Broadway Plaza

Leader Systems took up the fire detection challenge which features Advanced’s MxPro 4, multiprotocol intelligent fire system and approximately 1,000 Apollo XP95 devices across three main fire detection systems and the development of some bespoke interface units to enable the integration of tenant fire detection systems.

Diverse tenant activities in turn mean that the fire detection requirements vary enormously, as Tony Weaver of Leader Systems explained. "It was apparent from the outset that Broadway Plaza would need a multi-stage evacuation strategy," he said. "We worked closely with the landlord, client end-user, consultant, local Fire Officer, principal building contractor and mechanical and electrical contractor EIC Ltd to formulate an appropriate fire strategy for the development." Leader Systems and EIC Ltd took specific responsibility for the technical issues involved.

The end-user and consultant placed a high degree of importance on the Landlord system being reliable, easy to use, easy to maintain and flexible. Leader Systems recommended the use of an open protocol system based on Apollo's proven XP95 technology to meet these requirements. Another key consideration was the provision of accurate information about system activations to an attending fire crew prior to them entering the complex. Points of entry were agreed with the Fire Officer and fully functional repeater panels with weatherproof enclosures were fitted at each designated entrance.

Zoning of the car parking levels within the fire alarm system was a critical issue. The sprinkler system and the air handling systems were also divided into zones, so it was important to set some common boundaries within which all three systems would function harmoniously, providing the end-user with something close to a common zoning plan that was easy to interpret.

Broadway Plaza was equipped with three distinct fire detection systems: one system to protect the cinema, a second system to govern the residential areas and the master Plaza Landlord fire detection system. The cinema has a six-loop system with a special LED mimic assembly and a multi-zone voice alarm facility. It incorporates over 350 Apollo XP95 devices, including sixteen smoke detectors fitted to duct probes. The fire detection system for the residential areas comprises four Advanced Electronics MxPro 4 two-loop analogue addressable control panels with pulse input monitoring and over 200 XP95 devices.

Designed in accordance with BS5839, the Landlord fire detection system was required to send and receive Alert (stage 1) and Evacuate (stage 2) signals from each tenant and from adjoining units. It was imperative that the client should be able to take full control of any evacuation, wherever it may occur in the complex. The evacuation process was therefore split into six timed phases with the client being able to stop progression from one phase to the next at any time.

It was decided that any tenant or unit receiving an Alert signal from the Landlord should pulse their bells or sounders, or broadcast the relevant voice alarm message. This posed a potential problem because no-one could predict at the specification stage who would occupy each unit or what type of fire alarm system they would install.

Where a tenant indicated that they would use an analogue addressable fire alarm system with voice alarm, Leader Systems was able simply to use Apollo XP95 Input/Output units to relay the signals. However, the fire system specification had to allow for the fact that some, if not all, of the smaller retail units were likely to go down the conventional fire alarm route and some of the larger units would be likely to use analogue addressable systems with loop-powered or conventional sounders.

Leader Systems was able to meet these complex requirements thanks to the specification of an open protocol fire detection system. The open protocol enabled Leader to work with the panel manufacturer, Advanced, to find appropriate technical solutions.

As a result Leader Systems was able to develop an appropriate solution to the need for a continuous and/or pulsing output that could be accepted by a conventional fire control panel as a Class Change input or similar.

The application required an input that was capable of accepting a pulsing or continuous signal and interpreting it as such to activate any sounders in the same pattern. Within weeks, Advanced had engineered a solution that could be added to any MxPro 4 panel with the appropriate software to provide the required results.

Birmingham City's Broadway Plaza

Advanced Fire Systems

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