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, 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.

Thursday, 21 April 2016


Plumis are delighted to celebrate today, 21 April 2016, being one of the select businesses recognised as winners of the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise - the UK’s highest accolade for business success. 

Our award was received for Innovation. This was in recognition of developing and commercialising a successful range of life saving fire safety products. Our latest innovation Automist Smartscanturned the traditional fire sprinkler, quite literally, on its head. It relocates the traditional spray heads from the ceiling to a wall mounted nozzle, and uses a rotating head that directly targets fires with a powerful jet of water mist. It has been proven to achieve the same performance as residential sprinkler systems and typically uses 90% less water, minimising the potential for water damage to the living space.

William Makant, Plumis MD, said "Automist Smartscan has risen in popularity among architects and builders for being super easy to retrofit—without requiring a tank or network of pipes. It offers more than a reliable safety device for fighting fires; it’s an intelligent modern design feature offering greater flexibility for projects with challenging building regulations, from loft conversions to more open-plan homes and flats."

Notes for Editors

  • 249 Queen’s Awards (QA) have been announced this year for outstanding business achievement in the fields of International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. Winners of The Queen’s Awards can expect an invitation to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace.
  • QA winners can also use The Queen’s Award Emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for a period of five years as a symbol of their quality and success.
  • The awards are made annually by HM The Queen and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Impressive achievement: Automist Smartscan receives highest distinction in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2016!

Automist Smartscan by Plumis is one of this year’s outstanding products: The Red Dot jury was enthused, and awarded Automist Smartscan a Red Dot: Best of the Best. In 2016, this highest single distinction in the international competition goes to only 1.5% of all entries. Manufacturers and designers from 57 nations had registered about 5,200 products and sent them to the Ruhr area in Germany – Automist Smartscan impressed with highest design quality and makes Plumis one of the leaders in an international comparison.
Automist Smartscan relocates the traditional spray heads from the ceiling to a wall mounted nozzle, and uses a rotating head that directly targets fires with a powerful jet of water mist. It has been proven to achieve the same performance as residential sprinkler systems and uses 90% less water, minimising water damage to the living space.

Automist Smartscan has risen in popularity among architects and builders for being super easy to retrofit—without requiring a tank or network of pipes. It offers more than a reliable safety device for fighting fires; it’s an intelligent modern design feature offering greater flexibility for projects with challenging building regulations, from loft conversions to more open-plan homes and flats.

With 41 experts from all around the world, who are chosen according to strict rules, the Red Dot Award: Product Design guarantees a very high judging competence: Only freelance designers, design professors and specialised journalists – but not designers employed at companies potentially participating – are appointed to the jury.

The independent expert panel assesses each entry strictly and fairly, live and on site, according to criteria such as degree of innovation, formal quality, functionality and ecological compatibility. The jury awards the highest single distinction “Red Dot: Best of the Best” for ground-breaking design. Only the best entries in a category receive this award.

Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and president of the Red Dot Award: “With their extraordinary feel for creativity and keen eye for unmatched precision, the Red Dot: Best of the Best laureates deserve this highest recognition. We will honour them at the formal presentation of the Red Dot Trophy on stage at the Aalto-Theater in Essen.”

4 July 2016 marks the culmination of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2016. During the glamorous awards ceremony, the Red Dot: Best of the Best laureates will accept their trophies in front of around 1,200 guests. At the subsequent after-show party “Designers’ Night”, the winners will celebrate until the early hours in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen in the midst of prize-winning products. All award-winning products will be presented in the special exhibition “Design on Stage” for four weeks before becoming part of the permanent exhibition.

With about 2,000 exhibits from 45 nations, the Red Dot Design Museum Essen displays the complete range of current product design. In the former boiler house of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Zollverein coal mine, it presents products that have won the Red Dot on five floors and approximately 4,000 square metres. Every year, the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary design informs around 150,000 visitors about current trends and top achievements.

About the Red Dot Design Award:

In order to appraise the wide scope of design in a professional manner, the Red Dot Design Award is broken down into the three distinct disciplines: the Red Dot Award: Product Design, Red Dot Award: Communication Design and Red Dot Award: Design Concept. The Red Dot Award is organised by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany. With more than 17,000 entries in 2015 alone, it is one of the largest competitions in the world. It was in 1955 that a jury convened for the first time to assess the best designs of the day. The name and brand of the award were developed in the 1990s by Red Dot CEO, Professor Dr. Peter Zec. Since then the sought-after “Red Dot” is the revered international seal of outstanding design quality. Further information:

Monday, 22 February 2016

Open Planned: a new resource for anyone considering an open plan layout in the UK

Open Planned, a revolutionary new website dedicated to open plan living, is launched today.

This exciting new venture can teach the homeowner what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to redesigning their living space - a crucial tool at a time when the open plan lifestyle is increasingly popular, boosting the value of a property, as well as making a practical, functional and exciting upgrade to any home.

But whether it’s an open plan kitchen/diner, a loft conversion, basement or split level ground floor, there are crucial building regulations and fire safety standards to contend with, and these can put serious constraints on design, planning permission and finances. This is why Open Planned is such a crucial product – its guides will help anyone and everyone navigate their way through the whole process.

Open Planned is also packed full of handy hints and fast fixes - whether you’re seeking professional interior design help, looking for the best furniture, flooring, artwork and lighting ideas, or even sneaking a peek at open plan celebrity homes for inspiration.

So whether you’re a homeowner, landlord, architect or designer, save time, money and stay safe by making Open Planned your first stop.

Forget Broken Plan and get Open Planned!