The UL-approved Cerberus PRO fire system from Siemens is providing protection for the largest retail complex in Saudi Arabia’s capital city.
Riyadh Park is a 132,000m2 complex owned by Hamat Property Services and located in the heart of the city, offering a unique shopping and entertainment experience. In terms of retail, the site hosts many of the world’s most famous brands, alongside its 70 restaurants and cafés, Saudi Arabia’s first cinema with an iMAX screen, attractions for children at Magic Planet and its visual, sensory and educational experience in the Museum of Illusions.
Protecting such a prestigious site from the threat of fire is obviously a vital consideration and ETECHS CO, a Solution Partner of Siemens, was appointed to undertake the project for the fire alarm and suppression at Riyadh Park. Talal Al Ohali is the CEO of ETECHS and has worked for the 500-employee business since 2008. Commenting on the relationship with Siemens, which has been in place for some 13 years, he said: ‘We chose Siemens because everybody wants to partner with the best and, to put it in a nutshell, Siemens has a comprehensive, reliable range of products and a strong presence and activity in Saudi.’
He recognizes the importance of the whole package in establishing and maintaining a successful partnership: ‘The technology and the products themselves are obviously crucial but it is also about other factors such as after-sales service, spare parts, availability and responsiveness. It’s the whole experience that matters in meeting the expectations of consultants and end users.’
Avoiding disruption to business continuity
Two of the main issues in fire safety, particularly in public spaces such as shopping complexes, are false alarms and maintenance. Both are inherently disruptive given the number of people attending such sites, highlighted by the 50,000 to 70,000 visitors to Riyadh Park on a typical day and the site’s parking which can accommodate 2,000 cars.
Ghazi H Alruways works for Hamat and is the Facility Manager responsible for the safety and security maintenance at Riyadh Park. A fire system installed at another retail complex operated by Hamat was causing problems. He comments: ‘We had a big issue controlling the sounders, with it taking too long to silence them and requiring a complete reset of the system to do so. We also had issues with false alarms as the detectors were too sensitive.’
This led to Hamat looking at alternatives and working closely with ETECHS, Siemens, the main contractor and the consultant to develop a value engineered solution for Riyadh Park. A key factor in the choice of the Cerberus Pro system was the patented ASA (Advanced Signal Analysis) technology in the detectors through which Siemens offers a no-false-alarm guarantee. The system at Riyadh Park features some 3,000 detectors (including 973 ASA technology detectors), 100 call points and 500 interface modules (a total of 4,000 points across the whole system). The focus for the ASA detectors is the site’s parking areas and the rooms that house the Sinorix suppression system, which is the extinguishant released in the event of a fire. The ASA detectors are adaptable to specific environmental conditions, deceptive phenomena (such as vehicle exhaust fumes in the car parks) and fire risks. Since the installation, there have been no incidences of false alarms.
Intuitive and intelligent control panels
Another factor in the decision-making process was the ease of programming of the intelligent networked Cerberus PRO control panel, as well as its ease of use. Hamat elected to specify the North America-based UL standard, with the control panel offering, for example ‘… a simple LCD indicator which allows a safety supervisor to easily check the status of the devices.’ It also overcame the problem of short circuits which Hamat had experienced previously. The Cerberus PRO detectors are installed on a C-NET circuit, which ensures that should a wire be broken, the system is designed so that alarm signals are simply redirected the other way to the control panel, with the capability (called ISO technology) built in as standard, for the location of the short circuit to also be identified on the panel.
Scalable to meet changing needs
The Riyadh site currently features 16 control panels, but the capacity to easily expand the system to accommodate changing requirements as the complex develops was an important consideration. Cerberus PRO has been designed specifically as a scalable, flexible solution and the system is anticipated to increase to 20 control panels by the end of 2022. For Mr Alruways, the support available from Siemens helps significantly in this process: ‘The technical support we have directly here in Saudi Arabia is excellent, whether it is software or just an issue that can be easily resolved with a phone call.’
Protection now and into the future
Riyadh Park continues to evolve and develop, with new brands taking up retail outlets on the site and new attractions being introduced. The flexibility of the Cerberus PRO system will ensure continued protection of Riyadh Park’s employees, visitors and assets, providing business continuity for what is an iconic feature in Saudi Arabia’s retail and entertainment industry.
For more information: www.siemens.com