Fires in data centres can be catastrophic, not only by destroying valuable computer equipment, but also by leading to data loss and business downtime.
Where customers rely on access to cloud-based services, fires can also interrupt the availability of these services, adding further to lost revenues and reputational damage.
Suppressing and containing fires within one small area can help to prevent these large-scale losses, ensuring that less equipment needs to be replaced, and enabling businesses to recover more quickly from an incident.
Base Fire Sprinklers have expertise in designing, installing, and maintaining fire sprinkler systems for data centres, including fully bespoke, made-to-measure sprinkler systems for the most effective coverage.
I would like to compliment the engineers that we have met on site who have completed the servicing and repair works on the systems....I cannot find one area where I would be unhappy with the service we have received.
Jack Newell, Weaver Vale Housing Trust
The Value of UK Data Centres
Data centres play an important role in British business, with more than 500 facilities located across the UK according to Cloudscene. Nearly half of these are in London, with about 50 in Manchester.
The UK data centre market was worth around £11.5 billion in 2024 according to Statista, with a predicted growth rate of over 7% to take it to £15.2 billion by 2028.
But the full contribution of UK data centres to GDP is hard to measure. Cloudscene report that 8% of UK GDP derives from the digital economy - equivalent to about £180 billion per year.
With data centres at the heart of the digital sector, a serious incident at even a small facility can have knock-on effects that echo through the national economy.
What are the Risks?
Data centres contain a large amount of valuable equipment in a small space and keeping that equipment cool is one of the biggest challenges of running a data centre with 24/7 availability.
Overheating equipment and electrical faults can start fires in data centres with no external source of ignition, creating a risk even in server rooms that are not routinely accessed by human personnel.
Components like lithium-ion batteries are increasingly common in data centres, and in accessories such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), which again adds to the risk of fire due to overheating batteries.
In 2023, the Fire Protection Association reported research by the Uptime Institute, which found that 7% of data centre downtime is caused by fire.
Andy Lawrence, executive director of research at Uptime, told the FPA: "Every time we do these surveys, fire doesn't go away."
How to Mitigate Data Centre Fire Risks
Data centre operators can try a number of methods to reduce data centre fire risks, such as keeping the hottest equipment isolated from the rest of the facility; however, it is not possible to completely eliminate the chance of a fire breaking out.
Because of this, it's important to have fire suppression and containment in place. The damage caused by emergency services fighting a data centre fire with large amounts of water can be catastrophic for business recovery.
Fire sprinklers are an effective way to contain the spread of fire, without substantial water damage. Only the sprinkler head in the immediate vicinity of the fire activates, tackling the blaze without damaging electronic equipment in other areas.
Better Design of Data Centre Fire Sprinklers
Base Fire Sprinklers use sophisticated computer-aided design to plan our sprinkler system installations before any work is carried out.
We use Canute FHC to simulate and calculate flow rates, so that we can optimise the water supply pipes and sprinkler head positions for maximum efficiency.
If your facility has any unusually shaped rooms or corridors, such as L-shaped and U-shaped spaces, we can make sure your sprinkler heads offer complete coverage, so that there is no chance of a fire spreading unchallenged.
Don't Be a Statistic.
There's an often-reported statistic from the University of Texas, which found that 43% of businesses never reopen after a data centre fire, and 51% close within two years of the incident.
Base Fire Sprinklers are here to make sure that doesn't happen. Our work meets British Standards BS 9251 and BS EN 12845, Warrington Fire FIRAS accreditation and SafeContractor approval.
Our engineers are always happy to talk about our work and can arrange an on-site visit as soon as possible. For peace of mind and robust protection for your data centre against fire risks, fill in our online contact form or email email@example.com today.