The largest wireless installation of its kind protects high-rise accommodation of Solihull Community Housing from the dangers of fire
Kentec Electronics, a leading manufacturer of life-critical control systems, has announced the largest wireless installation to date across 37 high-rise towers owned and operated by Solihull Community Housing, providing residents with reliable, early warning fire detection and alarms.
Since the incident in Grenfell Towers, the local authority in Solihull has made fire prevention and safety a priority to better protect its residents in similar accommodation blocks.
Working closely with the West Midlands Fire Service, the installer, Early Birds Fire Protection, specified Kentec’s K-Mesh system both for its reliability and practicality. Some 2,000 apartments needed protecting across a five-mile radius. As a wireless system, it was quick and easy to install, with minimum disruption to local residents and cost to the housing association.
The system comprises some 4,000 sensors linked to a combination of Kentec’s award winning Taktis panels and Syncro AS analogue control panels, which are in turn linked to an alarm monitoring station. Such is the sophistication of the technology, that in the event of an alarm being raised, fire services and incident commanders are given an immediate view of exactly where smoke has been detected, and/or how far a fire may have progressed.
Given that each of the tower blocks has a single stairwell and point of exit, early warning of a fire is essential to ensure the safe evacuation of residents and help the emergency services to get to any incident faster.
Specifying a new fire safety solution was made more challenging by the mix of residents in particular buildings. Seven of the towers are designed specifically to accommodate residents aged 50 and above. An extensive consultation involving residents, staff, contractors and the local authority was undertaken to listen to their needs, and especially to understand the importance of early warning for residents living with a disability or dementia.
Derrick Hall, Director of Sales at Kentec Electronics, says the wireless capabilities of K-Mesh, and the interconnected system that it hosts, offer a number of advantages: “The advanced nature of K-Mesh means that the system is fully expandable, and futureproof, able to protect residents in large residential blocks now, and in the future,” he explains.
“Nothing on this size and scale has ever been installed before and its open protocol and ability to integrate with a full range of technologies – including the sprinkler systems – takes the concept of fire detection and safety to another level.”
Craig Puddefoot, Managing Director of Kentec’s installation partner Early Birds Fire Protection, says the project is on budget and due to be completed in good time: “A large project is going to plan with great success and minimal disruption to residents and staff. The wireless nature of the system makes it very easy to install, without the hassle of running live cables, reducing cost and adding complexity in the same process; all without damaging the fabric of the buildings.”
Steve Murray, Senior Project Manager for Solihull Community Housing, says the project has helped the team understand the trends and lifestyles of residents better, and the importance of early warning alarms within emergencies: “The insight gained by consulting with both residents and staff has been truly invaluable, with a tailored safety solution being the end result,” he explains.
“We are now able to provide opportunities to spot emergencies sooner, provide life-saving information to fire and emergency staff and keep our community safe.”
For more information visit Kentec Electronics