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Fire Protection & Prevention Safety & Security

Marconi House, London


London’s new Marconi House apartments and an adjacent hotel development, are using advanced SHEVTEC® smoke and heat exhaust ventilation systems from SE Controls to provide smoke free escape routes for residents and staff in the event of a fire.

Located on The Strand, the Marconi Wing apartment building has a long and varied history, originally housing the Gaiety Theatre’s restaurant before being redeveloped as the headquarters of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company and being chosen the location for the BBC’s first landmark radio broadcast in 1922.

The latest phase in its evolution, which has been designed by Foster & Partners includes the construction of an exclusive development of 86 apartments behind the original stone facade that still bears the Marconi name. Alongside this, the five star hotel development provides 157 bedrooms, which is served by a separate and completely independent SHEVTEC smoke ventilation system.

As each building has different layouts and specifications, SE Controls worked closely with Lloret Fire and Security on the hotel development and Nomico on the apartments to create separate smoke ventilation solutions dedicated to the apartment building and hotel while integrating fully with their fire alarm systems.

SE Controls was responsible for the supply, fitting and commissioning of the North and South stair smoke shaft control systems, involving the installation of SHEVTEC automatically opening smoke shaft door actuators on each of the apartment block’s eight levels, primarily to provide pressure relief to the stair core pressurisation systems and passive smoke extraction to the communal lobbies when activated by the fire alarm.

The actuators are controlled by OS2 control panels, which are located on each floor together with tamper proof manual control points (MCP) for use by fire service personnel. Two repeater panels are also installed in the concierge area and the fire control room to provide a constant display of status and activation in the event of a fire.

Within the hotel, smoke ventilation is handled by two smoke shafts with one located in the North stairs and the other dedicated to the ten floor bedroom corridors, which also provides natural ventilation to the building in normal operation.

The extensive SE Controls’ solution incorporates SHEVTEC automatic multi-blade dampers on each floor, including basement levels, together with 28 OS2 Type 21 controllers, 31 fire service tamper proof MCPs and reset points two repeater panels to provide full status monitoring. All systems used within the SE Controls system are CE marked and conform to the latest legislation requirements for performance, fire safety and operation including the EN12101 and BS9999 standards.

In normal operation, all dampers are open to provide natural ventilation, but automatically close when activated by a signal from the fire alarm system except for the damper located on the floor where the fire has started. This provides pressure relief to the staircase system and enables smoke to be vented from the fire floor, while stopping any cross contamination onto other floors and allowing smoke free escape to be possible on all floors.

Fire service manual control points are located next to each damper to enable control of the vent by fire officers. If a fire should occur on any non-bedroom floors, the system is configured so that all dampers will close to allow evacuation, while still allowing Manual Control Point override.

SE Controls’ Managing Director, Will Perkins, commented: “The developers have not only focused on the quality of the facilities, services, construction and finish within Marconi House, but also on the fire safety strategy and its vital role in ensuring the safety of residents, staff and hotel guests. Smoke ventilation is a vital element in this process and I’m delighted that we were able to put our extensive experience in residential smoke ventilation systems to use on this prestigious development.”