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Hochiki Europe Safeguards Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle


As part of a £22 million restoration of Lincoln Castle, Hochiki has been drafted in by Reflex Systems to provide the fire safety system that will guard the castle and its precious consignment – one of only four surviving, original 1215 Magna Carta.

The Lincolnshire County Council site – which includes the 947 year old castle, perimeter wall and Victorian prison, as well as the new David P J Ross Magna Carta Vault – is the only location worldwide where the Magna Carta and its sister document, the Charter of the Forest (1217), can be viewed together. Four years of painstaking restoration has now been completed, ahead of Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary in June 2015.

To ensure the best possible protection for Lincoln Castle, the Council called upon security and fire systems specialist, Reflex Systems, to design commission and supply a new, integrated fire safety system. Given a challenging brief – to provide high level fire security in an architecturally sensitive environment – John Pye, MD at Reflex Systems, turned to leading fire safety solutions provider, Hochiki Europe.

“Due to the complex nature of the buildings, there were a number of restrictions and requirements set out by English Heritage. We selected Hochiki Europe for its innovative, open Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP) that would allow Lincoln Castle to be future-proofed,” explained John. “The versatility of the ESP system meant we could mix and match Hochiki Europe products with components from other suppliers – ultimately this flexibility will help the Council reduce ongoing maintenance costs.”

Jayne Griffiths, regional sales manager, at Hochiki Europe continued: “Historical buildings, such as Lincoln Castle, often come with the challenge of balancing the need for top of the range fire safety solutions with preserving the aesthetics of the building, so that the guest experience is conserved. Choosing products that have minimal wiring requirements is one way to address the approach, and the use of our FIREbeam system in the sites’ larger spaces has helped to achieve this.”

FIREbeam is a highly specialised, reflective beam smoke detector which is able to detect smoke scattered over wide areas thanks to the use of infra-red light beams; measuring their obscuration by smoke particles to identify any fire before it can spread. This system not only reduces the amount of cabling required but, thanks to its advanced motorised technology, means that should any building movement occur, the detectors will automatically realign ensuring the system is always providing optimal detection.

To further reduce the amount of cabling required onsite, and minimise the disruption to the fabric of the historical buildings, hybrid wireless fire detection products were installed. Combining a wired translator unit with battery operated detectors, the hybrid system helped to overcome some of the architectural challenges of the buildings as the individual components did not need to be wired together.

In addition, it was vital that the products installed blended with the background. “As well as hiding wiring and our equipment during the installation, we also had to make sure the rest of the system was sensitive to the environment,” added John. “In this case, that included spray painting the heat and smoke detectors in the Magna Carta Vault and prison so that they would disappear against the walls.”

Mary Powell, programme manager at Lincoln Castle Revealed, concluded: “The restoration marks a huge investment for Lincoln Castle, and ensuring that we had the very best in fire protection was a key consideration to securing its future. We’re confident that the Hochiki Europe solution specified by Reflex Systems will do just that; safeguarding our site for individuals and families to enjoy for years to come.”

For more information about the solutions specified for the project, please visit the Hochiki Europe website: www.hochikieurope.com.

For more information about Reflex Systems, please visit: www.reflexsystems.co.uk.

About Charlie Kortens

Charlie Kortens

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