Modern building protection systems are complex but should integrate with each other to get the best results from your investment says Leo Slootmans, the CEO of Firespec.
Sometimes the results of tendering processes can lead to sub-optimal results in building or refit projects where the focus should be on integration – and also getting maximum bang for buck. “For example, certain tenders will call for the installation of public address and evacuation systems separately from fire detection, yet there is considerable benefit to building safety and also cost that these should be integrated,” he says.
Slootmans explains that especially in high pedestrian traffic areas such as airports, hospitals and malls, it is essential that the response to a fire or other security incident should run smoothly from its detection to final suppression. This may include evacuating the occupants as quickly as possible in an orderly manner. Thus, it is also important that access control measures designed to protect the building from unauthorised entry should work in reverse and allow orderly evacuation. This is vital for human safety as well as the protection of assets,
The company has recently been involved in the Obz Square development, a dynamic new student residence of the University of Cape Town where accommodation for 900 students is integrated with mixed-use areas such as services and retail. Facilities installed on a quick turnaround turnkey basis included integrated access control, fire detection, CCTV, PA and evac systems. “This new residence will now be serviced under our UCT maintenance service offering, going forward,” he says.
“A typical high traffic, high security area installation would be the work we did for ACSA at the the new terminal at Cape Town International Airport,” Slootmans says. “The PA system we installed is sophisticated and loudspeakers in the high volume areas are integrated into the columns on the main floor. This is significant, not only for routine travel announcements, but also for safety purposes such as an evacuation call. Allied to this are active integrated systems – for monitoring, fire detection and fire suppression. This serves many essential functions and is linked to other systems throughout the terminal, for example an emergency shutdown of cooking gas in all restaurants when triggered”, he says.
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