What happens when modern stringent fire safety guidelines are applied to historical building stock? Safety demands and preservation needs placed on building owners meet head on with regulatory requirements and cost a significant obstacle for owners wishing to renovate or upgrade.
Dublin based startup Safecility has been awarded a contract by Limerick City as part of their effort to seek smart solutions for fire safety within historical buildings in the city. Limerick City Council in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland launched a Small Business Innovation Research challenge to find innovative solutions to address fire safety issues in historic buildings.
Currently up to 67% of upper floors of buildings in the historical Georgian quarter in Limerick city are vacant. Limerick city are keen to unlock this potential source of accommodation for residents and at the same time further invigorate the renewed city centre.
However, owners and landlords face significant hurdles in bringing their buildings up to fire safety standards while retaining historical character in order to return stock to the squeezed rental market.
Safecility wirelessly turns a building’s emergency lighting into a connected “thing” making it possible to automate legally required regulatory building fire safety testing. This has multiple benefits for the building owner – the existing fabric of the building is not impacted due to the wireless nature of the devices, while manual in person testing and resulting human error is eliminated.
“Fire safety testing is legally incumbent on commercial and multi-unit building owners. With our sensor we can automate emergency lighting testing and improve compliance to make city buildings safer more affordably,” says Cian O Flaherty, CEO of Safecility, speaking at the kick-off of the project. “But that’s only the beginning. Our goal is to offer a full suite of building compliance services through our simple sensor which can be quickly installed at minimal cost to landlords and owners”.
Safecility, kicked off work with Limerick CC last week (29th January 2019). CEO, Cian O Flaherty adds that the whole Safecility team are “excited to get working on a sensor solution that is both purposeful and discreet. Although it is Irish project, it has global application. This SBIR contract has the potential to address many challenges to take the headache out of fire safety compliance for historical building owners as well as regulators around Europe and the world.”
Notes to the Editor
The SBIR project is divided into two phases, a feasibility study and pilot. This marks the launch of the first phase where Safecility evaluate the ways it can use the internet of things and its smart platform to lower the cost of upgrading usable space in the city centre for residential use.
The Internet of things can be described as the connection of everyday devices to a network to improve and streamline our day-to-day lives. Smart sensors are able to report real-time data from buildings and equipment over new networks provided by LPWAN operators using standards like LoRaWan, Sigfox or NBIoT.
Safecility’s wireless compliance testing and reporting automates fire safety testing in buildings. It eliminates manual inspection and allows buildings to report their own safety status to owners and regulators. This innovation leads to much better compliance with fire safety regulations and safer buildings and safer residents.
SBIR contracts are offered through tender by public bodies and supported by Enterprise Ireland. They enable the public sector to engage with startups to design and deploy technology to solve problems and challenges they face in delivering their services.
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