Leicester HMO protected by Automist fire suppression

Project Overview:

  • Client: Private property owner
  • Location: Leicester, United Kingdom
  • Property Type: House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
  • Scope: Installation of an Automist system to protect the open-plan ground floor escape route of a refurbished HMO property.

Introduction

In response to safety regulations and the need for improved fire protection measures, a private property owner in Leicester embarked on the refurbishment of their House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) property. As part of this renovation project, the client sought an effective fire suppression system to satisfy building regulations and to safeguard the open-plan ground floor escape route. The solution chosen was the installation of an Automist system, known for its ability to activate up to 13 times faster than a traditional domestic fire sprinkler system.

Challenges:

  • Open-Plan Layout: The property’s open-plan ground floor presented a challenge for traditional fire suppression systems, as it required an adaptable and effective solution that would not disrupt the aesthetics of the space.
  • Compliance: Meeting safety regulations and obtaining necessary approvals for an HMO property demanded strict adherence to fire safety standards.
  • Cost-Effective Solution: The client sought an affordable and reliable fire protection system that wouldn’t inflate the project’s budget.

Solution:

After careful consideration of the unique challenges posed by the property’s layout and the need for compliance, the decision was made to install an Automist system. Automist is a high-pressure water mist system designed to suppress fires by activating early in the event of a fire, suppressing a fire efficiently while minimizing water damage.

Installation Process:

  • Site Assessment: A thorough assessment of the property was conducted to identify the optimal locations for Automist nozzles and water supply connections.
  • System Design: A customized Automist system design was created to ensure coverage of the entire open-plan ground floor, focusing on the escape route.
  • Installation: Fire Mist installed the network of high pressure hoses and cables into the fabric of the building, following the Automist design for optimum placement of Automist wall mounted nozzles.
  • Testing and Certification: Once installed, the Automist system was tested and commissioned. A particularly unique feature of the Automist system is the commissioning process. Unlike any other fire suppression system, the commissioning process of Automist is a simulated activation. This verifies the performance of all Automist nozzles, hoses, communication cables, controller and pump. Once all system functions have been verified, the high pressure hoses are flushed with air to remove the water, reducing the risk of legionella.

Results:

The installation of the Automist system provided the following benefits:

  • Effective Fire Suppression: The Automist system proved highly effective in suppressing fires quickly, reducing the potential for property damage and, more importantly, ensuring the safety of occupants.
  • Minimal Disruption: The system’s discreet design and minimal water usage meant that the open-plan layout of the ground floor was preserved, with no significant alterations required.
  • Regulatory Compliance: The property owner obtained the necessary certifications, demonstrating compliance with fire safety regulations for HMO properties.
  • Cost-Effective: The installation of Automist provided a cost-effective solution compared to other fire suppression systems while delivering reliable protection.

Conclusion:

The installation of the Automist system in this HMO property in Leicester successfully addressed the challenge of protecting the open-plan ground floor escape route and satisfying building regulations. This case study showcases how innovative fire suppression technology can meet the unique needs of residential properties, ensuring both safety and cost-effectiveness. The property owner now has peace of mind knowing that their HMO property is equipped with a reliable fire protection system.

What is a HMO?

A House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property where three or more people who are not from the same family or household live together and share facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens. In Leicester, HMOs are a prevalent form of housing due to the city’s diverse population, comprising students, young professionals, and migrants.

Leicester’s vibrant student community, with its universities attracting students from around the world, fuels the demand for HMOs. These properties offer an affordable living option for students who seek shared accommodation close to campus. Additionally, Leicester’s multicultural environment attracts individuals from various backgrounds, including migrants and young professionals, who find HMOs to be a convenient and cost-effective housing solution.

The city’s housing market reflects this diversity, with HMOs catering to different demographics and cultural groups. From student-centric properties near universities to shared houses in residential neighbourhoods, HMOs provide a range of options to suit varying needs and preferences.

Fire Safety in HMOs.

Fire safety regulations in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) have undergone significant changes in recent years, primarily driven by a growing awareness of the need to enhance safety standards in shared accommodation settings. Some key changes and trends include:

  1. Enhanced Legislation: There has been an increase in legislation and regulations specifically targeting HMOs, aiming to improve fire safety standards. Authorities have imposed stricter requirements on landlords regarding fire detection and prevention measures, escape routes, and overall building safety.
  2. Mandatory Licensing Requirements: Many jurisdictions have introduced mandatory licensing requirements for HMOs, which often include stringent fire safety criteria that landlords must adhere to in order to obtain and maintain their licenses. These requirements typically cover fire risk assessments, installation of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, and ensuring adequate escape routes.
  3. Focus on Fire Risk Assessments: Fire risk assessments have become a central aspect of fire safety management in HMOs. Landlords are required to conduct regular assessments to identify potential fire hazards, evaluate existing safety measures, and implement necessary improvements to mitigate risks.
  4. Installation of Fire Safety Equipment: There is a growing emphasis on the installation of fire safety equipment in HMOs, such as Automist fire suppression, interconnected smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, and fire doors. These measures are crucial for early detection of fires and facilitating safe evacuation procedures.
  5. Training and Awareness: Landlords and tenants alike are increasingly encouraged to undergo fire safety training and education programs to raise awareness about fire prevention strategies, emergency procedures, and the importance of maintaining fire safety equipment in HMOs.
  6. Collaboration with Local Authorities: Local authorities play a proactive role in monitoring and enforcing fire safety standards in HMOs. They may conduct regular inspections, provide guidance to landlords on compliance with regulations, and take enforcement action against non-compliant properties to ensure the safety of residents.

Overall, recent changes in fire safety regulations for HMOs reflect a growing commitment to improving standards and minimizing fire-related risks in shared accommodation settings. By implementing stricter requirements, promoting awareness, and fostering collaboration between landlords, tenants, and regulatory bodies, efforts are being made to create safer living environments for residents of HMOs.

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