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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.

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.”