Fire protection technology in heritage buildings

Industry engineer using virtual touchscreen pressing shield fire flame button

We are a fire prevention and essential services business across all industry sectors. In one of our latest projects, we used fire protection technology in our fire safety system design as a modern-day solution to a historical problem in heritage buildings.

Our solution needed to push the envelope and use technology strategies to future-proof the fire safety system’s compliance requirements.

Traditional heritage architecture and a vintage sandstone facade building

What defines a heritage building

The Heritage Council of New South Wales defines a heritage listing as a place or object with significant heritage value. They provide links to the past and collectively demonstrate the unique history and achievements of the people within a specific community, region or country.

Australia vehemently protects its heritage as, according to the council, it reveals and preserves the story of Australia’s past and safeguards and enriches the present and the future. There are economic, individual and community benefits linked to heritage sites and listings.

Heritage fire station

Preserving heritage properties

Any preservation strategies used for heritage-listed buildings must retain the original aesthetics. Heritage buildings are often centuries old, and the original construction, electrical and safety systems need consistent maintenance and, where necessary, upgrades to keep the establishment safe.

At DEM Fire, we want to take fire protection a step further and future-proof the fire prevention and protection strategies used on these buildings, so we have embraced technology to help us do this.

Facade of a heritage building

The heritage project

DEM Fire was commissioned by a consulting engineer for a class 2 building, defined by the Building Code of Australia as a multi-unit residential apartment building.

The building is circa the late 19th century. Although the Fire Indication Panel (FIP), Occupant Warning System (OWS), and associated smoke detection systems were in place, they required and would continue to require upgrades.

The upgrade was necessary to meet detection coverage compliance and the need to interface with the OWS and sprinkler systems for the emergency evacuation response. A team that comprised DEM Fire systems experts, Accredited Practitioner Fire Safety and engineer consultants was tasked to develop a fire-engineered solution to accommodate a new FIP system to meet the demands of a heritage-listed building.

As a strata property, it was essential for the property owners and team managing the building that whatever investment made now is sustainable and adequately integrated with future fire system solutions and technology upgrades.

smoke detector and pendent fire sprinkler on a ceiling

The unique heritage building fire system solution

To meet the AS1670 of the Australian Fire Regulations and the AFSS (Annual Fire Safety Statement) compliance requirements, the building needed a new FIP and OWS.

“The issue we faced when designing and installing the wiring for the smoke detector system in the common areas meant that we needed to remove the decorative cornices. Per the guidelines stipulated by the heritage council, the aesthetics of the heritage building could not be altered. We needed to come up with an alternative solution,” says our General Manager, Gary Marshall.

A businessman holding a shield with a padlock on a worldwide network link represents data protection

Using technology in fire protection

DEM Fire and the team of fire engineers designed a bespoke fire system using WIFI technology with Fusion smoke detectors. Not only does the system allow for longer periods between maintenance, but the tech offers an extra layer of smoke detection across all common areas. WIFI extenders installed throughout the building guarantee a strong internet connection to secure the integration with the OWS sound devices and sprinkler system.

The system design also mitigates the risk of spurious or false alarms and interfaces with the OWS system, which triggers the evacuation strategy alerts Fire & Rescue NSW emergency services.

Gary says, “Although the bespoke system we have designed is still with the council for final approval, it is a testament to how committed we are to staying ahead of the innovation curve in designing fire safety strategies and fire protection solutions that meet the unique needs of an industry or property.”

Contact us to speak to our team if you are looking for a bespoke fire protection or fire safety system design.

Contact DEM Fire & Essential Services Group

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