Sofitel, London Heathrow Terminal 5

Sofitel London Heathrow is one of the largest conference hotels in the UK. The hotel has been conceived as an oasis of luxury for discerning international business and leisure travellers passing through Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow airport.

Sofitel London Heathrow is one of the largest conference hotels in the UK. The hotel has been conceived as an oasis of luxury for discerning international business and leisure travellers passing through Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow airport.

The Problem

Heathrow’s only luxury hotel comprises three below-ground levels housing car parking and extensive conference facilities, including a lecture theatre with widescreen cinema and 45 meeting rooms. Above the ground floor are six four-storey blocks comprising 605 bedrooms and suites. Among the many unique features of the hotel is a link bridge that enables guests to walk directly from hotel to the airport terminal in under five minutes.

At any one time, the hotel could be host to several thousand guests, with its conference and meeting facilities alone capable of accommodating more than 3,000 delegates at any one time. In addition to residents and non-residents, the hotel employs several hundred staff. A comprehensive automatic fire detection system that would provide reliable and accurate information in the event of an incident was therefore essential to ensure the safety of guests and employees alike.

The Solution

Leader Systems, was appointed to design, supply, install and maintain a comprehensive fire detection system. Leader had no hesitation in specifying Apollo intelligent fire detection technology and Advanced Electronics control equipment to meet the client’s exacting standards.

In addition to the main point fire detection, a fire assessment identified the need for an aspirating system in the two metre void above the lecture theatre, which houses the sound and audio equipment. The lecture theatre’s high ceiling means that maintenance could be an issue, while the five atria presented another challenge as they are wide open spaces. Beam detection, in places on different levels, was specified for these areas.

The layout of the hotel and the variety of activities it contains – such as eating, cooking and sleeping – meant that a range of environmental conditions needed to be taken into account to ensure that nuisance alarm incidents were minimised. The Apollo Discovery range of intelligent fire detectors was chosen to meet these requirements, incorporating 5,500 Discovery devices controlled by a network of 21 Advanced Electronics control panels. 

The Final Verdict

Mike Simmons, Leader Systems Contracts Manager, says: 

“When you are faced with the type of complexity we encountered, being able to use fire detection technology that is proven to be reliable and accurate in the field is very reassuring. The Apollo open digital protocol enabled us to link safety-critical systems together effectively and the Discovery range of intelligent fire detection devices offered the flexibility of programming and product choice necessary to meet all the environmental and operational requirements of this fascinating project.”

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