Tower Bridge

There are few monuments in the world as iconic as Tower Bridge.  Famed as both a tourist attraction as well as an important and busy crossing of the Thames, Tower Bridge was officially opened in 1894 and is crossed by over 40,000 pedestrians and motorists every day.

The Problem

The City of London Corporation put the supply and installation of its fire detection and alarm system out to tender in 2013.  At the time of its replacement, the old fire alarm system was in very poor condition with both panels and devices discontinued. 

The Solution

The finished design by Firetecnics comprised of an Apollo Fire Detectors fire detection and alarm system, incorporating five Kentec open protocol panels, two graphics panels and three voice racks.  The Apollo field detection equipment used encompassed 100 Manual Call Points, 350 Discovery units, 50 XPander units and 12 Beam Detectors. These detectors were supported by 120 visual indicators, 50 interfaces and 200 DNH speakers.

The Installation

The fitting of the new fire alarm and detection system began in June 2013 and started with the installation of the wired fire alarms in the Bridge’s north and south abutments and towers, closely followed by the museum.  After these systems were commissioned, the installation and commission moved onto the wireless systems used in the Bridgemaster’s and residents’ areas. Next, the networks were installed followed, finally, by the installation and commission of the voice alarms in both towers and the museum.

Planned future works at Tower Bridge led to flexibility being key to the success of the system’s installation, as Bill Jordan, Quality Manager at Firetecnics, explains: “One major issue involved the planned relocation of the central security area, which we learned is to be moved temporarily for a refurbishment, and then possibly relocated following further planning.

“We replaced approximately 50 wired devices with Apollo XPander wireless units, which can be simply taken down for the period where a room or suite is being decorated and refurbished, and then re-installed and commissioned when replaced. This minimises downtime but still allows project completion with a view to future works too.” 

The Final Verdict

Giving his seal of approval to the completed installation, Bob Course, Electrical Engineer at the City of London Corporation concludes:

The new system is operating well - the two touch screen graphics interface allow the user and the brigade to see more easily where a fire activation has occurred. 

This can also be used for isolations and makes it very clear to see where these have been made as well as generally monitoring the day-to-day status of the system. The voice alarm in the public areas is a great improvement and allows the safe management and phased evacuation of people in the event of activation.

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