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Auckland Art Gallery 

Auckland Art Gallery - fire protection case study

Auckland Art Gallery has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand, holding more than 14,000 works dating back as far as the 12th century. Housed in one of the city's oldest civic buildings, it welcomes thousands of visitors every year to view the permanent and touring exhibitions.

In 2008, the Art Gallery embarked on a $113 million development plan including earthquake-proofing and heritage restoration of the main buildings combined with the construction of contemporary additions to interconnect the two heritage buildings.

In June 2008 Argus was selected from a highly competitive group to design, supply and install a comprehensive fire protection solution for the Auckland Art Gallery during the construction phase and across the refurbishment of the existing galleries.

Argus demonstrated a strong track record of working on heritage sites (Auckland War Memorial Museum) and proven attention to detail in the design and installation of fire protection solutions that incorporate the most advanced technology and systems.

Argus has faced and overcome significant challenges and constraints in the design and installation of fire protection systems within the Auckland Art Gallery. Working closely with Hawkins Construction, building engineers and other service providers, Argus has developed innovative and creative solutions to meet the challenges of vaulted ceilings, limited ceiling to floor cavity space, heritage specifications and the knowledge that the contents of the building will be irreplaceable.

The protection of irreplaceable works of art requires an advanced and intelligent fire protection system that will reduce the risk of damage associated with fire and mitigate the risk of damage associated with false alarm and discharge of sprinklers.

Argus has installed a highly reliable pre-activation system. This system operates on a dual pipe system, providing an additional safety and risk minimisation feature. The main pipe feeding each of the integrated heat and fire detectors/sprinkler heads contain compressed air. A pressure valve at the intersection of the primary and secondary pipes holds the water in the second pipe. If fire or heat is detected by an individual detector, this will raise an alarm at the control centre and subsequently trigger the discharge of the compressed air. This in turn releases the pressure activated valve and allows the pipe feeding the sprinkler to prime with water. If the fire or heat signal continues to be activated, the continuous communication interface between the sensor and the control panel is able to determine the presence of fire and discharge the sprinkler.

To complement and support the pre-activation fire protection system, Argus installed manual call points, Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus (VESDA), gas flood systems and the associated infrastructure such as fire extinguishers, hose reels and hydrants.

The entire fire protection system is controlled by an intelligent analogue addressable system and Pertronic F120A control panel. Master control panels and brigade mimic panels are installed at key locations across the Auckland Art Gallery, facilitating immediate alarm and evacuation response and fire service access.

The Auckland Art Gallery restoration and extension project was completed in September 2011.



Project Vitals

Location: Auckland

Date: June 2008-September 2011
Systems: Fire Alarm Systems, Fire Sprinkler Systems, Special Risks, Fire Hydrant & Charged Riser, Evacuation Systems

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