Tower blocks fire alarm systems raised to top category protection with AICO
Watford Community Housing has completed the installation of Grade D, LD1 fire detection systems in two 16 storey tower blocks using Aico Multi-Sensor Fire Alarms and accessories, wirelessly interconnected with Aico’s award winning RadioLINK+ RF technology.
Abbey View and Munden View tower blocks on the Meriden Estate, which recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, are iconic Watford landmarks. They are part of Watford Community Housing’s property portfolio of over 5,000 homes located across South-West Hertfordshire.
Domestic Fire Alarm installation is guided BS 5839-6:2013 which clearly identifies both Grades of alarm system to use and Categories of protection. Grade D is the most common and requires one or more interlinked mains powered alarms, each with an integral stand-by supply. LD3 and LD2 are the most common categories, but Watford Community Housing has chosen the highest category, LD1, for the two tower blocks. David Wright, Surveying Manager at Watford Community Housing explains: “Our tenants’ safety and wellbeing is our highest priority. With this in mind, and due to the known risks around high-rise buildings, we decided that full detection would be appropriate.”
The decision to install alarms to the highest category possible was made some time ago, as part of an organisational review of housing stock. The housing association has been using Aico alarms for many years: “We believe the products deliver the best in safety for our tenants,” comments David. “We are also aware of what is required from a maintenance point of view, helping us to minimise the time we spend in the properties.”
This was one of the considerations for Watford Community Housing when specifying alarm types, which led them to Aico’s Multi-Sensor Fire Alarm. “We identified these alarms as a way in which we could protect and future-proof our properties” states David. “The wireless capabilities and the possibility of being able to potentially test properties without having to gain entry was a real selling point. Data extraction was also a real plus for us in making this decision. We were also looking to address the issue of false alarms and we believe that the dual aspect of this product will help to reduce nuisance alarms.”
Aico’s Multi-Sensor Fire Alarm uses two sensor types, optical and heat, to constantly monitor smoke and heat levels which are processed through intelligent detection software to provide the best response to all fire types, as well as reducing potential false alarms; the latter is enhanced through a dust compensation feature.
The Multi-Sensor comes with two types of data extraction technology. The award winning AudioLINK enables real time data to be extracted from each alarm directly to a smartphone or tablet via a free App to create an Alarm Status Report. RadioLINK+ can extract total system data from a property, for a valuable record of the alarm system in each and every property managed, which is useful for both asset management and maintenance purposes. As an added bonus RadioLINK+ data extraction doesn’t even require access to the property, thus avoiding disturbing tenants.
Three to four Multi-Sensors have been installed per flat (depending on the number of bedrooms), plus an Ei164e Heat Alarm in the kitchen and a wall mounted Ei450 Alarm Control Switch. The Switch allows residents not only to test all alarms on the system, but also silence them and locate the trigger alarm from a safe, accessible location.
The devices within each flat are interconnected wirelessly using Aico RadioLINK+ RF technology which helped meet tenants’ concerns. “When we consulted tenants,” states David, “one of their main concerns was that they didn’t want masses of surface-mounted trunking over the ceiling. RadioLINK allows for minimal trunking use, which meets our residents’ wishes and also helps to reduce labour costs.”
A further Aico product – the Ei414 Fire/CO Alarm Interface – has been installed to provide a dedicated connection between the Aico Part 6 Fire Alarms in each property and the Part 1 system in the communal hallway. Also benefitting from RadioLINK+ wireless interconnection technology, the Ei414 did not require any apertures to be made for wiring which was vital as Watford Community Housing had recently carried out compartmentation within the fabric of the buildings. A highly flexible device, the Ei414 will also enable the Part 6 Fire Alarm systems to be readily interconnected to sprinkler systems which Watford Community Housing is considering for a later date.
Aico has provided considerable support on this project, as David comments. “Aico are great! It’s been said that the RSMs [Regional Specification Managers] don’t sell Aico products which is true, they’re there as consultants on the products. Chloe’s [Chloe Vickery, RSM] help has been invaluable in this project”.
Aico, an Ei company, is the market leader in residential fire and CO protection in the UK. All alarms are designed and built in Ireland specifically to meet the UK standards and regulations. For more information please go to www.aico.co.uk or contact Aico on 01691 664100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.