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Fire detection and alarm solution offers big cost savings for hospital development

The fire detection and alarm (FD&A) systems at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham are state-of-the art intelligent networks that pave the way for the next generation of designs, introducing technology that reduces cost by removing the need for duplication of wiring and power supply.


The facility is currently starting its phased opening and will have the largest single-floor critical care unit in the world, with 100 beds. Service personnel will be treated in single rooms or four-bed bays in a 30-bed military section located in the trauma and orthopaedics ward. The ward will have additional features for the use of service personnel only that will cater for their specific requirements within a secure military environment.

The QEH incorporates the Algo-Tec Fire Detection & Alarm System from Protec. A state of the art, sophisticated fire detection system designed to protect the staff, patients, visitors and buildings from fire. By utilising specially designed and patented interface units, its is also able to control the hospital’s smoke-damper systems. This integration of the smoke damper system means that, via the graphics on a pc, operators can see all areas and the dampers can be closed to prevent any smoke and toxic fumes from spreading, enabling any people in other areas to leave safely.

Robert Cash, project manager at Protec Fire Detection project manager said: " As a new build, we have been able to design and install the ideal network systems to make this a future-proof landmark development. Additionally, with the integration of smoke damper control we have probably shaved around £100K from the overall project cost."

The total number of smoke dampers used for the project was 1500 in the Acute wing, with a further 135 in the Mental Health Unit (MHU). The associated Protec smoke damper interfaces allow the control of these devices to utilise the FD&A loop and avoid the need for separate power supplies, distribution boards and additional circuit protection. In all, 237 kilometres of cable were used across the site, connecting over 25 thousand individual components such as manual control points, sounders, bases, panels, interfaces, beacons, etc, all Protec 6000 series equipment.
To control the system, there are 142 Protec Algo-Tec 6400 LCD loop driven panels located at specific nurse base stations throughout both the entire Acute and MHU Buildings. The complete network supports four graphics stations, the main two controlling the complete project with the remaining positions filtered for the MHU Building. There is a further stand alone MHU Building located off site about 6 miles down the road which was completed as part of the overall project.

A voice evacuation public address system has also been linked to the fire detection system to make this a truly integrated network and further improve cost saving efficiency.

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