Northern Ireland commemorated the centenary year of the Titanic tragedy in momentous style by creating one of the world’s largest visitor attractions. The £77m landmark building, Titanic Belfast, opened its doors on March 31 this year and is expecting more than 400,000 visitors annually.
The 14,000sqm venue accommodates nine galleries of interactive exhibition space, including a dark ride, underwater exploration theatre, recreations of the ship’s decks and cabins and a luxurious conference and banqueting suite with capacity for up to 1,000 people.
Exactly 100 years after the infamous ship left the shores of Belfast, the Titanic Signature Building, now known as Titanic Belfast, launched with a series of spectacular events to mark the opening. Visitors to the exhibition venue were guaranteed an unbelievable and unique experience, and thanks to the main security provider G4S Fire Security, a highly safe and secure environment.
The unique architectural design of the building was influenced by several maritime themes, including ice crystals, ships’ hulls and the insignia of the White Star Line. Its stand-out exterior façade, which replicates four 90 feet high hulls, is clad in 3,000 individual anodized aluminium shards.
Crawford Boyce, Director of G4S Fire Security, explains: “The interior is just as unique as the striking exterior, so when it came to the fire detection and alarm equipment we had to adopt some innovative installation techniques. The majority of the gallery spaces are fitted with sound absorbing non rigid foam sheets attached to the underside of the ceiling, making the surface installation of cabling and equipment below both difficult and time consuming.”
The limited timescale on the project added to the challenge: Installation commenced in August 2011 and the building had to be completed by March 2012 in time for the Titanic centenary festival. The initial brief from the client was to provide a fire detection and voice evacuation system to the main building to BS5839 part 1: 2002 category L2.
Before opening its doors to the public, Northern Ireland’s newest landmark, located in the heart of Belfast on the slipways where RMS Titanic was built, was fitted with a specially designed fire and security solution. Visitors have been given the ultimate protection through the solution, which provides a state of the art fire detection system, PA/VA, CCTV, disabled refuge and WC alarms, aspirating detectors, as well as intruder and access control & induction loop systems.
G4S Fire Security was awarded the contract to be the main security provider to Titanic Belfast as a result of its strong working relationship with the building’s main electrical contractor, Harvey Group Plc. The fire detection and alarm system selected for this impressive structure was provided by fire industry experts, Gent by Honeywell.
Crawford Boyce, Director of G4S Fire Security, said: “Our work on the project commenced in April 2011 and we were delighted to be involved in this historical structure. It was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of our fire and security projects and we selected the Gent equipment as we needed a highly reliable solution that would provide cover for such a unique building design.”
G4S Fire Security, which has a long standing partnership with Gent, specialises in all aspects of fire and security systems from design through to supply, installation and maintenance. The company is a market leader in providing fire and security solutions, protecting everything from small offices and schools, to large multi-national organisations and high security Government facilities.
Boyce, Director of G4S Fire Security, added: “We have worked with Gent’s equipment for many years so we were extremely confident that every element of the fire solution we selected would meet the building’s unique specifications. The company’s high quality, reliable products were ideal for Titanic Belfast’s distinctive design and internal layout.”
G4S Fire Security designed a solution with Gent that incorporated several of the company’s innovative systems from the Gent Vigilon Control Panels that are integrated to S-Quad sensors, MCPs and interfaces. These were fitted alongside an aspirating smoke detection and a central voice evacuation rack combined with a remote microphone and paging microphones. Compared with alarm evacuation systems, voice evacuation is more effective as a research shows that just 13% of people react to bells, whereas 70% react to voice message.
This high quality fire and security solution delivered business critical benefits, including:
• Detect smoke and heat sources whilst minimising unwanted alarms,
• Provide the critical time needed to investigate an alarm and initiate an appropriate response, and
• Ensure a quicker and safer evacuation for all occupants.
Crawford Boyce, Director of G4S Fire Security, explained: “Gent is the UK’s most innovative solution providers for the detection and signalling of fires with its unique S-Quad range. Each of the S-Quad devices has up to four different functions in one product – sensors, sounder, strobe and speech – meaning less cabling is required. That was essential with a project of this scale, it speeded up the installation process and provided the ultimate fire detection solution.”
G4S Fire Security is one of only eight Gent Technology Centres within the Gent 24 network, a range of companies that have been selected because of their ability to demonstrate considerable growth and successful market development in working with Gent.
Mark Ayton, Managing Director at Gent by Honeywell, said: “We are very proud of our partnership with all of our Gent Technology Centres, particularly our relationship with G4S Fire Security which spans nearly three decades. The company is one of our original systems integrators and has supplied Gent equipment since the 1980s, carrying out design, installation, commissioning and maintenance operations to the highest standard of workmanship.”
“G4S Fire Security has considerable experience in the fire industry and it is a fitting tribute that the company was selected as the main security provider for one of Northern Ireland’s biggest tourism projects. Titanic Belfast has already proven to be an extremely popular tourist attraction, we wish it every success in the future and are honoured to have played a part in protecting it many visitors.”