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A healthy approach to fire
February 2017, This Week's Editor's Pick, Fire & Safety

Compliance with occupational health and safety practice is critical to business sustainability. Quite aptly, Discovery Health has taken a strong stand on the deployment of appropriate fire and evacuation safety solutions at its new 120 000 m2 head office in Sandton.

Housing 5000 employees from the company’s four buildings currently located in the Sandton CBD, the building will comprise two wings with eight floors of offices plus a ground floor and a feature roof level. It will also offer nine basements with over 5100 parking bays.

Appointed by the main contractors on the project – Tiber WBHO JV – SFP Security & Fire is responsible for the provision of fire detection, voice evacuation, fire telephones and both Argonite and FM200 gaseous fire suppression equipment. Awarded on tender, the company’s appointment as a main service provider was based on a combination of price, product and experience, and called for an EN54 technically compliant system.

According to Dan Lurie, contracts manager at SFP Security & Fire, health and safety considerations are becoming increasingly more stringent on all sites and the sheer size of the Discovery headquarters has resulted in one of the most extensive fire and associated safety technology projects of its kind in southern Africa.

Lurie explains that SFP is networking various fire panels together in one system on the superstructure levels. Essentially, the company is responsible for the fine tuning of the system design (initial design is provided by Trevor Williams Consulting), and technology supply, installation and commissioning on all floors that will be occupied, from the ground floor upwards. The basement levels will be handled by another contractor, using identical technology. This will allow all panels to be incorporated into one network and to be viewed via a single graphical user interface.

Integration is a critical part of the project specification with the voice evacuation system tied into the fire detection system to provide an automatic evacuation system option. Lurie says that given the sheer size of the campus it is important that all of the systems provided contribute to the quickest possible evacuation of the employees.

SFP elected to use Ziton ZP2 addressable fire panels together with ZP7 Series optical and heat detectors for smoke and fire detection with Input / Output addressable devices integrated on the loop to control third-party systems such as the HVAC, start-up and shutdown procedures, and the lifts.

The voice evacuation/PA system is the ATEIS IDA8, with a centralised head end that distributes out to one zone per floor throughout the building. The EN54 certified system offers A/B speaker line wiring for a completely redundant solution. In essence, if there is an open circuit, the speakers are fed in either direction to the break. If a speaker line (A or B) short circuits, it is ignored and does not cause system shutdown as the other loop will still be available on that floor to provide 50% coverage. If an amplifier fails, one amplifier will be available on standby and will automatically kick in and take over the duty of the primary amplifier. The system is fully monitored to ensure continuity of voice addresses.

Lurie says that there will be approximately 2500 detectors, 3500 speakers and 150 interface units deployed, together with 18 distributed and networked fire panels, monitored by a single graphical interface.

Sigtel fire telephones provide an emergency voice communication system in all the fire escape staircases and fire escape lobbies and will result in a coordinated emergency solution operated from a single point. This EN54 compliant system was specified by the project consultants, with 159 outstations offering bi-directional communication.

The client called for fire detection and gas suppressants in the basement data centre. Each of the 10 rooms is protected by clean-agent, high-pressure Argonite. In phase 1 of the project 44 individual FM200 fire suppression systems will be deployed, while a further nine will be deployed in phase 2. FM200, which incorporates an engineered system that uses a fixed nozzle agent distribution network, is a desirable solution for IT rooms since no messy clean up is required if it is activated. It is also non-conductive and non-corrosive and is designed to safe personnel levels.

Each of these suppression systems has its own control panel and gas cylinder and is monitored by an addressable panel. In addition, all 10 rooms are also monitored by a VESDA HSSD system to provide early warning.

SFP started work on the project on April 2016 and phases one and two are scheduled for handover in late 2017. SFP is currently busy with the cabling component of the project and will be in full swing with commissioning and testing of the systems in mid-2017.

For more information contact SFP Security & Fire, +27 (0)11 247 7800, dan@sfp.co.za, www.sfp.co.za


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