Protec defends QEH

The construction of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, one of the UK’s new super hospitals, is the largest project of its kind in the country outside of the Olympics development. The fire detection and alarm (FD&A) systems 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 steel and glass towers of this new hospital now dominate the city’s skyline. The facility is just commencing 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 fourbed 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.

But what is special at the QEH is the Protec Algo-Tec Fire Detection & Alarm System. It remains a state of the art, sophisticated fire detection system protecting the staff, patients, visitors and buildings from fire. But by utilising specially designed and patented interface units, its design also controls the hospital’s smoke-damper systems, which 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, thereby enabling any people in other areas to leave safely.

Robert Cash, Protec Fire Detection plc 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 six 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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