Sofitel London Heathrow

  • Location:London, UK
  • Market:Commercial
  • Products Used:5,500 Discovery devices
  • Panel:21 Advanced Electronics control panels
  • Installer:Leader Systems

Sofitel London Heathrow is one of the largest conference hotels in the UK, owned and operated by Arora International Hotels. The hotel has been conceived as an oasis of luxury for discerning international business and leisure travellers passing through Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow airport.

Heathrow's only luxury hotel comprises three below-ground levels housing car parking and extensive conference facilities, including a lecture theatre with widescreen cinema and 45 meeting rooms. The hotel boasts five atria with various public areas such as a tea salon and a Zen garden; the main reception; and the "Avenue Sofitel", the central boulevard of the hotel where retail outlets can be found.

Above the ground floor are six four-story blocks comprising 605 bedrooms and suites. Among the many unique features of the hotel is a link bridge that enables guests to walk directly from hotel to airport terminal in under five minutes.

At any one time, the hotel could be host to several thousand guests, with its conference and meeting facilities alone capable of accommodating more than 3,000 delegates at any one time. In addition to residents and non-residents, the hotel employs several hundred staff. A comprehensive automatic fire detection system that would provide reliable and accurate information in the event of an incident was therefore essential to ensure the safety of guests and employees alike.

In addition to the main point fire detection, a fire assessment identified the need for an aspirating system in the two metre void above the lecture theatre, which houses the sound and audio equipment. The lecture theatre's high ceiling means that maintenance could be an issue, while the five atria presented another challenge as they are wide open spaces. Beam detection, in places on different levels, was specified for these areas.

Phased evacuation sequences were also closely evaluated at an early stage, in conjunction with local fire officers and the district surveyor. Requirements included stopping the hotel's 20 lifts safely, shutting off escalators, isolating the link bridge to the airport and activating air conditioning, smoke dampers and door closers as appropriate.

The hotel's fire detection system incorporates 5,500 Apollo Discovery devices and is controlled by a network of 21 Advanced Electronics control panels