Project Description

A wireless fire alarm system to enhance safety and replace a Waking Watch across a landmark building in Liverpool
This case study explores a recent project we delivered for FirstPort, at the iconic Unity Building in Liverpool.

A quick overview


Property and building management


Innovative fire detection system to prioritize tenant safety and replace expensive Waking Watch solution at the Unity Building (pictured


A wireless system designed and installed by Gemini AMPM


FirstPort is the UK’s leading residential property service provider, caring for 310,000 homes in England, Wales, and Scotland, across 5,600 developments. With over four decades of experience and 4,000 employees, FirstPort works with developers, investors, freeholders, and over 1,300 Resident Management Companies.

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Gemini AMPM is a leading provider of security and fire safety systems. It specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of innovative fire protection systems, including fire alarms, wireless solutions, extinguishers &  suppression systems – suitable for all commercial and residential properties.

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Hyfire is a leading provider of wireless fire systems. The company is committed to investing in technology and talent to develop leading-edge products that are quick to install, simple to use, and never compromise on safety. They have worked closely with Gemini AMPM on several projects.

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A CLOSER LOOKThe challenge

FirstPort required a significant upgrade to the existing fire system in place at the 26-story Unity Building in Liverpool, one of the tallest residential buildings in the UK. The company was looking for a state-of-the-art system that would provide complete fire protection.

The key reason behind this decision was to guarantee the safety of tenants living within the building, whilst allowing FirstPort to halt the costly Waking Watch solution already in place.

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A CLOSER LOOKThe solution

Following a comprehensive tender process, Gemini AMPM fought off stiff competition to secure a contract to install Hyfire’s innovative wireless system, Taurus. FirstPort’s management team was impressed by the proposal and how quickly and easily the solution could be installed with minimal impact on the fabric of the building.

Taurus is a range of high-performance wireless detection, control, and alarm devices, which is fully certified to EN54 and fully compliant with BS5839 Part 1. The range includes all devices required to build a fully wireless commercial fire system, including optical, multi-criteria, and heat detectors, manual call points, wall sounders, sounder bases, and output/input modules.

Radio translators are installed along a wired loop to the addressable fire panel, from which wireless devices can be used on their own to build fully wireless systems of virtually any size. The platform – which is supported by its own dedicated software – is suitable for both small, medium, or large sites, handling up to 128 devices per wireless translator and 240 per hybrid loop, with 10-year battery life on input and five years on output devices.

Gemini AMPM finalized a design for the wireless system – featuring less than 90% of the cabling of a wired solution – covering all communal areas and each of the 161 residential units.

A CLOSER LOOKThe install

In October 2021, Gemini AMPM’s team of eight engineers was able to install the 1,000+ components in just four weeks. They collaborated closely with the building manager to devise a detailed plan of work to seamlessly access both occupied and empty units, whilst prioritizing efficiency and the safety of tenants. The engineers wore full PPE, including face masks, to provide added peace of mind to tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Taurus installation at Unity was successful from start to finish, with Gemini AMPM finishing ahead of schedule and to budget. The wireless system ensures that the tenants of each tower are now benefiting from comprehensive cutting-edge fire protection. In addition, with FirstPort no longer requiring a Waking Watch solution, the company will make estimated substantial cost savings.

“As with many projects these days, this installation was undertaken with the building largely occupied, which meant that an upgrade or expansion of the existing system was not an option. Hyfire wireless devices lend themselves perfectly to developments of this type as they are simple and quick to install. In fact, they can be pre-programmed offsite, so it only takes a few minutes to fit each one, and there is no need to ‘make good’ as you’d have with traditional wired systems. The biggest challenge was getting access to the apartments, especially as not all units were occupied. Despite this, our team of eight engineers managed to get the job done in just four weeks. Less time on site and limited contact with residents also delivered benefits in terms of social distancing.”

Jamie Dawson, Director

“This is a large and complex building, so we had concerns when it was suggested that a wireless fire alarm system was the best option to be installed. There were a couple of concerns about wireless signals traveling through the thick concrete sections of the building, but these proved completely groundless. The whole system has worked without a hitch from day one.”

Chris Attwater, Regional Manager