New £31m Scottish Borders campus opts for Apollo networked fire system

A new educational centre in the Scottish Borders, which combines further and higher education facilities on a single campus, is being protected using Apollo intelligent fire detection technology. The co-location project is the first of its kind in rural Scotland and offers a unique learning and teaching environment to thousands of students.

The £31.4 million Scottish Borders Campus brings together the Borders College of further education and the internationally renowned Heriot-Watt University at a site in Netherdale, Galashiels. This enables the College and the University to benefit from a range of shared facilities while still retaining their own distinct identities. The co-location includes major refurbishment of existing buildings as well as the construction of additional facilities, such as training areas, a new library and learning resource centre, enhanced IT facilities and student social areas.

The two and a half year development programme required a lot of forward planning and was carried out over a number of phases. SAFE Systems, based in Galashiels, won the contract to supply, install and commission a site-wide networked fire detection system for the main buildings, plus stand-alone systems for remote buildings with specific requirements, like the halls of residence.

“The client specified an open protocol system designed to L1 standards,” says Graeme Millar, Senior Fire Engineer with SAFE Systems. “We had used Apollo intelligent fire detectors two years ago to resolve problems with false alarms at this site for Heriot-Watt University and were happy to recommend Apollo technology again.”

In total, SAFE Systems installed 11 Advanced Electronics control panels and 2,427 Apollo intelligent fire detection devices in a two-phase programme of works.

The networked system is based on Apollo’s XP95 range of fire detectors and covers the main teaching blocks, the new library, the laboratories and the world-famous School of Textiles. It is also equipped with a number of interface units that enable it to interact with other building control systems including gas shutdown, plant shutdown, access control and PA systems.

In addition, there are five stand-alone systems fitted in remote buildings such as the Technology building, High Mill building and the halls of residence, as well as the Netherdale Rooms which house the archives. For this last application, SAFE Systems recommended the use of Apollo Discovery devices. These can be set to different sensitivity settings depending upon the local environment, reducing the likelihood of nuisance alarms while ensuring very accurate detection of fire. As all Apollo intelligent devices use the same open digital protocol, there were no compatibility issues between the main XP95-based system and the Discovery-based system.

Graeme Millar concludes:

“The decision to use Apollo at this site certainly paid off. The open protocol gave us the degree of flexibility we needed to meet multiple requirements across the campus buildings, while the choice of compatible interfaces and ancillary devices helped us to link the new fire detection system to other critical equipment quite easily. In essence, Apollo fire detection technology has enabled us to meet the client’s requirements and complete the project on time.”