Bryland Fire Protection designS 1,000 fire detector system to safeguard 10MW data centre

A global leading data centre company has recently enlisted the support of Bryland Fire Protection Limited to design and install an engineered solution to safeguard their 1,600-rack facility in Slough.

The new 10MW centre which took two years as a phased completion, features three individual fiber cable lead-ins, and will significantly step-up international telecommunications services to carriers connecting China with Europe. Due to the delicate and sensitive equipment being used by the client, careful consideration had to be taken when designing the fire detection and protection system.

Graham Turner, Bryland Fire Protection’s Managing Director explains, ‘As this client specialises in providing telecommunications, protecting ‘uptime’ which is the amount of time servers stay operational, was critical. Water sprinklers may be one of the most economical solutions, but not appropriate for these sensitive data cabinets, and server rooms. We had to design a solution that would not only provide early warnings, sample air purity, and prevent contamination to the data hall air supply, but also consider how we could minimise any post event downtime and damage. Continuity of supply to this client’s customers is both critical and crucial.’

This was a multi-million pound project for award winning Bryland Fire Protection who have a wealth of experience designing fire protections systems for data centres in the UK and Europe. Their clients include other major telecoms companies, but this project was significant due to the quantity of equipment that was used.

Graham Turner continues, ‘This was a major project in many respects. It was the client’s first data centre in Europe, and so a showcase for potential future developments. Our involvement consisted of 34 areas across the two-storey building. To put this into context, our solution included over 1,000 fire detection devices, networking around analogue addressable fire alarm control panels, a Gent WINMAG Graphics System and 34 Kentec Sigma XT+ extinguishant control panels.’

Sapphire Novec 1230 gas suppression product was the obvious choice to protect against higher hazard ‘Class A’ fires to cover the data cabinets, switchgear, and communications equipment. It is a non-toxic, fast acting, clean agent, that is stored as a liquid but discharged as a gas and therefore mitigating the damage that sprinklers or water systems can pose. Over 6,500 kgs of Novec 1230 was used on this project.

Multi Point Aspirating Smoke Detection Systems (MASDS) were installed and integrated throughout the building, to sample air for pollution and prevent contamination to the data hall air supply. In addition, a site-wide Emergency Voice Communication System (EVCS) was designed and installed to safeguard the occupants in the event of an emergency or evacuation.

Turner concludes, ‘This was a great project to work on. It used all of our team’s collective talents, including our designers who engineered the bespoke solution, project managers who oversaw the installation, and our manufacturing partners who include Honeywell, 3M, and Johnson Controls. This is exactly what Bryland Fire stands for; a great team effort with a fantastic result that will protect and safeguard this client’s significant assets.’

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