Siemens Recognizes Alabama Engineering Firm for Innovative Approach to Fire/Life Safety Design

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 1:33 pm EDT


"We had to take prescriptive allowances in configuring each fire suppression and alarm system, but in a way that still met all necessary NFPA and IBC codes, satisfied certain European standards, and conformed with the overall design approach agreed upon by the various project stakeholders."

Siemens named Gulf States Engineering, Inc. (GSE) of Mobile, Ala., as the winner of its second annual Engineering Innovation Award for fire and life safety design. GSE used an innovative design approach that incorporated Siemens’ FireFinder XLS fire alarm panel into Airbus America’s final assembly facility at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala.

The Mobile facility is Airbus’ first assembly line in the Western Hemisphere, with the first planes to be produced next year. Once fully ramped up by 2018, the facility is expected to produce as many as 50 A320 family aircraft annually.

Totaling approximately 400,000 ft2, Airbus’ final assembly facility consists of the Final Assembly Line building (FAL), Service Building, and Logistics Center. Such a large area of buildings of varied sizes, uses, and contents created a few challenges in terms of meeting different fire and life safety codes and standards. As the facility fit into multiple categories for application of the International Building Code, the fire/life safety design team chose to implement a combination of strict requirements, with the FireFinder XLS fire alarm panel serving as a network hub.

“Airbus’ final assembly facility had so many segmented areas that had specific needs,” recalls GSE President Tim Morris, PE. “We had to take prescriptive allowances in configuring each fire suppression and alarm system, but in a way that still met all necessary NFPA and IBC codes, satisfied certain European standards, and conformed with the overall design approach agreed upon by the various project stakeholders.”

The FireFinder XLS system provided the necessary network flexibility and advanced system logistic functions to integrate the many fire detection and suppression system components from various manufacturers. The system monitored the air sampling smoke detection and early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinklering used in all three of the Logistics Center’s specialty storage rooms as well as in select areas of the FAL. It also monitored wireless smoke detectors that were temporarily placed inside airplanes as they moved along the assembly line and sprinkler systems placed on each floor of the Service Building and FAL. In addition to monitoring all of these systems, the FireFinder XLS panel notified building occupants and reported back to the Powerhouse facility, which provided utilities to the whole site, with the exception of electrical.  

“Gulf States Engineering maximized the FireFinder XLS system’s capabilities to successfully address all of the final assembly facility’s fire detection / suppression and life safety needs,” acknowledges Brad Haeberle, Vice President at Siemens’ North American-based Building Technologies Division. “Congratulations to Gulf States Engineering for winning this prestigious award!”

Siemens’ annual Engineering Innovation Award recognizes consulting specifying engineering firms that have incorporated Siemens fire and life safety technologies into an innovative design that solved a customer’s difficult challenge or advanced the use of technology in this field. Examples of innovation may range from new applications of existing technology, to cost-effective design solutions, to meeting unique building or construction requirements. The award is part of Siemens’ EngineeringAdvantage program. To learn more about the award, go to

FireFinder and EngineeringAdvantage are trademarks of Siemens and/or its affiliates in some countries.

About Gulf States Engineering (GSE)

Gulf States Engineering (GSE) is a multidiscipline engineering firm with a wide variety of experience in heavy industrial, commercial, and government projects. Founded in 1998 and employee owned, GSE has a staff of more than 60 employees. These include planners, multi-disciplinary engineers structural, civil, mechanical, chemical, electrical, and fire protection), surveyors, and program/construction managers. GSE has a 90% repeat client ratio, and its engineers have professional registrations in 24 states. Headquartered in Mobile, Ala., GSE also has an office in Gulfport, Miss.

About Siemens Building Technologies Division

The Siemens Building Technologies Division (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) is the North American market leader for safe and secure, energy-efficient and environment-friendly buildings and infrastructures. As a technology partner, service provider, system integrator and product vendor, Building Technologies has offerings for fire protection, life safety and security as well as building automation, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), and energy management. To learn more about the Siemens Building Technologies Division, visit

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Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, operating in the fields of industry, energy and healthcare as well as providing infrastructure solutions, primarily for cities and metropolitan areas. For over 165 years, Siemens has stood for technological excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality. The company is one of the world's largest providers of environmental technologies. Around 43 percent of its total revenue stems from green products and solutions. In fiscal 2013, which ended on September 30, 2013, revenue from continuing operations totaled €74.4 billion and income from continuing operations €4.2 billion. At the end of September 2013, Siemens had around 362,000 employees worldwide on the basis of continuing operations. Further information is available on the Internet at: