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Building Products October 2017

NEW-BUILD AND SOCIAL HOUSING OCTOBER 2017 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 21 RAISING THE ALARM There was a time when a Smoke Alarm was a relatively simple thing in terms of features; usually it was restricted to ‘Test’ and ‘Hush’ buttons or the option of a re-chargeable back-up power supply. As a result, deciding which alarms to use was an equally simple decision. However, this has now changed, and Martyn Walley looks at the key features that social housing providers should look out for in Smoke Alarms. Recent years have seen an avalanche of Smoke Alarm features and functions. Keeping up to date and sifting between the genuinely useful features and those that lean more towards a gimmick, is tricky and time consuming. It can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff! Although introduced to domestic Smoke Alarms well over ten years ago, wireless alarm interconnection remains one of the most valued Smoke Alarm features in the social housing sector. It enables alarms and system accessories to be interconnected using Radio Frequency (RF) signals rather than hard wiring. Hard wired interconnection is time consuming, disruptive and costly in existing properties, whereas wireless interconnection is quick, easy and requires no redecorating. Steve Batty, Electrical Team Manager at Sheffield City Council, installs alarms with RF technology into many properties “to mitigate disturbance for residents wherever possible”. Cartrefi Conwy Property Services Manager, Wayne Bannister, agrees with this sentiment: “We use RadioLINK RF technology extensively and find it to be a huge cost benefit to us with reducing wiring costs. The tenants have less or no decoration and the installation process is far less intrusive.” The RF technology has traditionally been housed in the alarm bases, but the latest alarms in the market have moved this to the alarm itself as a plug in module. The importance of alarm interconnection is recognised under Building Regulations and BS 5839-6:2013 (the British Standard for domestic Smoke Alarm installation). When one alarm goes off, all the other alarms on the system activate. It provides an earlier warning for residents and the Continued on page 22 >>>


Building Products October 2017
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