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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.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Cost effective sprinkler alternative used to protect Edinburgh apartment

Plumis Automist was used in a loft conversion on the fourth floor of a 19th Century building in a prime, residential area of Edinburgh to comply with building regulations and to provide unobtrusive fire protection. Paulo Gaggero, an Italian Outsource Manager for the contact centre industry who has lived in the city for over 20 years wanted extra space but was disinclined to move. The alternative was to convert his loft but, because there was no fire escape Edinburgh City Council’s Planning Department insisted that he install fire protection measures. Paolo was extremely reluctant to install sprinklers because of the expense and because space was at a premium. Furthermore, the fact that his apartment is on the upper floors of the block means that water damage caused by the discharge of copious amounts of water could cause considerable harm to the lower floors of the building.


He researched fire suppression on the internet and discovered Automist from Plumis, a simple, retrofit, alternative to sprinklers for full room active fire protection. Automist works by using a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist. 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. Paolo identified Blue Light Safety Ltd, an independent fire safety company offering a total solutions service for every aspect of fire safety and called in Daniel Smith MIFSM MIFPO, Commercial Director who founded Blue Light in early 2012 to advise. Daniel recommended the installation of 2 Automist pumps and 3 heads covering the hallway upstairs, the stairs leading to the hallway downstairs and the original hallway leading to the landing meaning that there was coverage of all the escape routes. Other rooms were protected by fire doors.


Paulo Gaggerro was delighted with Automist. “Automist looks like a piece of art and I am thrilled with my discovery. My property has increased considerably in value thanks in part to this innovative piece of equipment.”

London interior designers use Plumis Automist to enable modern design

Plumis Automist was used at a north London property to provide a cost effective and appropriate fire protection solution, which was acceptable to the clients of Living-in Space, an interior design company based in Belsize Park, London. The clients did not want a door separating the kitchen on the lower ground floor from the open plan staircase. Q&A Builders added an additional floor to the terraced house with a loft conversion and due to the height of the proposed building, Building Regulations stipulated that there should be separation or that a sprinkler system should be installed. Angelique Tracey, Senior Interior Designer who was overseeing the project was very reluctant to compromise the design and layout of the conversion by installing a protected escape route or risk the drenching of high quality fixtures and fittings in the event of a discharge by sprinklers. She spoke to Steve Moore from Salus, the private building inspectors who suggested they investigate Plumis Automist, a water mist system which is a very cost-effective alternative to sprinklers. Automist has the added advantage of eliminating the need for a water storage tank. The client had coincidentally studied at the Royal Academy of Arts with the inventors of the innovative system, so was very keen to explore this option and utilise the technology.

Elegant broken plan kitchen dinner
Automist works by using a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles mounted under a standard tap, stand alone on a work top or even a wall and provides residential fire life protection. It integrates seamlessly into high-specification designs and opens up opportunities offering significant design flexibility.

Open plan kitchen diner in London

Vapourmist, the local accredited installer fitted Automist in the ceiling of the open plan area on the lower ground floor in a matter of a couple of hours meaning that there was no delay in the building project.

Angelique was delighted with her discovery. “The system enabled us to achieve the desired open plan design at a reasonable cost and without compromising fire safety. I would definitely use Automist in future design projects where ease of installation and aesthetic considerations are paramount.”

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Open-plan kitchen flat design enabled by fire engineering

In the latest BS 9991:2015 guidance on open plan flats, requires the provision of a suppression system within the flat. However, the overall maximum size of an open plan flat before the kitchen also needs to be enclosed is 8m by 4m. The implication of this reduction in flat size is any open plan flats larger than this size, would now need the kitchen to be separated from the rest of the flat with 30 minutes construction and an FD30S fire door.

This recommendation seems to go against the desire of flat owners who want an open plan arrangement for the communal areas within their flats. A significant number of the open plan flats that will be built in the future will exceed 8m x 4m. Therefore, this new guidance will affect a large number of open plan flats by forcing the kitchen to be enclosed in fire rated construction. However, there is an alternative.

The Alternative!


BS 9991 is a guidance document showing only one way of achieving the functional requirements of the Building Regulations. An alternative fire engineered approach can be developed which allows the kitchen to be completely open whilst still meeting the functional requirements of the Building Regulations.

The acceptability of having the kitchen area open in a flat with dimensions over 8m x 4m can be demonstrated through using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling.

This is one example of were a fire engineered approach can be used to meet the functional requirements of the Building Regulations. This is an acceptable alternative to following prescriptive guidance which would constrain the design.

Content provided by James Brady of Innovation Fire