How Visually Intrusive are Sprinkler Heads?
A successful construction or remodelling project results from the collaboration between architects, designers and developers, where each contributes an individual skill. But, when a beautifully crafted design, well received by a client, attracts the attention of Building Control, what are the options? A number of routes exist to satisfy Building Control Fire Safety Regulations – and this includes bespoke residential sprinkler heads.
Awareness, Availability and Aesthetics
A lack of awareness around availability or negative, incorrect assumptions about the impact on décor and styling, means that some properties are missing out on the significant safety benefits provided by residential fire sprinklers. So, what is the reality of including (now widely available) residential fire sprinkler systems in the designs for new-build properties or retrofitting to an existing building, and how visually obtrusive are they?
The Facts of the Matter
The simple answer, with the addition of one crucial word, is that they’re not. Concealed residential fire sprinkler systems, where the sprinkler heads sit out of sight in the ceiling void, do not disturb the visual impact of the areas they protect, and can in fact contribute to the aesthetic value of properties designed and furnished in a contemporary style.
Equally, thanks to the low-key appearance of thin, flat ceiling plates, which completely conceal the fire sprinkler heads, more traditional spaces suffer no sense of intrusion as the cover plates (which are white as standard) blend easily with their surroundings.
Working with Designers, Developers and Architects
If not included from the outset, concealed residential fire sprinklers can be accommodated once the design process is underway. How they will look can be an issue raised by clients with their designer, architect or developer, but as the photographs in this article clearly show, this need not be a concern.
The Best of Both Worlds
Cleverly conceived sprinkler systems, in the hands of experienced, skilled installers, combine enhanced fire safety with a design that’s unobtrusive and easy on the eye. Fire sprinkler heads, concealed by ceiling plates, can be positioned in line with other ceiling-mounted items familiar to architects and designers, for example, heat recovery system grills, home entertainment speakers, downlights, smoke detectors and air re-circulating units.
Hiding in Plain Sight
When not activated, the fire sprinkler heads reside in ceiling voids and cannot be seen. Water supply pipework is likewise confined to ceiling voids and riser cupboards. As such, both remain concealed but accessible, should the need arise. There are no ugly protrusions from the ceiling and if you didn’t know the area was protected by a fire sprinkler system, you’d never guess!
How They Work
Concealed residential fire sprinkler units work like this:
- every thin, flat ceiling plate is engineered to fall away when the heat from a fire below it reaches a predetermined temperature
- release of the ceiling plate allows the deflector plate of the sprinkler head to drop down from the ceiling void to a point below the level of the (finished) ceiling surface
- the further rise in temperature activates a heat sensor and the sprinkler is triggered to deliver water to tackle the fire
Professional Installation within London or the South East of England
Positioned in line with downlights in much the same way that fire sensors and speaker systems can be incorporated into the reflected ceiling layout, all the rooms photographed for this article benefit from concealed residential fire sprinkler systems installed by The RAD Fire Sprinkler Company. In each example, the fire sprinkler heads are positioned out of sight within the ceiling void and concealed by cover plates.
The RAD Fire Sprinkler Company offers expert advice to architects and developers on the installation of concealed residential fire sprinklers. We work only with experienced designers who bring the skills and expertise necessary to position fire sprinkler heads in line with reflected ceiling layouts, whilst ensuring correct and effective functionality within design limitations.
No Need to Compromise
Designers, architects and developers are committed to meeting their clients’ brief whilst also satisfying building regulations. Fire represents a significant danger, so as every effort is made to safeguard people and property, concealed residential fire sprinklers offer substantial additional protection and regulatory compliance, without the need to compromise on style and aesthetics. What’s not to like?