Once just a 15-storey square building, the HYLO tower is now a 29-storey monolith that proudly joins the ranks of London’s tall towers. Located in central London and conveniently positioned just five minutes’ walk from Old Street tube station and six minutes from Moorgate, it offers 261,000 square feet of prime office space. Construction to extend the original 16 floors by a further 13 started in 2018 and was completed in 2021.
A state-of-the-art building such as HYLO needed the equivalent standard of fire-detection system to protect its occupants and effectively manage any potential fire event, which is why Siemens’ Cerberus PRO range of detection equipment with ASA technology was selected.
Siemens has a network of approved and valued UK partners who are skilled in installing its advanced fire-detection systems. For the HYLO project, partner GBE:Converge – a long-established company that offers expert fire and security services – was selected by construction firm Mace to design, install and commission the tower’s fire-detection system using Siemens’ advanced fire detection products.
GBE Converge was engaged to manage the life-safety system for the commercial areas of the building. Dave Collins, Contracts Manager at GBE:Converge, said: ‘The scope for us was to supply, install and commission the entire Life Safety System, which included a Public Address and Voice Alarm (PAVA) system, an Enhanced Audio system to the reception area, an Emergency Evacuation System and the Fire Detection System. We decided to collaborate with Siemens for Fire Detection and it worked perfectly for this project. The team at Siemens were brilliant, offering support to the design and delivery teams for the duration of the project, particularly from a technical perspective.’
Throughout the original design of the building, GBE:Converge discovered metal mesh ceilings in some areas. The project team was unsure as to whether smoke would penetrate the mesh so had to go back to the plan, get all the details about the ceiling and find a solution. Once researched it was identified that the free area of mesh was sufficient to facilitate air/smoke flow to detector.
The basement and lift shafts proved a challenge for accessibility for installation and future maintenance using point detection, with the team therefore adapting the design to include aspirating smoke detection in these locations.
Importantly, the system was to also incorporate phased evacuation. Necessary for high-rise buildings, evacuation first takes place on the floor where the alarm is triggered and the floor directly above it, a process which is critical to preventing congestion on staircases.
GBE:Converge: ‘Overall, this project presented few challenges for us but where we did encounter issues, we worked with Siemens for product advice and kept the customer briefed on potential solutions and informed of any design changes.’
The design of the fire detection system was the remit for the GBE:Converge design team who liaised closely with Siemens to select the best products for the system. Central to the design was Siemens’ Cerberus PRO control panels and range of C-NET devices which provided an L1 category of detection to meet the British Standard Code of Practice BS5839-1:2017.
GBE:Converge: ‘We chose the Cerberus PRO range of detection equipment due to the versatility, false-alarm immunity, ability to manage complex cause and effect, as well as the aesthetic appearance of all automatic fire detection devices being similar, regardless of their function.’
Installed on-site were 10 Cerberus PRO fire alarm control panels that were networked to each other and with the main fire alarm repeater panel located in HYLO’s management room. The room is occupied by an operator on a 24-hour basis who receives a signal from the main fire control panel when there is an alert on the system. The main fire alarm panel itself is installed in the fire control room and is supported by a firefighter’s indication panel and fire microphone to allow the fire service to broadcast manual instructions when needed.
Also incorporated in the system were Siemens’ smart detectors with ASA technology. These are intelligent, multi-criteria detectors that check for heat and smoke by utilising two optical sensors and two heat sensors. In building locations such as kitchen areas where steam from a kettle or burnt food could provoke a false alarm, an ASA detector will know there is no real fire and disregard the event as a threat.
When a fire-detection system is subject to frequent false alarms, building occupants get complacent, their reaction speed is slower and ‘fire alarm apathy’ occurs which can create potentially life-threatening situations. The GBE:Converge design included Siemens false-alarm-free sounder beacons that perform their own automatic 24-hour self-tests to check the optical and acoustic element of the device. The tests are silent which means office occupants do not know that they are happening and can enjoy a disturbance-free working environment.
A report of the device’s overall performance is transmitted to the main fire control panel so if there is a fault or a change to performance level, the user has the opportunity to scope issue and plan a solution.
Thanks to the intuitive system design and the installation delivered by the GBE:Converge team, together with the Siemens advanced fire detection products, the occupants of HYLO enjoy an interruption-free environment. Their safety is assured on a daily basis by intelligent fire-detection technology that is compliant, connected and integrated with other life safety systems.
Dave Collins concludes: ‘Following the successful installation and commissioning of the system and comprehensive training provided for its users, GBE:Converge have been awarded the ongoing maintenance contract which demonstrates that our collaboration with Siemens resulted in a happy and satisfied customer.’
For further information on Siemens Fire Products: www.siemens.co.uk/cerberus
For further information on Siemens Smart Infrastructure: www.siemens.com/smart-infrastructure