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IFE Scotland Central Scotland FRS. Stirling, 21 February 2012. Technical Sprinkler Seminar The Royal Apartments, Stirling Castle. Welcome by: Gordon Gilmour MBA MRes MFireE FCMI Vice President Scottish Branch IFE. IFE Scotland Seminar. Stirling, 21 February 2012.

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technical sprinkler seminar the royal apartments stirling castle
IFE Scotland

Central Scotland FRS

Stirling, 21 February 2012

Technical Sprinkler SeminarThe Royal Apartments, Stirling Castle

Welcome by: Gordon Gilmour MBA MRes MFireE FCMI

Vice President Scottish Branch IFE

installation of an automatic fire suppression system in the royal apartments stirling castle
IFE Scotland


Stirling, 21 February 2012

Installation of an Automatic Fire Suppression System in the Royal Apartments, Stirling Castle

Presented by: Stewart Kidd, MA, MSc, FIFireE, FIFSM, FSA Scotland

Thanks to Historic Scotland for permission to include text from the Guide for Practitioner’s No 7:Fire Safety Management in Traditional Buildings
  • Part 2 of the Guide provides extensive information on the use of sprinklers and other fire suppression systems in older buildings
  • The Guide (which has ACOP Status in Scotland) makes it clear that sprinklers are a major asset for adaptive reconstruction
  • ISBN 978-1-84917-035-2
heritage buildings have fires too
Heritage Buildings Have Fires Too!
  • The differences are obvious:
    • Fires spread more easily where there is no compartmentation and there are unstopped ducts, voids and flues
    • The age of the building will often determine its type of construction
    • Loss of heritage fabric and authenticity by inappropriate changes is a cultural crime
    • If older building are not used, they cannot pay their way and are likely to be abandoned and eventually vandalised and destroyed by arsonists
    • Risk assessments matter as for any building
conservation principles
Conservation Principles
  • All ‘improvements’ in historic buildings must be:
    • Minimally invasive
    • Reversible
    • Essential
    • Sensitive
    • Appropriate
    • Compliant
heritage risk assessment
Heritage Risk Assessment

The purposes of risk assessment are to:

  • Identify people at risk
  • Eliminate hazards
  • Control by identifying appropriate measures
  • Avoid and prevent fires
  • Transfer the risk of financial loss, or:
  • Accept the risk
not just life safety but property risks
Not Just Life Safety but Property Risks
  • Statutory risk assessments are only concerned with the safety of the ‘relevant persons’
  • However, one risk assessment can cover both life and property
  • In heritage or historic buildings the process is complicated by the need to consider the impact on buildings and/or contents
  • So consideration must be given to the impact of fire/heat/smoke/firefighting water on historic fabric and collection items
  • For business continuity planning, it is essential to consider property and contents in the FRA
the fire engineering approach
The Fire Engineering Approach
  • Assess the risks
    • Especially when there is a change of use and these will change
  • Identify those at risk
  • Manage the hazards
    • Ignition sources
    • Staff
    • External/arson
  • Improve levels of protection
    • Compartmentation
    • Detection
    • Intervention
    • Suppression
    • Ventilation and smoke control
constraints and problems
Constraints and Problems
  • Fires respect only walls and water
  • In historic buildings, compartmental integrity is rare
  • Introducing segregation can result in unwanted impact on building micro-climate
  • Who will respond to alarms ?
  • Water in quantities used by f&rs can have serious side effects
  • Major post-fire impact on stonework, timber and foundations
  • Supply of fire fighting water for f&rs may be limited
automatic suppression
Automatic Suppression
  • For an independent syummary refer to BS 5306 Part 0: 2011
  • Gas systems
    • Inert gases
    • Halocarbon gases
    • New generation gases
  • Powder systems
  • Air inerting systems/Oxygen reduction
  • Water based systems
    • Sprinklers
    • Water mist
    • Foam
Why Sprinklers ?
  • Automatic fire suppression – ideal when properties are often left vacant
  • All parts of building are protected
  • Not reliant on finite no. of cylinders
  • Compensate for inadequate compartmentation
  • Compensate for areas where fire service response is restricted
  • Protect means of escape so ideal solution when there is only one escape route/staircase
  • Very effective at enabling old buildings to meet intent of modern regulations
Royal Apartments, Stirling Castle 2011

The Palace dates from 1538

Spot the mist head !

water mist 1
Water Mist (1)
  • Systems are very similar to sprinklers employing water propelled through pipes and projected onto a fire through heads
  • Systems operate at much higher pressures
    • Sprinklers: 3 – 5 bars
    • Low Pressure: 12 – 20 bars
    • High Pressure: 200 – 225 bars
  • High pressure systems have critical requirements to allow correct functioning (pipework, water quality)
water mist 2
Water Mist (2)
  • Much less water is used to extinguish fire
  • Can be especially helpful in heritage buildings
  • Small systems can be cheaper than sprinklers where water can be provided in cylinders rather than tanks
  • Larger, high pressure systems are usually more expensive due to cost of pumps and stainless steel piping
  • Heads cannot be concealed but are no more obtrusive than pendant sprinklers
  • Actuation of systems in very large spaces usually requires a separate fire detection system which makes unwanted actuations possible.
water mist stirling castle 1
Water Mist: Stirling Castle (1)
  • Fire suppression system specified by owner (HS) for property protection
  • Both sprinklers and mist tendered for
  • Low pressure mist (12 bars) with 2.5m3 storage was selected
  • F&RS access issues
  • Crown Inspector had issues with non compliant surfaces
  • Mist was 5% more expensive than sprinklers but was selected because:
    • Water storage tanks were smaller – limited space
    • Pipe diameters smaller
    • Single phase power acceptable
    • Owner liked idea of less water being applied
water mist stirling castle 2
Water Mist: Stirling Castle (2)
  • At the time the specification was drawn up, the only European guidance available was EN TS 14972 – 2007 which had been rejected by BSi
  • BS DD 8489 -1 Fixed fire protection systems – Industrial and commercial watermist systems –
Part 1: Code of practice for design and installation had not been published
  • NFPA 750 is not a design guide
  • The tender enquiry document therefore used a performance-based specification which required the bidders to offer a system which would provide an equivalent level of coverage to an Oridinary Hazard I sprinkler system designed to BS EN 12845
  • Both low pressure and high pressure systems were proposed.
  • The client’s final decision was based on a combination of cost and ease of installation and maintenance
water mist stirling castle 3
Water Mist: Stirling Castle (3)
  • Approved (cpvc) plastic pipe was specified both for ease of installation and for its size as the spaces available in the new ceiling construction were severely limited
  • The red plastic pipe is for the smoke aspiration fire detection system
lessons learnt 1
Lessons Learnt (1)
  • It is possible to install a suppression system in even a very old building given proper coordination
  • Preplanning of pipe runs and penetrations is critical
  • Close liaison with the client and architect can pay huge dividends - eg client provision of craftsmen to make penetrations, chase plaster and make good
  • Sprinkler/mist heads can be sited to minimise visual intrusion
lessons learnt 2
Lessons Learnt (2)
  • Even visible heads can be camouflaged – subject to approval
  • Pumps and tanks can be shoehorned into quite small spaces
  • Both consultant, client and contractor must ensure that they all mean the same thing - especially when using jargon
  • Joint commissioning approach involving the fire service/ahj can be very effective in resolving minor issues
  • Coordination by a consultant with the appropriate competencies can be worth considering.
additional benefits
Additional Benefits
  • An active fire suppression system can permit compensatory benefits
  • For example, the introduction of large tapestries
project conclusions
Project Conclusions
  • The project was brought in on budget and within the time scale agreed
  • The fire and rescue service were kept informed and are delighted with the presence of the system
  • The Crown Fire Inspector was also closely involved and has expressed satisfaction
  • The owner was also pleased and is considering further systems.
presentation conclusions
Presentation Conclusions
  • Properly specified, designed and installed water-based automatic fire suppression systems can provide a valuable and powerful weapon in the protection of our built heritage
  • There are now ample examples of successful installations of such systems in the UK and elsewhere – protecting the property – and the occupants
  • They are also ideal to compensate for inadequate means of escape or compartmentation in projects involving adaptive reconstruction – ie conversion of churches, schools or offices to hotels or dwellings.
installation of an automatic fire suppression system in the royal apartments stirling castle32
IFE Scotland


Stirling, 21 February 2012

Installation of an Automatic Fire Suppression System in the Royal Apartments, Stirling Castle

Presented by: Stewart Kidd, MA, MSc, FIFireE, FIFSM, FSA Scotland