Project Overview

The Howard Shopping Centre in Welwyn Garden City – named after Sir Ebenezer Howard, founder of the Garden City movement – opened in 1990. Providing 240,000 sq ft of space on two levels, it is home to such high street stores as Marks & Spencer, Monsoon, The Body Shop, WH Smith and Starbucks.

Customer Needs

• Reliable fire alarm and Public Address/Voice Alarm (PAVA) system with sophisticated and up-to-date technology
• Cost effective solution that re-utilised as much of the existing fire alarm cabling network as possible
• Flexible partner to limit disruption Solutions and Benefits The contract was to replace both the existing fire alarm and the Public Address/Voice Alarm (PAVA) system at the Howard Centre.

While assessing the analogue fire alarm, Chubb engineers realised that some of the high beam detectors were not operating to their maximum potential due to sunlight from the windows of the atrium and dirt limiting their capacity. Consequently, installed aspirating smoke detection (ASD) system, was capable of detecting minute smoke particles that are invisible to the human eye. The Chubb Atmosfire consists of a high sensitivity aspirating smoke detection unit that samples air in the environment by drawing it through a network of pipes to monitor for smoke content, thus detecting a potential fire in its earliest stages. Chubb VA/PA systems integrate with a fire detection system to aid controlled evacuation of buildings by means of clearly broadcasted pre-recorded spoken messages. The system automatically broadcasts specific messages to either alert people to danger or action prompt evacuation by issuing instructions to direct them out through the nearest safe exists. The voice alarm system is an ideal system for providing calm, clear instructions to visiting members of the public in an emergency.

Project Summary

Protecting both staff and members of the public from the threat of fire is of paramount importance in a busy shopping centre environment. A fire detection system provides the earliest possible warning of a developing emergency situation, which in turn can facilitate safe and swift evacuation of people from premises. Throughout this project, Chubb was committed to accommodating the needs of the customer and ensured that their exact requirements were met in every respect. Work was carried out over a five-month period, both out of hours and during working hours in non-public areas such as the car park and back-ofhouse, so that the impact on business was kept to a minimum and the safety of shoppers was not compromised.

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