Gent receives rave reviews at The Capitol

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One of the UK’s finest art deco buildings recently underwent a complete refurbishment that restored it to its former glory. The Capitol is now one of Aberdeen’s most sought after commercial spaces and life safety products from Gent by Honeywell have been installed to protect its occupants.
When it first opened in 1933 The Capitol was a cinema, before going on to become a theatre, a bar and nightclub. Located at 431 Union Street in Aberdeen, this stunning building was among the first of the British cinemas to be designed in the art deco style. The venue showed its final film in 1995 and in the early 2000s was converted into a nightclub, when the rear section of the building was largely remodelled.
The nightclub closed in 2009 and the building was left derelict for over four years until Knight Property Group and M&G Real Estate initiated a £30m transformation. The Capitol has been restored back to its former glory and now offers 74,231ft² of cutting edge office accommodation over 12 storeys. The spirit of a historic cinema has been kept alive during its transformation though and the grand foyer makes the same immediate impression on visitors that it did when it first opened its doors.
The Capitol is set to become one of Aberdeen’s busiest commercial premises, so to protect those visiting and working in it the highest quality life system was a prerequisite. Galashiels based SPG Fire & Security was invited to tender and, after outlining the benefits of a system comprising innovative technology from Gent, it was awarded the fire detection contract by the building services consulting engineering firm on the project, TÜV SÜD Wallace Whittle.
‘Since forming in 2002, SPG Fire & Security has worked on many prestigious projects across the UK and Ireland,’ states the company’s Business Development Director, Alan Baird. ‘We have also been a Gent approved System Integrator for the last four years and used Gent products extensively in a diverse range of applications. We therefore knew that we would be able to meet all the diverse requirements of The Capitol.’
SPG Fire & Security specified a fire detection system based around two Gent Vigilon six loop control panels that use powerful software to deliver a flexible, easy to use system. To maintain the strong identity of the building, the panel in the reception area was supplied in a stainless steel finish.
Over 850 devices from Gent’s S-Quad and S-Cubed ranges have been installed. Stuart Brown Gent’s Business Manager Scotland, comments, ‘S-Quad was the first intelligent loop powered multifunctional device to include a sensor, sounder, speech and EN54-23 certified visual alarm (VAD), and its extensively patented technology has an unrivalled ability to prevent unwanted alarms. Meanwhile, advanced technology means that S-Cubed is the most efficient loop powered sounder/VAD in the industry, allowing a whole loop of sounder/VADs to operate without the need for additional energy supplies.’
This combination of Gent control panels and devices is particularly suitable due to the complex cause and effect strategy in place, as the building has a phased evacuation requirement. The power and length of loops were also a major factor, as well as ease of programming for the engineers, particularly since the cause and effect requirements of the job changed over the course of the project and became more intricate.
The Equality Act makes it the responsibility of all organisations to ensure that access to buildings and services is available to everyone. Therefore, in addition to the VADs, a Gent Network 8 emergency voice communication system (EVCS) was installed in the disabled refuge areas. The EVCS system is connected directly to the WC assistance alarms and in the event that a cord is pulled, an alert is immediately activated and help will be on its way. The Network 8 system comprises of master handsets located in reception, rear entrance and the management suite, and there are 23 EVCS outstation call panels and 11 disabled WC alarm systems integrated into it.
IT is the backbone of any modern business and in order to offer the earliest possible warning of smoke in the seventh floor data centre, a Honeywell FAAST LT aspirating smoke detection solution was configured. Aspirating smoke detection’s resilience, stability and high degree of sensitivity combine to reduce unwanted alarms and makes the cleaning, replacement of devices easier, while reducing the labour required to carry out these tasks.
Knight Property Group has received plaudits for the way that it has successfully combined the old with the new and maintained the aesthetic integrity of one of Aberdeen’s most iconic buildings. Philip Lumsden, the company’s Head of Construction, concludes, ‘This was a challenging but ultimately rewarding project due to the fact that we have been able to preserve a piece of Scotland’s architectural heritage, while creating a modern and vibrant commercial premises. The protection of people, property and assets was at the forefront of our minds when it came to the building services infrastructure and the use of Gent’s technology, which has been expertly installed, commissioned and maintained by SPG Fire & Security, ensures that we have the best possible life safety system in place.’

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