Intelligent fire suppression protects listed barn conversion


Yusuf Muhammad, co-founder and chief design officer at Plumis, explains to PBC Today the benefits of using watermist fire suppression to protect listed buildings

Any homeowner wants to protect their property – but for the renovations at an 18th century Grade II listed building barn, fire protection was key.

Mr and Mrs Kitchener purchased the last remaining barn at Fifield Barn, Oxfordshire, as a passion project, with the aim to convert it into their dream home. However, during planning works, building control experts recommended the installation of a fire suppression system to protect the home and means of escape.Kitchen in converted barn

The couple looked into costs for a traditional sprinkler system but found the quotes to be significantly higher than they were expecting, which meant the renovation project itself was at risk of not being financially viable.

Mr Kitchener said: “We honestly thought after having the quote for the traditional fire sprinkler system, we were either going to have to scale back completely or ditch the project altogether.”

Plumis’ Automist technology

living/dinner room in converted barn However, the Kitcheners had discovered Plumis’ Automist technology at a trade show a few years before buying their dream project and knew there was potential for the system to be a perfect fit for the building.

In fact, the Automist quote was not only a fifth of the cost of traditional systems but approved Automist installer Vapourmist was able to work closely with the couple to work through unexpected delays and changes throughout the project.

Automist has given the Kitcheners a system that ensures the vast space is protected in case of a fire. In total, 15 wall-mounted sprayheads were installed throughout the 5,425 sq ft building, which not only provides protection and peace of mind but also fits perfectly with the aesthetic of the home.

“After the work that has gone into making this project possible, the last thing that neither I or my wife wanted was to have a fire suppression system that would be intrusive and spoil the design of our home, but also would result in costly consequential water damage if activated,” commented Mr Kitchener.arm chair upstairs under woodern beams in converted barn

How does Plumis’ Automist work?

The Automist system works in such a way that once it is activated and the alarm is raised, a pump drives water through the unique sprayhead’s nozzle unit, targeting the fire with a dense fog of water mist. This approach removes heat and displaces oxygen from the fire zone, resulting in fire control, suppression or extinguishment.

In fact, Automist has been shown to operate up to two minutes before a traditional sprinkler for some fires – and with the system using 90% less water than a traditional fire suppression set-up, any water damage following an activation is also significantly reduced.

The system also connects to normal domestic water supply, with no need for a tank or pump room, which saves valuable space, especially in residential properties like Fifield Barn. It runs from a dry pipe system, meaning the pipes are not filled with pressurised water unless the system is activated and means it can be connected on-site quickly and easily, and risk of leaks is reduced.

Wooden front door into converted barnAutomist is already installed in more than 10,000 properties, ranging from individual homes to large social and sheltered housing schemes, and it can be installed or retrofitted with minimal time, effort and expense – something that was important to Mr and Mrs Kitchener throughout their project.

As is typical with many housebuilding projects, there were several unexpected delays and changes that were made throughout the design and construction phases at Fifield Barn. Vapourmist, however, was able to work collaboratively with the homeowners and contractors to visit the site on numerous occasions to ensure that the system would still be fit for purpose.

Once the project was able to go ahead, the Vapourmist team carried out the installation at Fifield Barn over just three days, with minimal disruption and all while other works were being carried out on site.

Mr Kitchener added: “Given the increased capability Automist offers in comparison, we’re really pleased that the fire engineers and building control approved us opting for this alternative. We’ve been really grateful for Vapourmist’s flexibility throughout the two-year project, and we’re really pleased with the final install.”

Now, with their dream home finished, Mr and Mrs Kitchener have peace of mind that their fire suppression and detection system is ready and waiting should it ever be needed.

If you’re interested in knowing more about our award-winning water mist suppression, contact our team to discuss your project.



Yusuf Muhammad

Chief design officer and co-founder


*Please note: This is a commercial profile


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here