Q. Why is Fire Alarm System Design So Important?
In every fire event, smoke is usually the first clue. In a smouldering fire, it can sometimes be the only clue for a long period of time, during which a small fire can very rapidly develop into a full conflagration. Therefore, the early detection of a fire at its emerging stage will quite often provide that early warning that will protect both lives and property. Because of this, the design of a fire detection system and the correct positioning of detection devices at an appropriate location is vital.
Q. How Can Better System Design Provide Better Protection?
Unfortunately, all too often fire detection systems suffer from “cookbook designing”, in other words generic designs put together without assessing the specific risks and structure of each building.
Firstly, it’s important to understand and consider the hazards and other life-safety systems already present that can supplement a fire alarm system through integration. Accordingly, performance or prescriptive designing should be performed to then enhance the functioning of system that will be employed to protect the premises. Moreover, the installer must ensure the proper placement of detectors, evaluating the site condition and any obstructions. Appropriate fire loop cables should always be used to run the system as per the relevant installation standards such as NFPA – 72, BS 5839 or IS2189.
Q. How Can a Collaborative Approach to the Use of Drawings Improve System Design?
To design a better fire detection system, all relevant drawings such as architectural, structural and fire sprinkler plans and the location of any other protection equipment should all be considered well before deciding on the final positioning of the fire detection equipment. Having a complete understanding of the building and its existing systems provides a clearer picture for the fire system designer, so that the fire detection devices can be positioned correctly within the design. At this stage too, it is important to determine the requirement to integrate any additional equipment and how this can be achieved.
Q. How Can Utilising Cutting-Edge Technologies Assist in Resolving Issues During the Construction Process?
The role of the System Designer has dramatically changed over the last few decades. In traditional 2D CAD design, the different design teams contributing to a project have to wait for each other’s design elements to be completed before they can be exchanged between them. Also a 2D technical drawing has obvious limitations when it comes to spotting potential clashes, dangers and risks at the design stage. In contrast, utilising a BIM framework for a project creates real value for all stakeholders, where the reduction of errors, reworking and wastage of materials and human resource can significantly reduce costs across the design stage
The virtual nature of system design and construction with BIM creates the potential to identify problems much earlier in the building process, and fixing problems early means fewer issues in the plans and ultimately fewer hassles in the field. Hochiki currently provides BIM models for a range of its products that can support this new approach to project and system design.
Q. How Can a Combination of Wired and Wireless Devices Contribute to Simple and Efficient Installation?
Hybrid fire systems combine hard-wired devices with wireless, radio technologies under a single control regime. Although wireless products are becoming more and more reliable and cost effective, there are still some concerns around completely wireless fire alarm systems in regards to reliability, affordability, and security. One way to reap the benefits of wireless fire alarm products while mitigating the concerns around a fully wireless system is to combine hardwired and wireless technology to form a complete hybrid system. Hybrid systems are effective in areas where fire cable installation is a challenge and the preservation of the aesthetics of a building could be compromised by traditional hard-wired cabling. Hochiki’s Ekho hybrid wireless system enables that seamless integration with the wired system.
Q. Why is it That Only Approved Fire Systems Can Provide Enhanced Integrity Performance?
With the proliferation of mobile phone networks, and other communication and electronic equipment, the hazards related to Radio Frequency (RF) interference are potentially many. More and more stringent demands are made on system designers to specify radio products of the highest standards, to ensure immunity from unwanted activations caused by such interference.
Selecting wireless fire products which are tested by approved bodies such as the LPCB or UL is essential. Validation by such an organisation ensures not only compliance with the relevant Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) standards but also that the fire detection performance of the products meets the requirements of the relevant product standards.