Notifier provides a first class degree of fire safety as Northumbria University expands.

19th October 2009

Northumbria University, situated in the heart of the City of Newcastle and home to over 35,000 students, has seen huge change in recent years, as part of a £136 million expansion and redevelopment programme.

The established City Campus West continues to undergo significant refurbishment and will soon house a brand new Sports Facility, which is due to open in summer 2010. The newer City Campus East, which opened in 2007, houses the schools of Law, Design and the Newcastle Business School and has won a number of awards for its eco-friendly design.

Such fundamental and continuing change puts huge pressure on the campus' fire safety system to maintain a high level of protection. In addressing this, Notifier by Honeywell's partner, LTL Systems, has designed a Notifier-based solution as part of a comprehensive rolling programme of systems replacement as well as new installations.

The result is that Northumbria's students, staff and visitors alike are benefitting from full state-of-the-art fire protection across the whole university site.

Northumbria University

A history of success

The programme of installing Notifier equipment at Northumbria University began seven years ago when the decision was taken to replace the existing fire safety solution in the University's 11-storey student accommodation block, Claude Gibb Hall - including 240 bedrooms, kitchen and dining areas, with a modern networked ID2000 L1 solution.

"We had previous experience of working with LTL," confirms senior project co-ordinator, Walter Maynard, "and the Notifier system offered the combination of robustness and flexibility we needed as we embarked on a major development programme."

Maynard was impressed with the reliability and ease of installation of the new system. He says: "Commissioning was quick, easy and problem-free and as a result, the system was fully operational straightaway."

Based on this success, LTL has rolled out Notifier systems across the estate, replacing existing hard-wired systems. In each case, the existing cabling has been retained, with the Notifier ID series fire panels and devices installed rapidly and effectively, with full safety maintained throughout the switchover period.

From listed buildings to new builds

As part of the City Campus West development programme, the Sutherland Building is currently undergoing renovation and will be used to house the University's administration departments. "As a Grade II listed building, this has presented a number of challenges in installing a new fire safety system with an addressable solution, for example in making sure that all the relevant cabling is hidden within the existing fabric of the building," confirms LTL director, Lee Reed.

"However, in bringing together LTL's extensive experience of working with listed buildings and the inherent flexibility of the Notifier system, we have overcome all the problems this has presented within the broader renovation timetable."

At the same time, the development programme has incorporated several new build projects, and the University will benefit from a new £30m Sports Facility, the largest facility of its type in the North East. In each case a Notifier-based fire safety system has been developed to provide full fire protection.

Integrated system

In total, the new site will be protected by a fully-integrated network of ten Notifier ID3000 fire panels via Notifier's ID2net intelligent digital delivery network plus eight ID2000s and two ID50s also monitored by the ONYXWorks graphics system.

By including the graphics system, Northumbria University is able to monitor and control the complete system across all sites from its security control centre. "ONYXWorks provides a comprehensive view of all connected fire alarm systems in a simple and intuitive, easy-to-read graphical manner," says Hugh McQuaid, Sales Team Leader, Notifier.

"This gives security staff a clear view of the overall site and individual floor plans, together with the precise location of every device. As a result, in the event of an alarm, the precise location of the source of alarm can be determined immediately."

Like other University sites, Northumbria requires complex cause and effect programming and here Notifier's highly flexible software is able to meet the requirements of each individual user.

Continuing programme

Today, the campus looks very different from just five years ago and the programme of expansion and development looks set to continue as the University rolls out its Master Plan designed to provide the best possible education for its growing student body.

"With the expertise and maintenance support of LTL combined with the Notifier's flexible solutions approach, we have a system which is capable of meeting the University's ever-changing and expanding needs," Maynard believes.