Belton House is a Grade 1 listed country house in Belton near Grantham in Lincolnshire. The mansion is surrounded by formal gardens within a larger wooded park. Belton has been described as the finest example of Carolean architecture that England had produced since the Tudor period.
For three hundred years, Belton House was the seat of the Brownlow and Cust family, who had first acquired land in the area in the late 16th century. Between 1685 and 1688 Sir John Brownlow and his wife had the present mansion built. Despite great wealth they chose to build a modest country house rather than a grand contemporary Baroque palace.
In 1984 the house with most of its contents was gifted to the National Trust and is open to the public and visited by many thousands of tourists each year. In early 2013 David Young of David J Young Ltd was asked to look at the existing fire protection installation as the system was obsolete, did not meet current standards and needed to be updated.
David has worked with the National Trust on many projects and understands the complexities of working in environments which present many challenges such as working around irreplaceable artefacts in very sensitive and historical properties as well as extremely demanding timeframes.
As an initial stage of the upgrade it was decided to use existing cables, with additional phases to follow to bring the property up to L1/P1 standard. David turned to Pointerfire in Birmingham to assist with the installation and to EMS to provide the system components. The approach was to have a site-wide integrated system and the hybrid solution provided by EMS with FireCell Fusion was an ideal fit.
Because of the nature of the property and public access, as well as commercial considerations, time was limited and a programme of works had to be delivered in the very limited and agreed timeframe. The project was managed By Steve Parsons of Pointerfire who was familiar with the issues and sensitivities around National Trust properties.
The first phase was completed on time and handed over to the Trust in March 2013, a testament to the detailed planning and dedication of the entire team. The system comprises of seven EMS FireCell panels located in both the house itself as well as buildings that make up the estate including the Stable Restaurant.
Steve Parsons of Pointerfire commented “Due to the importance of the property and its contents, the success of the project undoubtedly relied on gaining the confidence of the Trust that a sympathetic and reliable solution could be delivered within the required timeframe. The experienced and conscientious approach of our engineering team coupled with the flexibility of the EMS Firecell range of equipment provided the ideal solution for their needs”.
All previous obsolete equipment was removed and replaced with EMS detection, call points and sounders as appropriate, to existing locations. All panels were then wirelessly networked. A wireless network was selected as existing cable runs throughout Belton House and the surrounding buildings could not be verified and civil works would be out of the question as these would be protracted and prohibitively expensive. The use of wireless ensured that the network would be up and running to meet the specified programme dates.
An additional benefit of the wireless network is that management staff resident on site, in a remote property adjacent to the gatehouse, would be immediately made aware of any activity on the system across the entire estate and therefore act appropriately’
With an integrated system from EMS staff familiarity with operation and day to day activity is easily achieved, as all seven control panels are identical. The future planned expansion of the system, with wireless devices, can also now be planned to fit in with the National Trust’s programme as well as Belton House activities.
The importance of maintaining visitor access as well as continuity of service across the retail and restaurant facilities is imperative. The moving of artifacts and instigating protective measures for floor coverings and curtains is also minimised as the installation of future wireless devices will be much less intrusive.
The National Trust has a considerable responsibility in protecting historical properties, and their contents, but this has to be tempered with the invasive works which need to be done to install necessary upgrades. The decision to use EMS wireless enabled this fire protection to be installed to meet these criteria.
David Young, Director of Consort Securities Limited “Throughout our long standing role as Independent Security Consultants working within the Heritage environment, we fully appreciate the absolute need to work with manufacturers, distributors and installation companies who can deliver in terms of demanding time scales and high risk environments. We are confident that Phase One has provided a platform for the more complex further development where the EMS Fire Cell product will support additional protection”
For more information on wireless fire protection contact Ray Puttock:
t: 01227 369570