Between October 2013 and February 2015 the coastal defences at Katwijk were reinforced by constructing a new dyke, embedded in the dunes. At the same time, an underground car park was built between the dyke and the promenade. FireX supplied the fire detection system. This was not based on conventional smoke detectors but on a LIST cable to detect changes in temperature. This solution was selected because in this case smoke would not be a reliable indication of a fire. Reason: the unusual wind and weather conditions by the coast can adversely affect fire detection systems. Between October 2013 and February 2015 the coastal defences by Katwijk were reinforced by constructing a dyke embedded in the dunes. At the same time, an underground car park was built between the dyke and the promenade. FireX supplied the fire detection system. This was not based on conventional smoke detectors but on a LIST cable to detect changes in temperature. This solution was selected because in this case smoke would not be a reliable indication of a fire. Reason: the unusual wind and weather conditions by the coast can adversely affect fire detection systems.
The underground car park in Katwijk has one large level, with space for 663 cars parked across a length of approximately 500 m and a width of 30 m. Geert van Grunsven of FireX was in charge of the project to ensure the fire safety of the new car park. “The unusual aspects of this project were not just the size, but also the location of the car park. It was created under the dunes, and is open on two sides. So close to the sea there is a lot of windblown sand and the wind also carries salt which can easily get into the car park. Under those conditions you have to decide how you can protect the detection system against contamination. That’s because you want to prevent system faults, spurious alarms or other unsafe events.” The Katwijk local authority asked FireX to propose an effective solution, resistant against the wind and weather.
3,800 metres of LIST sensor cable
FireX decided to fit the car park with a LIST (LInear Temperature Sensor) cable. Geert “It was, 3800 metres long, with a diameter of a centimetre and a half, and fixed across the whole ceiling. The LIST cable is very sensitive to temperature changes and detects temperature differences every five metres. If one part of the car park suddenly gets hotter the operator is warned and then calls the fire brigade.” That’s because there is no sprinkler system. Geert “There is a good reason for that. The water in a sprinkler system could easily freeze, given the weather here by the coast. And the materials of a sprinkler system are easily affected by the weather. However, there are fire extinguishers throughout the car park. Heat and smoke are immediately exhausted by a smart extraction system for which FireX provided the controls.
“The underground car park has now been in use for seven years. The LIST cableGeert van Grunsven, FireX project managerX
temperature system works exactly as intended.”
A project from A to Z
FireX was involved by the client, BAM, at an early stage and took on the design, engineering and installation of the temperature detection system. By effectively coordinating the project, FireX completed the works quickly. The whole installation was certified by an independent inspector and since the handover the annual maintenance has also been undertaken by the FireX specialists. The car park has now been operating for seven years and “… during all those years the system has never caused any problems. It all works as it should.”
Innovation is key
The Kustwerk project in Katwijk underlines that designing and installing a detection system is never a routine job. Not in this car park, and not in any other building. Geert “You always have to consider external influences. That could be the weather or structural limitations of the building.” He explains that this means that there is a lot of innovation in the world of fire detection systems. “Fibre optic cable is an innovation which builds on the success of LIST sensor cables. It is a brand new system, again completely unaffected by the weather, and the whole cable acts as a temperature sensor. That means that temperature increases are detected with an even higher resolution that with a LIST cable. Because the fibre optic cable is very thin it is particularly suitable for low ceilings.”
Studying the supplier’s instructions
FireX ensures the fire safety of the car parks of the Jeroen Bosch hospital (’s-Hertogenbosch) and the Kwinkelier shopping centre (Bilthoven) and other structures with fibre optic sensor cables. “Of course, for each project we identify the best solution for the client. They can count on us being fully familiar with the technology and systems. We invest in that, for example by studying the supplier’s instructions in detail, by rigorously determining what to consider during design, engineering and installation. Similarly, we always include a cost-benefit analysis so the client knows that to expect in financial terms, also over a longer period. That’s all to provide high quality systems for car parks and other buildings, to keep people and property safe.”