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, 29 December 2017

Automist enabling new wave of open plan homes

Whether an architect trying to design a trendier residential layout or homeowner looking to refurbish their residence with a fresher look, modern layouts are constantly at odds with the country’s safety regulations. More and more frequently, homeowners want to adjust their property to reflect an ‘open plan’ layout. This simple yet effective architectural trend is derived from an old Japanese tradition which merges rooms (i.e. living/dining room, kitchen/dining room, or entry hall/living room) to let in more natural light and give the appearance of a much larger space.

The difficulty associated with open plan design is that it carries with it two central conflicting ideas: a space that is modern and valuable: we’ve seen gigantic kitchen-diners, futuristic staircases and amazing mezzanine loft spaces in high-end Hollywood homes. But also, an insecurity that open plan may not work for the majority of standard homes and spaces.

Open plan is valuable for three reasons. Firstly, it looks good: impressive open spaces are lighter, tend to be aesthetically more pleasing, and remind us of the homes and imagined lifestyles of the wealthy and successful. Secondly, its practical; if you want to host a dinner for ten, one large room is going to work much better than two small reception rooms. Sometimes you just need a larger space. Finally, open plan layouts — especially those that eliminate hallways and corridors — make better use of space and make properties look bigger, ultimately increasing their value.

The challenge of open plan design, however, comes with implementing this concept in countries like England and the UK, where safety regulations are strict and often require a layout plan that contains small closed-in spaces in order to help contain potential fires and allow for an easy escape route with minimal danger of exposure.  

Thankfully, these limitations are quickly coming to an end thanks to an invention known as “automist.” Automist is a water mist system that uniquely uses a small amount of water (5-6 litres per minute) and has a small, condensed design makes it convenient for spaces where it is difficult to retrofit the sprinkler system. Because of its design you can plug It into a space relatively easily. You don’t require a tank or run a network of pipes. Instead you can install the device in a similar way to installing a power shower.

Beautiful, environmental, practical, legal and so valuable it pays for itself. The future, it seems, is open!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Why Building Insurers Are Excited About Smart Water Mist Sprinklers

There are an estimated 365,000 residential fires each year in the United States alone. Of which, approximately 180,000 starts in the kitchen. The average cost is $45,000 leading to an economic cost of at least $7 billion. Multiple residencies such as student housing, retirement homes, shared accommodation and flats with communal kitchens are all high-risk categories and increasing concerns for property owners and insurance companies alike.

Automist, a new smart water mist sprinkler system, has the advantage of being designed to be compatible with the majority of building layouts and ease of retrofit without major disruption. When installed in the course of a major refurbishment project, the advantage is twofold: disruption is minimised, and volume pricing offers exceptional value.

A common concern to all building insurers and insurance holders alike is the requirement to meet standard regulations and fire safety laws. Automist Smartscan is the only product of its kind that has been approved by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the US. In addition to compliance with building regulations (review our standards for more detail) this fire mist system has been thoroughly tested and adheres USA standards for code 904.11 and for limited water and well water regulations. Because of this, insurers are able to confidently recommend Automist Smartscan to a wider range of clients since the products can be utilized not only in new builds, but also, in retrofitted refurbishments.    

What makes Automist unique is that unlike other sprinkler systems, this technology only uses up 5.6 litres of water per minute, and as a result, causes minimal water damage to the room or content. This is ideal for insurers, who, often need to implement high interest rates to make up for the loss they face when paying out a client’s claim. Since the fear of high interest rates and complicated regulations are the main reasons why building/home owners are cautious about choosing building insurance or even opt out all-together, this relief of pressure enables a stronger homeowner/insurer relationship down the road. 

Hear a professional insurer’s view of Automist watermist system.

Whether you’re a homeowner or property owner of a larger multiple resident building, making sure your property complies with all fire safety regulations and complies with insurance terms can be very complicated and even then, can still be very hard and costly to make a claim in event of a fire. Automist can be used as a more convenient alternative to fire sprinklers to meet Building Regulations and is particularly suitable for retrofit and shared residencies like flat towers or nursing homes.

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!