St Albans Civic Centre gets Hyfire Wireless Protection

Global wireless fire detection and alarms leader Hyfire has supplied over 500 devices for a complete renewal of the fire system at St Albans Civic Centre, a landmark building in the heart of the historic cathedral city; allowing the installation to take place with zero impact on employees and service users.

The upgrade of the fire system in the 1980s building was undertaken by Fire Guard Services. It needed to be planned around staff working hours and the existing system had to remain operational throughout, so it was decided to install a hybrid system, combining wired and wireless devices. The new system was fitted in three weeks, mostly outside of office hours, a saving of at least one month compared to the wired alternative. It covers all offices, public spaces and plant rooms within the building, as well as the distinctive hexagonal council chamber, the town’s police station, the bridge link to the Alban Arena and the large basement, part of which is rumoured to have been originally intended as a nuclear bomb shelter.

Brendon Searle, Senior Fire Alarm Engineer at Fire Guard Services, said: “St Albans Civic Centre is a busy hub in the city centre, housing hundreds of council employees as well as visiting members of the public. The old fire system was becoming obsolete but needed to remain operational until the new one was commissioned, so an update using the existing cabling was not an option. After looking at various solutions, we worked with Hyfire to design a new wireless system that met all the key criteria for the building, with the option to expand or update in future as the building evolves and fire technology continues to advance.”

Hyfire offers the widest range of commercial standard wireless fire devices on the market, ranging from optical, multi-criteria and heat detectors to notification, alarm, interface and control units, all fully certified to EN54. All products offer the highest performance and quality in the industry, and are also fully compliant with BS5839 Part 1. Wireless translators, which create the communications infrastructure, sit on the standard fire loops of the fire alarm panel. Wireless input and output devices are added to this network to allow the building of fully wireless systems of virtually any size, or mixed with Hyfire wired products to provide seamless hybrid solutions, offering total flexibility to specifiers and installers.

In addition to being the headquarters of St Albans City & District Council, the Civic Centre also houses the city’s main police station and the new St Albans Health and Wellbeing Centre. The building is currently at the centre of a major urban renewal project known as the Civic Centre Regeneration Site, which will see the surrounding area revived with some existing buildings demolished, new ones erected and a series of public spaces formed to create a new civic quarter. This makes it even more important to ensure that the Civic Centre is fit for purpose as the number of people using the building continues to grow.

Chris McGregor, Regional Sales Manager at Hyfire, said: “The best wireless detection and fire alarm equipment is the equal of traditional wired systems and offers a number of unique benefits. Wireless technology lends itself perfectly to buildings like this one. With no option to update the old system and the design of the building unsuited to new cable runs, Hyfire devices were the ideal solution for the Fire Guard Services team. We estimate that the use of wireless devices reduced installation time, and also labour costs, by around 50 percent compared to a fully wired fire system.

“The Hyfire portfolio includes a full, high performance wired range to support hybrid systems and, on this project, we installed approximately two thirds wireless devices and one third wired. The choice was dictated by the usage of each space and the structure of the building itself. Our bespoke surveying software allows us to design a system that will cover all areas of the building, telling us what components are needed and exactly what the system will cost.”

All Hyfire products are developed by fire industry pioneers Argus in Trieste Italy, the global centre for wireless fire device design. The Hyfire range includes all devices required to build a fully wireless commercial fire system, including optical, multi-criteria and heat detectors, manual call points, remote indicators, visual indicators, sounders, sounder bases and output/input modules. A range of addressable translators and expanders are available, processing up to 32 devices each, with the scale of the system limited only by the number of devices that the fire panel can handle. Devices can be quickly and easily pre-programmed in the office or on site prior to installation.

Helen Ramsay, Building & Facilities Manager at St Albans City & District Council, commented: “A new fire system was clearly required for the Civic Centre, but we did not have the luxury of temporarily closing the building or moving staff elsewhere. Brendon showed us a previous wireless installation his team had completed and the benefits of the Hyfire wireless devices became clear. They deliver everything that a traditional wired system can, without the need for complex wiring and remedial works following the installation of new cable runs.”

Hyfire was launched in 2002, bringing to market some of the first commercial wireless detection and alarm devices fully certified to EN54. Since then, the Hyfire brand has become synonymous with quality, reliability and innovation in the commercial fire sector. Hyfire devices are suitable for addressable panels such as those from Advanced and come with a five-year warranty, backed up by a dedicated partner programme to ensure the best survey, installation, commissioning, after sales service and exceptional technical support.

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