Pentagon-like security and BMS at Hollard's new HO

April 2005 Integrated Solutions

Hollard Insurance's new 20 000 m2 head office in Parktown, Johannesburg, boasts security on a similar level as the Pentagon - part of an overall intelligent building concept suggested by Johnson Controls. "This building is, to our knowledge, the first truly intelligent building in South Africa," says Neil Cameron, divisional manager, Controls, at Johnson Controls.

Although the original tender brief was for a high-tech security solution, Johnson Controls suggested an innovative solution to integrate all electronic systems in the building into a single intelligent system.

The solution consists of airconditioning, heating, chillers, access control interfaces, a CCTV system, evacuating system, panic system and a fire control system, as well as perimeter security and intrusion detection systems. The whole system is controlled by a single seat control room equipped with Johnson Controls' Metasys Web-Enabled building management system (BMS), digital controllers and TCP/IP storage. A public address and evacuation system are also included.

This is no small feat if one takes into account that the system controls and monitors over 100 access card readers, around 80 CCTV cameras, 3,1 km of electrical fencing and around 16 km of cabling. The solution has been designed to save money and be as efficient as possible. For instance, the access control system interfaces with the building management system to allow for automatic activation and deactivation of airconditioners when an access control card is swiped for a specific area. Should a fire break out, the BMS is designed to open extraction fans in the room that is on fire as well as close dampers and close extractions fans in the areas around it to ensure that smoke and fire do not spread throughout the building.

"The advantage of such a sophisticated building management system is an overall more efficient building. Around 75% of the costs of a building occur after occupation, but these costs are reduced dramatically through the use of an intelligent system. It reduces the staff complement required to manage the building, uses less energy and electricity, and increases overall security," Cameron says.

Johnson Controls was able to increase the functionality of the security systems to improve the operation of the building without jeopardising the security requirements.

"Johnson Controls' unique ability to integrate previously standalone systems into one smart building enabled Hollard to benefit operationally without having to increase the installation costs. The idea was of tying in occupancy levels in the various zones with the operation of the building's airconditioning, lighting and chiller plants. By sharing fire zone information we can intelligently localise the fire and prevent smoke contamination into the rest of the building by selectively opening and closing a series of dampers," he explains. Cameron says, typically, clients like Hollard would install a separate access control, fire system, building management system, evacuation system and CCTV system. These systems would perform their function, however, no intelligence between the systems could be obtained.

"The Johnson Controls solution offers the integration of previously standalone systems. By using open architecture systems and the ability to write protocol conversion mapping tables, enabled us to connect and share information between the various systems. The sharing of the information will facilitate automatic lower energy costs and reduced maintenance cost. The integration will allow information such as door status, alarms, temperature, fire detectors, energy and occupancy sharing via a single Web-enabled browser," he explains.

The site of the new Hollard head office also houses the historical Villa Arcadia, designed by Sir Herbert Baker. This old Johannesburg beauty is being restored as an art museum. However, this has added challenges to the project. As the old house and its surrounds are a heritage site, the installation process has been subject to certain restrictions. For instance, the security and BMS installation takes place in two buildings (Villa Arcadia and the new Hollard head office), but the area between the two is intersected by an historical stone-paved road, which may not be disturbed. In addition, no stone in the stonewall may be touched while erecting the perimeter fence.

"All in all this has been a challenging building, but at the same time it has been thrilling to be involved with this project. To our knowledge, no other building in South Africa has this level of sophistication in terms of security or building management systems," Cameron says.

The project was awarded in November 2004, and work started in December. Installation will be complete by June 2005.

For more information contact Neil Cameron, Johnson Controls, 011 886 8997,

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