Fire detection technology from Advanced and Apollo has been chosen to protect Portsmouth Guildhall following a major review of fire strategy. The contract was awarded to Christie Intruder Alarms Ltd (CIA), who are an approved supplier for Portsmouth City Council.

There were a number of issues to take into account when designing the new fire system. In some areas, such as the Mayoral Chambers and banqueting facilities, architectural considerations precluded the use of standard hard-wired devices. There was also the need for flexibility, to cope with the multi-use nature of the site. For example, smoke generators are a regular feature of the rock concerts held at the venue, so the fire system had to be capable of distinguishing between transient triggers and genuine fires. 

The fire system is configured in 32 zones and controlled by an eight-loop Advanced MxPro 4, mutliprotocol control panel. The system is monitored at the ground floor reception and by front-of-house staff during functions. Interfaced with it is an emergency pager system that alerts designated staff if an alarm is raised and transmits information about the alarm zone and device operated. This enables staff to investigate incidents prior to an evacuation being instigated and avoids unnecessary disruption to the occupants. 

Bryan Pope, Portsmouth City Council's Fire Advisor, explains:  "I was concerned by the occasional lateral spread of smoke to areas around the auditorium and the need to mitigate disruption to those attending a concert and other building users. The new system had to be flexible without compromising the safety of the building or its occupants." 

Christie Intruder Alarms was able to select products to meet these specific requirements and deliver a fully compatible fire system that did not compromise on performance or reliability. Apollo's analogue addressable XP95 and Discovery devices form the basis of the fire protection system. 

Some 600 Apollo XP95 devices were used to protect the main areas of the building, while Discovery ionisation detectors were used in areas where there was the possibility of smoke entrainment. Those installed at the Guildhall are set to Mode 4, so that their sensitivity levels are appropriate to the risk in these areas. Beam detectors were used in the auditorium roof void, high level plant rooms and the Council Chamber. For the heritage areas, Christie Intruder Alarms used Apollo's wireless XPander range. 


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