conversion site at Endford Street, in Central London. Neil Perring owes much of the success of the Marylebone High Street project to Automist. “Without the design flexibility that Automist offers, the development would have been less aesthetically attractive and also more costly because there would have been much more disruption caused by the installation of pipework and wiring. We definitely plan to use Automist in the future for projects where the demands of Building Control and aesthetic considerations are both paramount.”

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Automist prevents arson damage

Exeter City Council installed Automist from Plumis in the flat of a vulnerable resident who had already set fire to his flat 3 times. The innovative fire suppression device is designed to significantly reduce the potential for fire damage. The Council needed a reliable solution to the problem because each attempt at arson risked significant damage to property and, more significantly, potential harm to the resident and those around him. 

The Council called in Mark Evans, Director of Fire Suppress, who provide Fire Protection solutions throughout the South West and South Wales. Mark had used Automist from Plumis in the past and installed 2 units with 2 heads each to provide protection for the bedroom, lounge, hallway and kitchen in the property. 

In a recent incident the resident went on to attempt arson a fourth time and deliberately damaged the Automist heads. Nevertheless, the units were activated, effectively preventing a serious fire. Automist uses significantly less water than a traditional sprinkler system, considerably reducing consequential water damage but because the heads were sabotaged, there was some water damage. However, Exeter City Council were pleased that a fire was successfully prevented.  

Automist’s unique design means it is significantly cheaper than other automatic fire extinguishers, home fire suppression devices and residential sprinklers. Installation is neat and economical with the need for significantly less pipework and therefore disruption than a traditional sprinkler system. Nevertheless, when the Council were given the quote for installation they were concerned about the investment as they needed demonstrable proof that this ground-breaking device would do everything it claimed. Fire Suppress were able to negotiate a 3 year buy back scheme, so confident were they that Automist would perform well in the detection and control of any fire and thus provide improved protection against injury, life loss and property damage.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

New site launched: Open plan alliance

Homes with open layouts have become some of the most popular and sought-after house plans available today. An open floor plan can make your home feel larger, even if the square footage is modest. By eliminating doorways and widening the passages to dining and living areas, you obtain a sense of spaciousness that divided rooms lack. However these layouts are often at odds with fire building regulations which require compartmentation to limit the spread of fire compromising the escape route.

The Open Plan Alliance is a knowledge-centre focused on promoting information and guidance on how homeowners and architects alike, can create the layouts they desire whilst conforming with fire building regulations and keeping their homes safe.

Check it out here:

Monday, 12 August 2013

Fire Suppress Ltd use Plumis Automist to comply with Approved Document B in new build in Somerset

Plumis Automist has been installed to provide a cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing and fire regulation compliant solution for a Swedish, pine kit house.The design and location of a new build can have significant budget implications and this build is on a steep hill overlooking the Somerset Levels. To make the project viable, construction costs had to be kept to a minimum. However, Approved Document B demanded the use of fire suppression measures primarily because of the 45 metre access rule but also the open plan design with a 25 foot high ceiling! The traditional solution would have been an expensive sprinkler system but there were issues about installing and servicing sprinkler heads on the high ceiling – a servicing/stop mechanism could not be used as the heads would be inaccessible and if there was an accidental discharge it would be unstoppable.

An alternative solution was required and the end client was delighted to discover Automist from Plumis, which would provide a cost-effective, unobtrusive and more than adequate means of fire suppression. Fire Suppress Ltd, who provide Fire Protection solutions throughout the South West and South Wales were commissioned to provide the full service from specification for the Approved Inspectors to subsequent installation. Fellow Directors Chris Farr and Mark Evans recommend Automist because it meets the requirements of Approved Document B and offers design flexibility. Mark commented: “Automist offered a practical solution for this development to conform with B5 of the building regulations (access and facilities for the fire service) and was installed within one working day. Its unobtrusive features had no adverse effect on the building’s aesthetics and there are no concerns about flooding.”

Automist provides residential fire protection by means of a high pressure pump which generates a fine water mist from nozzles mounted under a standard tap, on a worktop or, as in this case, it can be wall-mounted. This innovative solution works by suppressing flames and limiting smoke and heat. It uses significantly less water than traditional sprinklers, minimising runoff and consequential water damage, a vital consideration for this new build.  Automist has been extensively tested by BRE and is also an LABC Registered Solution for loft conversions (RD171) so Mark and Chris know that it is completely reliable.

Mainpoint Install Automist in Prestigious Cheltenham Development

It is notoriously difficult to carry out any retrofit work on heritage buildings at the same time as complying with building regulations. Mainpoint Fire Protection Ltd, established in Cheltenham in 1991 faced this problem when they were asked to install fire protection in eight flats in the prestigious Oriel Road Villas development in Cheltenham. The Grade II listed buildings are typically ornate examples of regency architecture – a heritage which demanded to be safeguarded.

When Mike Fowler, Mainpoint’s MD sought approval to meet the requirements of Approved Document B he was told that fire protection such as sprinklers was required. However, in this style of building it is crucial to avoid disruption or damage to historic plasterwork and fine decoration. Therefore it was important to avoid the pipework involved in a domestic sprinkler system. Mike selected Automist from Plumis, a cost effective alternative to sprinklers, ideal for Regency buildings where it is vital to protect period features for 6 of the 8 flats. It also saves time and therefore cost, is discreet and completely effective.

Where appropriate Automist can be installed as a viable alternative to a domestic sprinkler system with installation and operational benefits. It is an innovative solution, using a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles, resulting in rapid and automatic fire suppression. Installation is neat and economical with the need for significantly less pipework and disruption than a traditional sprinkler system. And crucially, the fabric of the property, fixtures and fittings in the event of a discharge are not adversely affected, a significant consideration in the prestigious Oriel development.

Mike Fowler stresses that much of the success of the project is down to the use of Automist. “This project would not have gained Building Control approval without the design flexibility that Automist offers. Thanks to Automist, further heritage projects in Gloucestershire have opened up for Mainpoint.”