As the independent leader in fire protection services, DEM Fire has long-standing expertise across solution design, system installation, asset management and fire compliance. We’re also here 24/7 for premium breakdown and emergency response.
We recently responded to a call-out after security detected an issue with the sprinkler systems at Broadway Shopping Centre. With only hours before the shopping centre was due to open on its busiest trading day, we identified the problem, organised replacement parts and essential equipment, installed new pipe, then tested and ensured the fire prevention systems were operational and safe for Saturday trade.
The job involved a collective effort from several of DEM Fire’s skilled, dedicated and proactive team members.
Located in twin heritage buildings in Sydney’s inner west, Broadway Shopping Centre is one of Australia’s highest footfall shopping centres, with around 125 speciality stores, a 500-seat food court and a major Hoyts cinema complex.
On a Friday evening in May, security noticed a leak from what appeared to be the overhead sprinkler system, and contacted DEM Fire for assistance.
Gary Marshall, DEM Fire General Manager, explains that it was a high pressure job due to both the significant time constraints, and given the shopping centre has complex fire prevention systems in place.
“The concern from Mirvac (owner of Broadway Shopping Centre) was that if we didn’t have the fire systems operational by Saturday morning, they wouldn’t be able to trade. That put a lot of pressure on our guys to find the issue and come up with a solution.”
Gary explains that our technician discerned quite quickly that it would be an involved job.
“Our technician arrived and saw that the problem looked to be in the mains sprinkler pipe. It became apparent quite quickly that it would take time to identify the exact source of the leak, due to the very large and complex layout of the sprinkler systems pipework.
The technician was under the pump from the shopping centre security and management, so he did the right thing and called in for back up. He reached our sprinkler system supervisor who jumped in a car and was on site quite quickly.
The supervisor was able to help identify what the issue was and confirm the best course of action for a swift solution. That involved a call to another of our sprinkler fitters who travelled to our headquarters, picked up the necessary equipment and materials, and headed into Broadway.”
The leak within the Broadway Shopping Centre sprinkler systems occurred in an older section of pipework, as Gary explains:
“The system contained a section of firelight pipe, a light wall thickness pipe that is now not recommended for installation in high pressure systems, but which looked to have been in place for quite a long time.
Shopping centre fire prevention systems are highly complex, with multiple systems in place, including hydrant systems and sprinkler systems. That complexity and the sheer volume of pipework means it can take time to identify the precise cause of the leak.
Once our team found that, they were able to replace the section of pipework. They then put the pressure back into the system, tested it to ensure it was working efficiently, and put all systems back online.”
The crew completed the full job by 3am, with a few hours spare before the shopping centre was due to open.
For Gary, one of the highlights of the Broadway Shopping Centre job was the seamless communication and teamwork.
“Our initial technician realised very quickly this required more than a one-person fix, and after contacting his supervisor, everyone jumped into action. In addition to the three men on site, Brie Giardina, our Service Operations Manager, followed the job closely and liaised constantly between the team and shopping centre management. She also kept me in the loop so we were on top of the project at every stage.”
DEM Fire has full capability in fire prevention for clients including shopping centres, schools and stadiums, thanks both to extensive experience – and a committed team that goes above and beyond to ensure all work is completed to exceptional standards and on time.