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Meeting local fire codes

05 February 2016

Using equipment from global fire systems business Advanced, AM Fire & Electronic Services (AMFES), a Nevada, USA based contractor, was able to meet the challenges of installing a code-compliant fire system at the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) in Las Vegas.

The three storey IPEC facility houses a mix of large open spaces, like its 900 square metre ballroom and smaller contained areas for offices and hotel-style bedrooms. Covering 8,600 square metres in total, AMFES was challenged to meet Nevada state fire codes efficiently and cost effectively in the different spaces. These codes require that a notification appliance be present in every room – offices, bedrooms, bathrooms, and even closets – to attain a consistent 80 dBA sound level without relying on wall penetration. AMFES also had to meet the new UL464 requirement for a low frequency 520Hz tone.

As an additional challenge, the building’s unique layout called for a large number of smoke dampers to be installed, each of which requires a separate smoke detector for activation. While a conventional design would have a duct-mounted smoke detector for every damper, the facility’s size would result in a high number of detectors to maintain. The hot, dust-heavy environment of Las Vegas causes a high failure rate, adding to the maintenance burden.

To address these challenges, AMFES turned to its primary fire system product supplier, Advanced.

AMFES installed Advanced photoelectric detectors with Gentex speakers and speaker/ strobes throughout the building, and Advanced duct detectors in rooftop air handlers. Advanced Axis AX fire panels were used to incorporate the detectors into a networked system.

“Several key features made the decision easy,” said AMFES VP of Engineering, Daniel Miller. “The cost-effectiveness of Advanced equipment, the flexibility of the programming to support individual suite detectors, and the strength of the network.”

The combination of Axis AX panel, amplifier, sound file and Gentex speakers produces the 80 dBA required and is NRTL listed to comply with low-frequency mandates. Advanced photoelectric detectors provide full area smoke detection, which allowed AMFES to eliminate all damper duct detectors. Only two rooftop units required duct detectors. The detectors are tested as part of the overall fire alarm system, with no individual 9-volt batteries to test and replace. The network ability of the Advanced equipment allowed AMFES to install a single fire alarm control panel on each floor, reducing cabling, cost and space requirements.

“Having installed and maintained a number of fire alarm systems over the years, it’s quite different to see a networked system completely synchronised – both speakers and strobes – throughout the building,” added Daniel. “It’s certainly impressive to see and hear, even from the outside.”