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[endif]Liverpool-based Newry Construction was so impressed with a demonstration by Ramtech Electronics of its market-leading WES+ wireless emergency system that it specified it on all its developments.
“Safety on site is the utmost priority for us and because of that we wanted to use the leading fire alarm system in the market,” said Tom Cavender, Quantity Surveyor at Newry Construction. “We had a very informative demonstration of the system from Ramtech Electronics and as a result our health and safety team specified WES+ because they could see it was fully compliant with EN 54 and offered us a number of usability benefits.”
Prior to investing in WES+, Newry Construction had used a manual alarm however, as the company grew and its developments become larger and more complex, the health and safety team began to look for ways of making their fire evacuation procedure more robust.
“It is well documented that during an emergency people often respond in unpredictable ways and it was because of that we took the decision to automate our fire escape plan,” added Tom. “We use a hybrid off-site building system, which means that work progresses rapidly and we therefore realised that a wireless system would be better than a wired version as it made repositioning the call points much quicker and easier.”
Newry Construction uses a steel frame and timber infill panel system for its developments which, because of the speed of build, require regular repositioning of the call points. “Repositioning a wired fire alarm system would have taken far too long and required specialist trades,” added Tom. “Once we understood the benefits of a wireless system and the ability to reposition call points in seconds, it was an obvious decision to choose WES+.”
The WES+ wireless signal passes through all commonly found materials used on site, including concrete and steel, ensuring that all units are triggered simultaneously when just one of the call points is activated. This ensures that all personnel hear the alarm and evacuate the site to safety.
Newry Construction has now installed WES+ on all its developments including a five-storey, 399 student bed accommodation unit, a 116 bed, four storey residential apartment building and a nine-story 156 private residential project.
Tom Cavender added: “Whilst using a manual system may have been acceptable in the past, when we were working on smaller projects, the fact that we now build larger, multi-storey developments meant that we needed a system that could cope with the increased size and complexity. Our concern on larger developments was that not everyone on site may hear a manual alarm. Plus, this risk is exacerbated on multi-storey developments where escape routes are limited.”
The WES+ system comprises fire alarm call points that are installed on the three developments in accordance with the project’s Fire Plan. These call points are designed so that the system is interlinked, meaning all floors receive the same audible and visual alert signal even if the fire is contained to just one of them. The WES+ system creates a completely secure mesh network, and alarms can be manually triggered by any personnel on site from any call point.
Newry Construction has also incorporated WES+ heat and smoke detectors into the system, providing its developments with automatic cover 24/7. This ensures that the site and adjacent buildings are protected even when personnel are not present.
Tom said: “Following extensive evaluations we concluded that the WES+ system is the best available. Ramtech Electronics was able to provide us with full documentation from an independent test house that confirmed each and every unit in the system was tested to EN 54.”
Version 9 of Fire Prevention on Construction Sites; The Joint Code of Practice on the Protection from Fire of Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation (JCOP) contains the advice: “Components of automatic fire detection and alarm systems should be marked as complying with EN 54 (paragraph 13.8)”.
To ensure your site has the best possible protection from fire, whilst fully complying EN 54, call the WES+ helpline on: 00 44 (0) 115 822 3424, or visit: www.wesfire.co.uk