ARENCON Project Recognized with Engineering Award

SMS Engineering of Winnipeg received an Award of Merit in the Building/Infrastructure category. Fire Protection sub-consultant for the project – ARENCON Inc.

SMS Engineering, the prime consultant of a program to upgrade the fire protection systems of the Sherbrook Exchange in Winnipeg, faced the challenge of integrating new technologies into a historic structure. Their selection for Fire Protection and Code Consultant for the project was ARENCON Inc. As society relies more and more upon telecommunications, the reliability of these systems is critical both for business and for maintaining emergency services like fire, police and ambulance.

The systems installed here is therefore a fully integrated automatic fire incident management system. In order to mitigate this risk, new fire-rated and smoke-sealed compartment walls were installed in the building to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. A smoke control system engineered through smoke migration modelling was installed throughout the facility. To improve the fire response, a pre-action sprinkler system was installed throughout the building. The sprinklers, as well as the smoke control system, were interlocked with a “very early warning” fire detection (VEWFD) system.

This system is controlled automatically and has a self-orienting graphical user interface that, upon detection of a fire, displays the incident information and location on a monitor screen and printed floor plan. The engineers coordinated the automatic fire alarm with the power shutdown documents so that staff are not only able to locate the fire, but also immediately shut down equipment or areas in order to minimize damage. The consultant team led by SMS Engineering coordinated with the MTS Property Services and MTS Network Services staff to evaluate issues as they arose and the work was completed in 16 months within 10% of the budget. Commissioning of systems took place in April 2003.

But the story does not stop there. Early on the morning of March 19, 2004, an electrical fire occurred in a duct heater located in the basement lunchroom. The smoke detection system sensed the smoke, the alarm was rung in to the MTS Command Centre, the smoke evacuation system was started and the fire department was dispatched. When the fire department arrived there was no sign of fire. The smoke control system functioned as designed and exhausted smoke from the lunchroom area. No other portions of the building were impacted by the event and MTS appreciated the fact that the system operated efficiently and as designed.


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