By Martin Taylor, Managing Director with decorative casings specialist, Encasement.
Residential fire safety, particularly in multi-storey buildings and tower blocks is a key focus for housing associations and local authorities as the retro-fitting of fire sprinkler systems now an essential part of a multi-million pound investment in fire protection upgrades.
With many HAs and LAs making significant contributions to the cost of this package of improvements, questions regarding ‘best value’ and ‘cost effectiveness’ must be considered while ensuring that quality and safety are not compromised.
As sprinkler system pipework needs be surface mounted in flats and communal areas for most retro-fit projects within existing residential blocks, it is important that pipework and sprinkler heads are concealed to provide a more aesthetic finish and avoid tenant complaints, as well as containing the system components and acting as a visible barrier to potential tampering.
The cover up
Versa fire sprinkler boxing is manufactured from preformed 5mm thick, FSC® ‘Chain of Custody’ certified material and are available in a range of sizes to meet specific project requirements and pipework configurations.
An 8mm thick FSC® option is also available in the range along with Versa FR flame retardant sprinkler boxing, which also FSC® certified and manufactured from Euroclass B compliant material, which has Declaration of Performance certificate following its testing to the appropriate harmonised European Standard (hEN) technical specification.
The Encasement fire sprinkler boxing system also includes accessories, such as internal and external corners to help create an integrated finish to the sprinkler installation. Also, as they’re pre-finished with durable white melamine, there’s no painting required on site, which also saves time and cost.
Saving time and cost
From our experience of working with contractors on countless social housing projects where pipework needs to be concealed, Versa can typically be fitted in less than half the time of site made alternatives.
Potentially the most important advantage is that costs can be reduced, not by ‘cutting corners’, but by cutting the time spent during the installation without compromising the quality or integrity of the installation.
The focus is rightfully on improving fire safety in high-rise residential buildings, and Versa can make a contribution to that process in terms of effectiveness, ease of installation and economics by helping conceal sprinkler pipework and ‘covering’ the significant investment in sprinkler systems.