Deep in the Heart of Texas

May 6, 2004
Fire Protection For Texas’ Largest Hotel Complex Comes Together
The mark of a good life-safety system is whether the building services staff – the ones who understand it best – is confident the system is doing the most that can be done to protect building occupants. The Adam’s MarkHotel staff in Dallas feels very comfortable with the operation of its system.The system, supplied by the Fire Safety division of Siemens Building Technologies Inc. (, based in Florham Park, NJ, is extremely user-friendly. It reports locations and conditions accurately, alerting security and maintenance staff to where they need to go and how they need to respond, and is monitored by the security department 24/7 to ensure the fastest response time.

In any emergency, the alarm and the accurate location come through immediately for the protection of guests and staff. That’s the bottom line for a life-safety system.

The Adam’s MarkHotel includes three guest towers offering all the amenities of a luxury hotel. The south tower is 29 stories, the center tower is 38 stories, and the north tower is 32 stories of occupiable space. In addition, the complex includes four stories underground, plus a three-story building across the street.One of the hotel’s major drawing points is its 230,000 square feet of meeting, banquet, and exhibit space; and eight levels of parking. Of the five Adam’s Mark ballrooms, the Lone Star, at 41,000 square feet, is the largest in Texas.Planning for Life-safety To create the hotel, two office towers had been completely gutted. As the complex was being developed, certificates of occupancy (COs) were obtained piecemeal.

The fire protection systems had to be ready before a CO could be granted. “Everybody in the Dallas office, from Manager Scott McCauley on down, came out to support completion of the job,” says Allen Garcia, technical representative, Siemens’ Dallas Branch Office.The entire complex was sprinklered, and, except for the south tower, provided with new life-safety arrangements. The south tower, which was already sprinklered, was incorporated as an operating hotel. Here, guestrooms were provided with local, stand-alone smoke detectors, while all common areas were retrofitted with addressable systems and devices.

Safety System DetailsThe new life-safety system is a peer-to-peer network composed of 26 MXL transponder panels as nodes to the main fire control panel, controlled by a networked computer, which serves as the global command center in the fire control room. All information is reported here, and the 24-hour security force can control enable/disable points, select speaker zones, and page to each individual floor in each tower. Approximately 7,600 total devices are supported by the 26 nodes, including initiating points, speaker circuits, strobe circuits, and related devices.

There are also special monitoring devices for kitchen hoods, and TRIs for shutting down air-handling units and activating elevator recall on trip. Detectors are provided for hotel offices on many floors, general administration, the two floors of kitchens and food preparation areas, catering, and even the guest and two-story serv-ice skybridges. Every guestroom has one or more individual smoke detectors, as well as notification devices and speakers.

Each of the 1,200 north and center tower guestrooms is supervised, although the actual first alarms are local. Hotel common areas are provided with supervised detection.

The central panel in the fire control room also supports selective paging for tornado warnings or any other type of emergency situation. Additionally, the system can be used for system-wide paging throughout the three towers of the hotel and the conference center.

Randy Linberg is the director of building services for the Adam’s MarkHotel in Dallas.

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