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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.

Friday, 1 December 2017

A Fire Sprinkler Designed for Retrofit


When coming up with design solutions for refurbishing older home models with modern aesthetics, architects are often confined to solutions that are limiting in order to meet the national safety requirements set by the LABC. In addition, city officials are often torn when handling older constructions because they need to be brought up to code with modern fire sprinkler systems but the costs are too high. The choice becomes so challenging that more often than not, the problems are ignored or left alone without an attempt to find a solution that would be both practical and economical. Unfortunately, however, this is a huge risk and liability, and the consequences could be horrific.

One of the biggest issues with a traditional sprinkler system is that you’re often required to expand or attach a main with additional piping to get the amount of water required. This is a feat that is both impractical and costly when dealing with older constructions, especially in areas that are more remote and far from natural water sources and city pipelines. Automist water mist sprinkler system is a smarter, automatic fire sprinkler system. Instead of the typical ceiling-mounted sprinkler head, this device consists only of a stainless-steel panel that seamlessly integrates into the interior of almost any living space. As soon as the sprinkler system is activated, the head of the unit rotates automatically to directly target fires with a powerful jet of water mist, using about one-tenth of the water supply of traditional fire sprinklers.

With many renovations to older buildings, relocating occupants to alternative facilities can be a significant expense. Automist technology was developed with this problem in mind. Its compact, straightforward design enables retrofit without the use of a tank or network of pipes. Instead, Automist is installed similarly to a power shower, making it the perfect retrofit alternative for older constructions, especially multiple occupant residencies like: dorms, assisted living centres and apartment towers.

Runnymede Council began a programme to retrofit sprinklers to flats within its only tower block – the 16-storey Surrey Towers in Addlestone. To avoid issues with access and disruption to tenants, installations took place when they are either subject to major internal works, or at the time of re-letting. Automist was selected because Automist water mist systems were easier to retrofit than other fire suppression systems and uses less water whilst still maintaining excellent performance.
  


Read how Plumis Ltd. retrofitted Surrey Towers with their water mist fire sprinkler alternative here!


Monday, 17 July 2017

Automist Smartscan is a Top Winner in IDSA International Design Excellence Award (IDEA®) 2017

London, UK June 29, 2017—Automist Smartscan, designed by Plumis, is a Top Winner in the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA®) 2017 hosted by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). See the gallery. Which 25 designs won Gold and which 52 designs won Silver, will be announced on Aug. 19 at the IDEA Ceremony—open to the public at Rich Theater and followed by a ticketed Gala at High Museum. Through Aug. 11, the public can vote online for the People’s Choice Award winner.


Plumis won in the Home & Bath category. “We are delighted to have been recognized as one of the outstanding products of 2017, alongside a host of other exciting products” said Design Director, Yusuf Muhammad.


Automist Smartscan is a smarter, modern fire sprinkler system. Instead of the typical ceiling-mounted sprinkler head, this device consists only of a stainless steel panel that seamlessly integrates into the interior of almost any living space. As soon as the system is activated, the head of the unit rotates automatically to directly target fires with a powerful jet of water mist. This has been proven to achieve the same performance as other familiar sprinkler systems. However, one huge advantage it boasts is that this approach uses 90% less water. The result is significantly less water damage to the living space.


“IDSA IDEA 2017 winners demonstrate how designers are able to capture what’s invisible to others and inspire beauty through the smallest of details within the simplest of artifacts,” said IDEA 2017 Jury Chair Owen Foster, IDSA. “Winners go beyond the tangible that we are so accustomed to seeing—to cultivate amazing, holistic ecosystems.”

Foster led more than two dozen, global design experts in judging 20 categories covering products, brands, experiences, strategies and more. Onsite jurying was held in May at the newly-renamed Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, MI.

Proving design truly is a universal language, IDEA attracted hundreds of entries from 54 countries on six continents. Innovations abound in the latest winners submitted by design firms, corporations, universities and more. The competition drew entries from Australia to Austria, Belarus to Brazil, Chile to China and from countries including Croatia, Estonia, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay and Vatican City State.

Several other special awards will be announced on Aug. 19 including People’s Choice, Best in Show, Curator’s Choice, Jury Chair—and new this year—the Plastics Innovation Award from the Plastics Industry Association. The Ceremony and Gala will follow IDSA’s International Design Conference 2017: Design IS Business, scheduled Aug. 16–19 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Follow the excitement on #IDSAIDEA #IDSA17Atlanta @IDSA on Twitter; Industrial Designers Society of America on Facebook and LinkedIn; and @IDSAdesign on Instagram. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact sales@idsa.org. To schedule interviews with jurors and winners, contact media@idsa.org.

Founded in 1965, the nonprofit IDSA has thousands of members in dozens of Student Chapters, Professional Chapters and Special Interest Sections around the world. The Society hosts events including an annual International Design Conference, District Design Conferences and niche events. Global outreach includes designUpdate and designBytes e-newsletters; INNOVATION magazine; and the Yearbook of Design Excellence. IDSA Ambassadors support and promote industrial design with research and thought leadership such as INsights.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Plumis Automist facilitates flat conversion in London

Automist from Plumis, an LABC Registered and cost effective alternative to sprinkler systems was recently used in the conversion of a ground floor flat in Crouch End, Haringey, London into two separate flats, one of which incorporated a 27m long basement space. Building Control officers insisted that, in order to meet fire regulations, a fire suppression system like Automist that offers full room, active fire suppression should be used. The alternative would have been to install staircases in the light wells as a means of escape in the event of a fire. Mr S. Perkins, the owner of the property was reluctant to do this. “This was because it would have meant substantially enlarging the light well space, thereby reducing the internal space. And this would have seriously compromised the aesthetic of the project.”


The traditional alternative was to install sprinklers but, for this, additional building works would have been necessary in the already completed flats. Furthermore, a discharge would have drenched the new fixtures and fittings as well as the recently refurbished fabric of the property. Mr Perkins searched for a solution and visited the Plumis website where he familiarised himself with the Automist product, which uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles mounted under a standard tap, on a worktop or unobtrusively mounted on a wall. It is designed to limit fire growth and minimise exposure to toxic gases and heat, making escape safer in an emergency. He was referred to Fire Fend Installations, a London and South East-based accredited Automist installer who he duly contacted with his architect’s plans. Karen Cowling, Fire Fend’s General Manager dealt with the enquiry promptly and advised him that 3 fixed heads and 2 pumps would provide adequate protection, which, was approved by the private Building Control Officer. Mr Perkins was delighted with the solution. “We were in a position to install quickly and we were able to complete the process and commission the system within a relatively short time. Fire Fend made sure that the various elements were delivered to site when we needed them and we found the process pretty painless!”

Mr Perkins was fully satisfied with the completion of his project and would certainly consider using Plumis Automist and Fire Fend Installations for any future projects of this type.

Plumis Automist Smartscan provides alternative to enclosed lobby in Hitchin loft conversion

A Plumis Automist Smartscan system was installed recently in a loft conversion in Hitchin, Hertfordshire in order to facilitate the retention of the open plan living space. For this kind of contemporary, open space design Building Regulations demand that a protected enclosed stairwell is provided or they require the use of alternative compensatory measures such as sprinklers.

The property owner, Matt Newis was reluctant to install sprinklers because of the potential water damage to his home should the sprinklers be activated. He was recommended to consider the Plumis device and did some research on the internet. He was fully satisfied that it would fulfil his requirements as a more usable alternative to sprinklers, so he contacted his local approved Automist installer, Creative In/Exteriors Ltd. LABC registered Automist Smartscan is a modern alternative to a fire sprinkler system. Instead of the typical ceiling-mounted sprinkler head, this device consists of a wall mounted stainless steel panel that seamlessly integrates into the interior of almost any living space. As soon as the system is activated, the head of the unit rotates automatically to directly target fires with a powerful jet of water mist. This has been proven to achieve the same performance as the more familiar sprinkler systems. However, because this approach uses 90% less water there is significantly less water damage to the living space in the event of a discharge.


Automist also has the advantage of fitting unobtrusively into modern decors. In this case, the pump was located under the stairs and the spray-head on the staircase wall. A Kidde KF30 heat alarm complete with SMK23RU relay was installed and connected to the pump. The heat alarm was mains powered from an existing consumer unit, on a separate RCBO. This is effectively the trigger for the pump to activate. All plumbing work, electrical work and making good was completed by Creative In/Exteriors Ltd. The pump is connected to the existing consumer unit using FP200 cable and runs on a separate RCBO.

Mr Newis was pleased that Automist helped avoid the need to create an enclosed lobby to the exit from the bottom of the stairs, which exited at ground floor level into an open plan dining room and helped retain the open plan nature of the living space. He would most definitely use the Automist system again and indeed would recommend it to others.


Plumis Automist facilitates open plan design in terraced property

Plumis Automist has been used to provide an innovative, best value fire protection solution in a loft conversion in a terraced property in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire. Creative In/Exteriors, the local accredited Automist installers, installed the system to facilitate a contemporary open plan design whilst at the same time complying with Building Regulations. The means of escape was on the ground floor onto an open plan kitchen and dining room and as a compensatory alternative Building Regulations required an active fire suppression system such as sprinklers. The property owner was disinclined to do this because of budget considerations and the danger of accidental discharge which could seriously affect the fabric of the property and the fixtures and fittings. A suggested alternative was to create an enclosed lobby using a fire door but, equally, Mr Evans was reluctant to compromise the open plan design. A third option was to reconfigure the staircase but this would have proved expensive and intrusive.


Builders, Berkamstead Loft Conversions suggested Automist as an innovative and unobtrusive solution. It only uses 10% of the water required for a conventional sprinkler system and fitted seamlessly into this project. Furthermore, it delivers rapid and automatic fire suppression. The installation is neat and economical reducing the need for costly pipework and the disruption associated with a traditional sprinkler system.

Mr Evans was pleased with the fact that Automist enabled him to maintain the desired design of his property. He would definitely use the Automist system again and would recommend it to others with similar requirements.

Plumis Automist used to protect a Grade II listed Gatehouse

Plumis Automist was used to comply with building regulations and to provide unobtrusive fire protection in the Grade II listed Gatehouse Lodge, near Grantham in the Lincolnshire Vales. The Lodge had been rescued recently from dereliction and has been sensitively restored with a mix of original and contemporary features. The system was installed in the kitchen area to the front of the property because the escape route from the 1st floor came down into this small room, meaning that it was not protected as required in Approved Document B


The owners were reluctant to have sprinklers fitted because of the damage to the fabric of the period property and to the new fixtures and fittings the release of water would cause if they were activated. They had looked at the Plumis website and assessed that Automist would perfectly suit their requirements. Newflame Ltd of Peterborough is the Accredited Automist Installer for the region and Richard Scotcher recommended a wall mounted spray-head. 


Automist is a pre-engineered water mist system and uses a high-pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles. The innovative device uses significantly less water than a sprinkler system, minimising water damage and limiting run-off.  It provides residential fire life protection and can also be mounted stand-alone on a work top or under a tap. It is a simple, retrofit, alternative to sprinklers for full room active fire protection. 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, which was a distinct advantage for this project where the interior decoration was such a crucial part of the character of the Lodge.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Plumis Automist provides fire safety solution for open plan living in converted flats

Newflame Fire Equipment Co. Ltd has provided Plumis Automist systems as an innovative watermist fire sprinkler for a block of 7 flats above Baldock library, which had been converted from office space in the Hertfordshire town. The modern, open-plan design of the living areas of 6 of the flats meant that there was no protected means of escape. The LACoRS guide and Approved Document B allow open plan designs as long as some additional features, including fire suppression, are provided. The owner of the building was reluctant to install sprinklers which would have marred the clean lines of the design and in the event of discharge, accidental or otherwise would have drenched the property, the new fixtures and fittings.


The owner, whose extended family are using 4 of the flats while the 3 remaining flats are being rented out, discovered the Plumis website when searching for a resolution and sent the plans of the conversion to Newflame, the accredited Automist installer for the area. He was delighted to find that the Automist system would protect the building at a reasonable price, with much less disruption and in a considerably shorter timeframe than fitting sprinklers, which meant that the conversion could progress speedily. Automist also has the benefit of using only 5.5 litres of water per minute per head in a fine water mist compared with 60 litres per head generated by sprinklers. Because Automist uses a wireless system, installation was brief, it did not affect the fabric of the property and there were no ugly wires to mar the new decor. It is aesthetically pleasing and, unlike smoke alarms not only alerts occupants to an incipient fire but also suppresses it.


Richard Scotcher of Newflame is a keen advocate of Automist. “Building and housing regulations have traditionally encouraged the creation of fire resistant compartments in homes so as to limit the spread of fire. Our client found this solution highly frustrating as he wanted an open, light design for the flats in Baldock. We have no hesitation in recommending Automist as a much superior alternative to traditional fire safety measures.”