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Building Products January 2018

FIRE PROTECTION AND SECURITY Wireless fire alarm systems were recently specified on construction of the new American Embassy (above left) and refurbishment works at Great Scotland Yard (above right) JANUARY 2018 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 61 Declaration of Performance certificate. If the certificate simply relates to an individual component within a larger unit, it does not follow that the whole unit meets EN54 requirements. To comply with EN54, the complete unit – and every unit in the system including the base station, fire point or smoke and heat detection unit – should all have been tested to the relevant part of EN54. 3. Technology is more predictable in a crisis Relying on human response in the event of a fire has its limitations; people often don’t react well in stressful situations, such as an emergency evacuation. There is also the added concern of what would happen if a fire started while no one was present on-site, such as overnight, weekends or national holidays. The real concern on larger construction sites is that manual fire alarms, such as a fire bell or horn, may not be heard by everyone, or could be misconstrued as a sound from some other external source. Investing in a technology based fire alarm system removes these variables, sending an audible alarm to all areas of the site. Upgrading from a manual fire alarm to a system based approach sends a clear message to your workforce, clients and investors that you place the safety of personnel, visitors and people in nearby buildings above all else. 4. Wireless fire alarms are easier to use The very nature of construction sites means they’re constantly changing as the build or demolition schedule progresses. This creates an added challenge because of the constant need to reposition the fire alarm call points. However, this can be done in minutes with a wireless fire alarm system, because it eliminates the need for rerouting trailing wires, which also requires the input of specialist trades such as electricians. A developer on a recent project that we supplied had this to say: “The fact that the system is wireless avoided us having to drill holes in the existing plaster walls. When we explained this to the client and pointed out that a wired alarm system would have required multiple holes and frequent repositioning, it made a wireless system even more appealing.” The wireless frequency on an EN54 compliant fire alarm systems is capable of passing through all solid materials typically found on a building site. Wireless systems are available with a threeyear battery life. 5. 24/7 coverage Incorporating automatic heat/smoke detectors into your wireless fire alarm system provides 24/7 fire alarm coverage. This means that even when workers are not present, nominated personnel still receive notification from the base station, via SMS, that the alarm has been activated. This allows them to alert fire and rescue services at the earliest opportunity, helping prevent the fire spreading to other parts of the building. Summary Fire costs lives and results in extensive damage to assets and nearby buildings. Wireless fire alarm systems offer greater flexibility, ensure emergency services are alerted at the earliest opportunity and are therefore an effective method of ensuring safety on-site. Wireless fire alarm systems have been specified on a number of high-profile projects recently, including refurbishment of Great Scotland Yard and construction of the new American Embassy in London. www.wesfire.co.uk It is still common for hand bells or horns to be used to sound the alarm


Building Products January 2018
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