One of the most significant challenges faced at construction sites in the foreshore area of Cape Town is ensuring that the projects are protected from fire hazards and comply with local and international fire regulations, says fire protection equipment supplier DoseTech MD Michael Feldon.
He advances that, over the past few years, the Foreshore area has been a hub for development, with new buildings and major projects transforming the landscape of the city’s waterfront region.
Notably, DoseTech, local supplier of fire protection equipment and foam dosing pump brand FireDos, has been responsible for two significant fire protection projects for landmarks in the Foreshore area; namely the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital and the Cape Town Harbour.
Given the civic functions of these two buildings, robust fire protection is a key point of consideration. “When you are protecting a hospital full of patients and harbours that are stocked with fuel and other highly flammable substances, you need to ensure that you have the best equipment engineered to handle the worst-case scenario,” says Feldon.
Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital
For over three decades, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital has provided healthcare – including several highly specialised medical disciplines – to South African residents from its original premises in the city centre. The hospital is named after Professor Christiaan Barnard, who performed the world’s first heart transplant in Cape Town in 1967.
In late 2016, the hospital relocated to new premises in the Foreshore area, occupying a purpose-built 16-storey building strategically located for access from major freeways. A key aspect of the hospital access is its helideck, enabling the safe helicopter transportation of patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses.
DoseTech was tasked with devising a fire protection system for the new helideck. This presented particularly complicated challenges not only because of the varied fire protection technologies involved, but also because of the required coordination between Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service, DoseTech, and South Africa’s national aviation and hospital authorities.
The new hospital’s comprehensive fire protection design included foam dosing technology, foam concentrate, water cannons, and a combination of deluge and pressure-reducing valves.
Manufactured by water distribution system provider Mueller Water Products, Singer deluge and pressure-reducing valves are able to be electronically controlled from the master control room. In the event of a fire on the helideck, the deluge valves automatically activate three separate foam and water premix water cannons in addition to the foam dosing system.
The new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital premises now have a high quality fire protection system to match its world-class cardiac operations facility.
From 11 operating theatres and two cardiac catheterisation laboratories to 248 hospital beds, the facility is outfitted with industry-leading technology to serve adult, children and newborn heart patients.
The Cape Town Harbour is one of the busiest and most strategically important ports in South Africa owing to its position at the crossroads of industrial and ocean trading routes. In addition to serving tourists arriving in Cape Town on cruise ships, the harbour also plays a vital role in the region’s thriving fishing and oil industries.
Given the equipment and fuel transported in and out of the harbour on a daily basis, a strong fire protection system is essential to ensure safe operations.
DoseTech was asked to address three different fire protection needs, each a complicated challenge relating to the harbour’s petroleum operations. The first was a fuel ship offloading wharf which requires a multifaceted fire protection system. To ensure comprehensive protection, DoseTech supplied equipment installed on the fire water ring main for the general fire protection systems, which include fuel tanker loading bays and 12.7 cm flat hose water supply, for use on portable firefighting equipment.
The harbour’s second and third tasks were to protect a fuel storage facility and a refinery, both of which required a large amount of fire hydrants to provide adequate response in case of an emergency. To protect these key areas, DoseTech installed fire hydrant supplier Jones dome-top J4060 BR and J6200 fire hydrants, complete with 6.3 cm British instantaneous couplers and 10.16- and 12.7-cm pumper connectors.
The system was bolstered by Mueller Water Products OS&Y gate valves, chosen because of their durability and ease of operation. The gate valves are proven to seal shut under high pressure and use a strong interior coating to provide years of reliable service.
By providing tailored, reliable solutions to each of the harbour’s needs, DoseTech’s team met and exceeded the expectations of the Cape Town Harbour project leadership. Each fire protection system combined multiple technologies to ensure an immediate and adequate response to any fire emergency, delivering safety and peace of mind to a facility responsible not only for the handling of volatile materials, but also for the safe arrival of cruise ships carrying many tourists into the harbour.
DoseTech offered valuable expertise at every step of the process, working side-by-side with on-site contractors, conducting valve and hydrant commissioning, and providing staff training for those responsible for overseeing proper operation of the fire protection system.
Protecting important infrastructural elements like the Cape Town Harbour and one of the city’s most modern hospitals required compliance with strict standards from mutual insurance firms FM Global and Underwriters Laboratories.
“It’s not uncommon for engineers to think that fire protection requires American Petroleum Institute certification and connections, but this is not actually the case,” comments Feldon.
To achieve Underwriters Laboratories listing and FM Global approval, Feldon worked closely with process design engineers from both the Cape Town Harbour and the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. Subsequently, DoseTech supplied foam dosing products, as well as proven fire protection solutions on both projects.