Fire Spec Systems offers a specialist contracting service, which is supplying and installing the full range of “active” and “passive” fire-protection solutions available. Besides the normal day-to-day installation of fire systems, Fire Spec Systems specialises in offering a complete package of service to major clients. This includes dedicated teams who service, maintain and repair all systems relating to the scope of work of all electronic systems installed by themselves or others.
Early in 2012, the University of Cape Town (UCT) opened Obz Square – a major mixed-gender residence offering accommodation for up to 990 students. The project includes single en-suite rooms, independent apartments for staff, as well as a mixed-use zone for retail and resident facilities on the ground floor. There are two levels of basement parking for up to 1 000 vehicles.
The seven-storey (above ground) building by Cape Living Developments boasts highly specialised electronic systems that faciltate safe universal access for all residents, as well as building fire safety.
As a high-occupation density building with a sensitive mix of occupants in a busy street, occupant security and building safety is key. Consulting engineers, Solution Station, designed a sophisticated fire and security protection system, with technical advice and input from FIRESPEC, the fire and security systems consultant and contractor, that was ultimately responsible for the installation.
The systems are a good example of integrated security and fire, low-voltage security systems. FIRESPEC’s CEO, Leo Slootmans, explains that besides being able to undertake the installation right through to sign-off, they were also able to become involved at the design stage, which greatly aided the process of integration.
Centralised control room, fire & security
The integrated systems include access control, fire detection, fire suppression, CCTV, PA systems, evacuation systems, integration of air-conditioning, lift signals and also centralised monitoring of these systems.
FIRESPEC was appointed late in 2010 and as one of the final contractors on site, worked to a very tight schedule. They installed not only of the systems mentioned above, but also an overall low-voltage distribution system for various other services of the building. The work was signed off by Cape Town’s fire chief in November 2011.
All security, fire detection and other controls feed through to a centralised control room located in the main lobby near the main turn-styles. CCTV, fire detection as well as evacuation and PA systems are located at all central positions, such as common rooms and walkways. Fire-detection and evac loudspeaker units are visible outside the ceiling board. Special detectors are also located behind the ceiling recesses, in order to provide early warning of smoke should it travel out of sight behind the panels.
Enabling the Disabled
The building planners went to exceptional lengths to make the building both safe and accessible for the disabled. For physically challenged residents, there are special needs rooms with full electronic support. Special panic buttons are installed in the toilets for the disabled. In addition, there are no less than 6 refuge zones where persons with disability may converge for a safe location pending evacuation. Universal access intercom points in the main passageways are ubiquitous.
Cecil Meyer, FIRESPEC’s Senior Project Manager, says this impressive building is just part of an ongoing roll-out of electronic system integration across all buildings within UCT.
“Such expertise is available to all potential clients nationwide. The other very important aspect is system servicing and maintenance. Our advice to clients is to appoint service providers with the right levels of expertise and accreditation, for example, those offered by FIRESPEC,” suggests Meyer.
Tel: 021 685 1111