New Los Angeles Federal Courthouse kept safe with FFE’s beam smoke detectors

Four Fireray 5000 detectors installed in new state-of-the-art building

To ensure optimum fire detection in its large atrium, the impressive new Los Angeles Federal Courthouse has installed four Fireray beam smoke detectors from FFE. The units were commissioned and installed by SimplexGrinnell.

“Because the atrium is so high, conventional smoke detectors were not suitable for this installation,” commented Managing Director Mark Osborne. “Our Fireray 5000 auto-aligning, reflective smoke detectors were selected instead as they are ideal for this kind of large interior, providing extensive coverage at minimal cost.”

Fireray 5000 beam detectors work by transmitting a beam of invisible infrared light across the building space to be protected. A receiver detects and measures the light and can recognise smoke interference anywhere along the beam path, triggering the alarm signal when the pre-determined threshold is reached.

One of the deciding factors in Fireray 5000 detectors being specified for this application is the ‘low level controller’ feature, which means maintenance and testing can be carried out via the control room. “As the units are situated high up, physically accessing them regularly is exorbitantly expensive and impractical, so remote access is essential,” says SimplexGrinnell’s Construction Manager Sharon Brown.

Another important factor in any new-build project is building movement. All new buildings need to ‘settle’, and for beam detectors, which rely on precision laser alignment at opposite ends of the building, any movement can mean the beams become unaligned. The Fireray 5000 compensates for this through its ‘auto-alignment’ feature, ensuring beams remain aligned during building movement, without causing nuisance alarms or requiring a technician.

The new 10 storey, 633,000-square-foot courthouse, which is situated in downtown Los Angeles, contains 24 courtrooms and 32 judges’ chambers and has sustainable features such as a serrated facade that maximizes views yet also reduces solar heat gain by nearly 50 percent.

With over half a million optical beam detectors installed worldwide, Fireray is the first choice for installers and engineers looking for smoke detection in large open areas. With its modern design aesthetic and minimal footprint, the Fireray is popular with architects and facilities managers who care about preserving the original design of buildings.

About FFE

FFE is a global design and manufacturing business, dedicated to supplying specialist detection products to the fire industry. Headquartered in the UK with offices in the USA, Dubai, India and China, the company’s two leading brands are the Fireray optical beam smoke detector, with over half a million units installed worldwide, and the Talentum flame detector, one of the world’s most respected flame detector brands. FFE also leads the global market in providing fire extinguishers for aviation use and produces a range of vibration switches for industrial applications. FFE is a Halma Company.

Tel: +44 (0)1462 444 740, Fax: +44 (0)1462 444 789 Email: Website:


National survey shows worryingly low awareness of fire door safety

A major survey of 2,000 UK adults in support of Fire Door Safety Week, 25 September – 1 October, has shown an alarming lack of general public awareness of the essential role of fire doors, which are a legal requirement in all commercial, public and multi-occupancy buildings.

The research, carried out by IronmongeryDirect which supplies fire door hardware and accessories, revealed that a quarter (25%) of people are unaware that fire doors must be kept shut at all times and that 49% of those surveyed say they have seen a fire door propped open.

The results also showed that over a third (36%) admit that they would prop a fire door open at certain times, such as when needing to regularly pass through a fire door protected doorway, needing fresh air or when moving heavy objects.

According to the British Woodworking Federation, the organisation behind Fire Door Safety Week, three million fire doors are installed each year and IronmongeryDirect – a supporter of the campaign – supply a wide range of critical fire door components such as intumescent seals, closers and accessories.

“Our survey was carried out just a few weeks after the Grenfell Tower fire in June, so it is disturbing that a significant proportion of the general public seem to lack basic fire door knowledge”, said Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect. He added: “We would urge people, especially trade professionals, to use our online fire door checklist to help assess whether fire doors in buildings they occupy or are responsible for are legally compliant.”

Following the Grenfell tragedy, the company reported a sharp rise in the sale of intumescent door seals, door closers, smoke alarms, and other fire related products.

The survey also highlighted that nearly six in ten people (59%) do not know how to identify a fire door and that 13% of people who do would either take no action or be unsure what to do if there was an obvious problem with a fire door.

In previous research among its customers, IronmongeryDirect also discovered that most of the tradespeople surveyed (73%) had noticed fire doors without correctly fitted seals, and 74% had seen a blocked or obstructed fire door.

The safety campaign says that fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire and their correct specification, maintenance and management can be the difference between life and death for building occupants. However, they remain a significant area of neglect, can often be the first thing to be downgraded on a specification, and are too frequently mismanaged throughout their service life, propped open, damaged and badly maintained.

For a comprehensive guide on fire door compliance, visit


Key associations backing Fire Safety North

Fire Safety North makes its debut at EventCity Manchester on 10-11 October and is being supported by a number of key associations in the fire sector.

Fire Safety North is the ideal place to network with like-minded professionals and to share best practice. The event is being supported by key industry associations the Institute of Fire Safety Managers (IFSM), Association for Specialist Fire Protection, National Association of Healthcare Fire Officers, British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association and the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AiS). Both the Ais and IFSM will be hosting open meetings on 10 Octoberat Fire Safety North and all delegates are welcome to attend.

Delegates will be treated to more than 14 hours of free educational content that is being split across two theatres – The Fire Safety Keynote Theatre (Sponsored by Advanced) and the Fire and Evacuation Theatre (Sponsored by Fire and Security Matters magazine).

In addition, delegates are invited to attend breakfast briefings on both days where they will enjoy a bacon roll, refreshments while networking and enjoying sessions on understanding passive fire protection (10 October) and tall building fires (11 October). The sessions start at 8am, which is an hour before the doors open, and will end provide attendees with an exclusive first look at the exhibition.

CPD hours are available for all the seminar sessions and the content line-up is not to be missed. Day one will focus on complying with legislation with delegates invited to take part in a fire safety mock trial. Leading fire safety prosecutor Warren Spencer will lead the prosecution against a defendant in a case under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 while a leading barrister will attempt to convince the jury of the defendant’s innocence. Delegates will then be given the opportunity to be judge and jury so make sure you don’t miss out on this lively and interactive demonstration of life in a court room for fire safety offences.

Warren Spencer has prosecuted more than 100 cases under the Fire Safety Order and in a separate seminar he will share some of the most common pitfalls that have led to prosecutions against companies across the UK.

In another interactive session, experienced fire safety trainer Roy Smith will deliver a live chemical explosion demonstration, which will show the devastating effects of not safely storing chemicals.

Day two will provide a focus on business continuity and disaster planning, including a session from Manchester City Council about how it responded to the recent bombing at the Manchester Evening News Arena. The Welsh government will also deliver an address about how it successfully passed legislation that makes it a legal requirement to install sprinklers in all new buildings. There will also be sessions on how to eliminate false alarms and the role of the responsible person.

Fire Safety North is co-located with the long-established Health and Safety North and there will be more than 130 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and innovations in the fire and health and safety sectors. Fire Safety North will feature leading brands such as Advanced, C-Tec, Wagner, Gerda, FirePro, Evac+Chair, EMS, Jactone, BT Redcare and many more.

You can attend Fire Safety North for FREE! For more information or to register to attend visit


Kentec’s arrival at Bergen’s new airport terminal

A new life safety system based around Kentec’s Syncro XT+ addressable extinguishing control panel technology is being installed in the new 4 billion Kroner (Euro 407m) terminal at Norway’s Bergen Flesland International Airport.

Bergen Flesland’s new terminal will treble the airport’s capacity and will include a new dedicated train line connecting Flesland to Bergen city centre. The terminal building itself will be scalable, featuring all core functions, including check-in, baggage, storage systems, security control, and departure and arrival halls on two separate levels.

Norwegian Brannslokkesystemer AS was commissioned to design and install a Novec 1230 extinguishing system, controlled by a Kentec Syncro XT+ network comprising 11 multi-area addressable extinguishant control panels with loop powered status indicator units and using Apollo communications protocol. Brannslokkesystemer AS imports, designs and assembles automatic gas extinguishing systems for the marine and land-based market throughout Norway.

Kentec’s Syncro XT+ control panels are the leading multi-area addressable extinguishant control panel solution, fully approved to EN12094-1, EN54-2 and EN54-4. Syncro XT+ provides addressable detection over 1 or 2 loops with 16 Zone LED Indicators and is available with up to four extinguishant release control units built in.

For product information Kentec +44 (0)1322 222121 or visit


GBE Appointed at New U.S. Embassy in London

GBE were appointed by Main Contractor BL Harbert International, to carry out the installation of the Fire Alarm System to the new U.S. Embassy in London, the U.S. Government’s UK headquarters. The 4.9-acre brownfield site, located in the rapidly developing area of Nine Elms on the South bank of the Thames, is situated between Vauxhall and Battersea. Sir Robert McAlpine is the Prime Subcontractor on the project.

The building is under the care and direction of the U.S. Government’s Overseas Buildings Operations, who have a dedicated team based in London. Designed by Philadelphia-based architect Kieran Timberlake, the construction reflects the best of modern design, incorporating the latest in energy-efficient building techniques and celebrates the values of freedom and democracy.

In addition to installation, GBE have also provided design assistance to Keller Fire & Safety, BL Harbert International’s appointed Fire Alarm and Life Safety Systems installer. Installation works have required meticulous coordination with other contractors to overcome the challenges with containment routes in congested service voids, as well as final device positioning in the various service tile locations.
GBE’s installation team have been instrumental in ensuring the works have been carried out to the highest standards and completed within agreed timescales, allowing Keller Fire & Safety sufficient time to commission the system.

GBE Managing Director Jason Buttle commented “We’re extremely pleased to have been appointed to such a high-profile project. Our design team have overcome some interesting challenges such as working with U.S. NFPA code and we’ve added genuine value to the project.”

GBE commenced their installation work in 2015, with commissioning due to commence in December 2016 and completion in 2017.

Image Copyright KieranTimberlake


Kentec protects top Cambridge biolab facility

A new life safety system based around Kentec’s Syncro fire alarm control panel technology has been installed at a new biology laboratory facility – part of the Babraham Research Campus Cambridge, considered to be the UK’s leading campus that supports early-stage bioscience enterprise.

The more integrated research environment provided by the new buildings will bring the Institute’s computational biologists into closer proximity with the established programmes developing bioscience therapies and technologies to treat human disease.

The open protocol system, supplied and installed by Leader Systems, was designed around a six-loop Kentec Syncro AS analogue addressable fire control panel incorporating approximately 400 addressable devices and 250 loop driven sounders, to provide a complete building system solution with flexible cause and effect capabilities.

Kentec’s flagship ‘open protocol’ Syncro series, recognised as one of the most powerful systems of its type on the market today, guarantees the very highest standards of performance, safety and reliability that such a leading edge research facility demands.

For product information Kentec +44 (0)1322 222121 or visit


Lord’s Warner Stand construction uses Cygnus wireless fire alarm system

One of the key spectator stands at Lord’s Cricket Ground is currently under a two-stage development programme and during construction works, Bull Products is providing its Cygnus wireless fire alarm systems.

The Warner Stand which was built in 1958, is being replaced with a new stand with seating for 2,656 spectators with improved sight lines to the pitch and at the same time incorporating a new restaurant, three bars and catering facilities. The sustainable design features ground source heat pumps, photovoltaic roof panels, rainwater harvesting and a semi-translucent fabric roof.

Phase one of the Warner Stand project focused on the structure and seating of the stand before handing over in July 2016 ready for the second England v Pakistan Investec Test match. With the cricket season now over, the phase two work of creating bars, restaurant and other amenities has now started and is due for completion in April 2017.

For both phases of this work, BAM Construction specified Bull Products to supply and install five Cygnus wireless fire and first aid alarm call points and 31 smoke detectors. Fire point stations are positioned throughout the site with alarms that are linked to a main control panel. This control panel is also linked to an additional sounder system which can be switched off on match days.

Kevin Stoney, Project Manager for BAM London, said: “The Cygnus system performs really well and is very reliable. Bull Products respond well to any requests, and all regulations were successfully signed off to allow a smooth hand-over.”

Although designed as a temporary alarm system for construction sites, the Cygnus wireless system can be used on other construction sites after use. On the Warner Stand project, the flexibility of the system was underlined when it was able to be modified to link with alarms in the construction site offices. It was also modified to interface with the general alarm system at Lord’s.

The Cygnus wireless fire alarm system is a major innovation for construction sites and has been designed and developed in conjunction with major construction companies to incorporate all the features required for larger construction projects. The Cygnus system is able to link no less than 480 units in 15 different zones. Individual units may be a fire alarm call point, first aid alert point, smoke detector, heat detector or a combined call point and first aid alert alarm.

Where there are multiple sites within range of each other, the CE marked Cygnus system has been designed to operate on different site addresses in order to keep each system separate and free from interference.

A major feature of the Cygnus system is the optional control panel which provides a very sophisticated capability with an event log function which records any events such as an alarm activation, low battery warning, and signal faults, all of which can be viewed if necessary in the history folder held on the panel.  The system also has the ability to test all units and has an evacuate function which will act as a call point to the rest of the alarm units.

Each unit in the system can provide the panel with information at regular intervals.  This explicit information confirms the unit is still present and what the battery status of each device is.  Known as the ‘heart beat’ this message is monitored by the control panel where fitted and if the ‘heart beat’ is not heard for several intervals, the control panel logs a full status for that unit.

A PIR option is now available on any of the modules which can detect an intruder and alert off-site personnel for added safety protection.

Bull Products offers a full one-year guarantee on all Cygnus devices and provides high levels of technical, on-site and after-sales service support in addition to its standard maintenance contracts.

Further information on the Cygnus wireless alarm system is available from Bull Products 01432 371170 by emailing or by visiting the company’s website at


BIM takes protection to another level

The growing use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) is becoming significant with central government requiring the use of it on all of its projects. Here, Bob Glendenning of Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) tracks the relevance and benefits of BIM for protection of complex modern steel structures.

The level of protection afforded on any building where large numbers of people move about has to be proportionate to the structure. If this falls short, the time the protection provides for rescue services in the event of a real fire could be reduced and potentially the load bearing capacity of the steel breached much more quickly than anticipated, threatening the safe evacuation of people.

Increased knowledge of how real buildings react in fire and of how real fires behave has led many authorities to acknowledge that improvements in fire safety may now be possible in many instances using the BIM process and technology.

The essence of Buildings Information Modelling (BIM) is to support complex supply chains with a platform which helps collaboration, essentially enabling data sharing.

On major projects such as those rising in our major cities, there can be issues of logistics and handover of one phase to another, from concept, design, installation of products and application of fire protection.

The principles of the BIM process bring together all the data associated with that project into one place.

The UK Government’s requirement for Level 2 BIM on all central government projects means the construction industry wants to know which suppliers are BIM compliant.

Indeed, the British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) for steelwork contractors has provided detailed training to more than 100 of its members, and has launched the Steel Construction BIM Charter. This means that BCSA Member companies can now be certified as meeting the requirements of both PAS 91:2013 and PAS 1192-2:2013.

The certification process requires companies to carry out an online assessment, which is then followed up by an onsite audit.

Certified companies are provided with a comprehensive document summarising the company’s BIM capability, which they can then provide to the supply chain.

The BCSA’s online directory means clients and main contractors can see which companies have been assessed against the BIM Charter, with the Charter providing a simple way to prequalify steelwork contractors.

Under BIM, an essential component addresses budgeting and cost estimating, known as 5D. This can be a valuable source of information to reach better estimates, reduce assumptions, and create a better dialogue early in a project.

Ideally, BIM 5D is used either to link model elements to unit cost or assembly processes to produce an estimate. The BIM trend of collaboration and real-time input continues to bring efficiencies to cost controls and is creating a shift in input as data, and the ability to report from the field begins to replace input from the office.

The transparency of those in the supply chain who follow the principles of BIM can help in making previously challenging projects financially sound, fit-for-purpose and more importantly – safe.

Benefits in the process are apparent for main contractors, architects, structural engineers, steel fabricators and site inspectors. Being able to access a BIM model collaboratively allows much more efficiency and versatility, particularly on projects that have global players where project team members may reside in different geographies around the world. All can access the model over the internet including cloud sharing technology as well.

At Sherwin-Williams, our own fire design estimation tool – Firetex Design Estimator 2.0 – is offering a new calculated solution to the issues of fire engineering safety, and embraces BIM with an integrated tool allowing 3D modelling data to be directly linked into the software.

This offers the capability of providing calculations for coatings thicknesses of all shapes and sizes of steel sections, fire engineering, and in the case of cellular beams, allows for any configuration of web apertures to be seamlessly designed and passed back into the model.

We believe this software helps to eliminate any personal interpretations or assumptions. Many of the buildings currently being designed present difficulties further down the line in terms of fire protection design and this software supports the industry in keeping pace with advances in design and materials.

For the steelwork fabricator, the approach under BIM means they can manage the whole process from concept to design through to delivery of materials on site including the off-site applied fire protection. The same principle could also be adopted for use with on-site applied fire protection, offering advantages to the main contractor and eventually to the owner/operator.

Once the fire protection properties have been passed back into the BIM model, future interested stakeholders can access any of that information to manage many areas such as inspection and onward building fire maintenance as well as building insurers. Even fire and rescue services could create strategies using this data.

Under the current Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, those responsible for commercial buildings including the employer, owner, or any other person who has control of any part of the premises, must carry out a detailed fire risk assessment identifying the risks and hazards in the premises.

The responsible person usually has to call in a fire engineer or qualified person to assess the risk and make calculations about fire engineering design depending on the type of building and the risk.

Based on the findings of the assessment, employers need to ensure that adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.

Although fire deaths are falling, insurers are concerned at increasing fire losses, which are at the highest level ever experienced since records began, totalling around £3.4 million per day across the UK.

Designing structures in the ambient state with no consideration for the fire condition presents unacceptable risk.

Our current industry procedures mean that this can easily happen and the burden of ensuring fire safe design, which may well include additional costly measures, is placed with either the wrong party or, in the worst case, missed altogether.

The danger in cutting corners is that the fire safety measures will be compromised. We believe the responsibility in modern building design should lie with the designer up to handover of the building and then, with full knowledge of all fire safety requirements, it becomes the responsibility of the owner-manager.

Using modern fire protection design as part of BIM can play a major part in delivering a safe, cost-effective project which meets the expectations and agreements made by all parties at the outset.

For more information contact Sherwin-Williams, tel: +44 (0)1204 521 771 or visit


The smarter way to hold open fire doors

Based in County Durham, the manufacturers of the Agrippa fire door holder and closer launched the wire-free range at the International Trade Show, Firex. Three years on, sales of the Agrippa devices have gone from strength to strength. Here we look at what makes them stand out from the rest.

Until now, the reliability of wire-free fire door holding and closing devices has been questioned by fire safety professionals due to false activations and damage caused to soft furnishings and the fire door itself. It was in response to these concerns that innovators of fire safety products, Geofire developed its unique ‘listen and learn’ technology. This advanced pre-programing means that the devices pre-record the sound of the building’s specific fire alarm and only release the fire door should they hear this particular sound.

Geofire’s Agrippa range of wire-free fire door holders and closers have been very popular in environments where minimal disruption is desired such as care homes, schools and hotels. The cleverly designed battery-powered units mean that there is no need to re-wire a building’s current fire door activation system. The devices can be fitted in a matter of minutes and are even complete with a handy, step-by-step installation video.

Both products are hygienically installed at the top of the door, ensuring there is no damage to floors/carpets or any warping of the fire door. It is often beneficial in such environments to hold open fire doors to ease access and increase ventilation during busy periods, where as many building facilities managers fall into the trap of wedging open fire doors without realising they could be prosecuted for doing so.

The Agrippa fire door holder is a simple solution to holding open internal fire doors. It is competitively priced and easy to install. The holder is particularly useful for holding open fire doors in corridors and there are many accessories available including chain keepers and extension brackets for non-standard installations.

The Agrippa fire door closer is a swing-free device which allows the fire door to be held open in any position. It will make the door resistance-free and so it will feel light and easy to move. The closer has been installed into care homes in the UK to reduce isolation for residents in their rooms.

Last but by no means least, the devices comes supplied with two C-cell batteries, can be programmed for daily release, have a battery life indicator and both products are approved to EN1155 and CE marked.

The illustrations show how the Agrippa fire door holder can be installed in five easy steps. Designed with the installer in mind, the holder can be fitted in less than ten minutes.

For more information go to or call 01388 770 360.


Chubb Protects New £450 Million University Campus

Chubb Fire & Security Limited has won a competitive tender to protect students, staff and property from fire by supplying thousands of portable fire extinguishers to Swansea University’s new £450 million Bay Campus. Chubb, a leading provider of security and fire-safety solutions, is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

The new campus, a 65-acre site on the seafront at Neath Port Talbot, includes the Great Hall, which contains a £32 million 700-seater auditorium and arts centre, halls of residence, academic faculties and a library. It was opened in September 2015 and accommodates more than 1,500 students.

In winning the tender, Chubb is providing more than 4,000 portable fire extinguishers, supported by a four-year maintenance contract. Chubb also retained the existing contract for maintaining the extinguishers at the University’s Singleton Campus.

Philip Moremon, compliance officer at Swansea University, said, “Because of the size of the new campus, it made sense to review our existing relationships and put the entire University’s fire extinguisher contract up for tender.

“At both campuses, delivering quality products, providing value for money and reliability were three important factors when we selected a new supplier, and Chubb met all of these requirements.”

Chubb will install the Good DesignTM award-winning range of Chubb FX extinguishers and then provide an annual inspection of each building, equipping new university sites as development continues to 2020.

“Chubb is responsive and easy to work with, its engineers specified and installed the equipment quickly and efficiently with no problems, despite the strict time constraints due to the deadline opening of the campus to students,” Moremon concluded.

For more information, visit