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We at AEI Cables have sent out a message to the supply chain highlighting the need to use only approved cabling in critical signal and control equipment following the announcement of a revized version of the Code of Practice covering these areas of performance. In an open letter to customers, industry bodies and organizations, we are highlighting how the systems powered by these cables –including smoke and heat extraction systems–are critical in assisting fire services in the case of fire fighting and a safe evacuation. BS8519 Category 3 Control Cable AEI is the only supplier in the UK with independent approval from LPCB for BS8519 Category 3 Control fire performance cables with a fire survival time of up to 120 minutes. We feel strongly about this issue as a matter of safety and compliance. Using inferior types of cable for these applications is dangerous and poses a major risk. Some of these systems will simply not survive in a fire if a sub-standard cable is installed. Category 3 Control fire performance cables reduce harmful smoke, toxic gases and flame spread in the event of a fire. evacuation alarms The application of Category 3 Control fire performance cables also applies to evacuation alarms for the disabled Indeed, these cables also help fire and rescue services fighting a fire and evacuating people. The standard references and clarifies the products and levels of performance that should be used for all parts of the supply chain from specifiers to contractors and installers. The application of Category 3 Control fire performance cables also applies to evacuation alarms for the disabled in care homes, emergency voice communications systems and voice alarm systems in relevant buildings including tall buildings, office spaces, hospitals, care homes, shopping malls and stadia. AEI Cables’ FiretecEnhanced cabling has been approved and certified by LPCB to BS8519 (Annex B), Category 3 Control in addition to Category 2 Control.The BS Code of Practice under BS8519 contains six categories of cables, three for power cables and three for control cables each covering survival times of 30, 60 or 120 minutes. Mineral Insulated Cabling The Firetec Total Fire Solutions range offers Mineral Insulated Cabling (MIC), FiretecEnhanced fire performance cabling, accessories and technical support from the AEI Cables distribution facility at Washington, Tyne and Wear. All AEI Cables’ products are supplied with approvals from independent bodies including BASEC and LPCB. It also holds approvals from organizations including Lloyds, the MoD, Network Rail and LUL and works to international standards around the world.
The Grenfell tragedy has shocked the public and rocked the construction industry. The ongoing inquiry into the 2017 tower block fire has exposed huge flaws in existing practices across architecture, material specification, and building projects. It is also reinforcing the critical importance of fire protection. It took Grenfell, and admittedly the many years that have followed, for the industry to fully reappraise the product selection and testing regimes needed to ensure resident safety in buildings. Now, the tide is really starting to turn. Fire protection training Research we conducted across the UK, Germany, and France, in the aftermath of the disaster, revealed that knowledge levels surrounding fire and fire protection amongst some of our most trained professionals in architecture was very low. Across the three countries, only 3% of architects were able to correctly define the four basic fire protection terms: active fire protection, passive fire protection, fire resistance, and reaction to fire. Of the architects surveyed in the UK, 8% were able to define the four terms, in France, it was only 6%, and in Germany none. Hardly any of the architects interviewed, a mere 2%, said they’d had comprehensive fire protection training, most had some training, and less than one in ten (8%) say they’ve never had fire protection training. Fire-Protected buildings It was clear, post-Grenfell, that things needed to change, ensuring fire awareness is a top priority Our research confirmed that architects and specifiers had limited knowledge of fire protection and a lack of training in the area of designing safe, fire-protected buildings. It was clear, post-Grenfell, that things needed to change, ensuring fire awareness is a top priority, no matter how much time pressure industry professionals are under. And now they have. I believe that when COVID hit in spring 2020, a window of opportunity opened for fire protection awareness. Working together seamlessly Overnight, the majority of us were confined to our homes and adapting to working remotely where possible. For some businesses - such as ours here at Zeroignition - it had very little impact. Zeroignition is a global company and we have always operated remotely, enabling us to hire the best possible experts from around the world all working together seamlessly, remotely, and across 10 time zones. For other businesses, particularly architects, specifiers, and building consultants within the construction industry, this shift, which remains the same almost a year on, provided a very different way of working. A way that has now been proven to really work. Benefits of homeworking Online webinars have covered a variety of different topics including fire safety The benefits of homeworking are plentiful. One of the major benefits is time, a luxury many of us just didn’t have pre-pandemic. Now there’s no commute to work, to meetings, and to events. As exhibitions and conferences could not take place last year, many moved online, giving industry professionals the chance to engage and learn from the comfort of their own home, often at a time to suit their personal schedule. Since the outbreak of the pandemic last March, it has been reported that a whopping 49.2% of the British workforce were intent on investing time to actively further their learning. The NBS, (formerly National Building Specification) says it has seen a dramatic increase in webinar attendance. Eager participants include product manufacturers and also architects and specifiers. Online webinars have covered a variety of different topics including fire safety. Fire protection standards At Zeroignition we know that education is non-negotiable when ensuring buildings are built safely. Government regulations are being tightened to save lives, and as an industry, those of us in the business of design and construction must also continue to challenge ourselves to know more in order to meet incredibly high fire protection standards. Increased knowledge, coupled with a systematic approach - where products are seen together as a system, rather than individual components - would turn our methodology on its head for the better. Traceability is also a key component to add to the mix. One of the biggest failings unveiled by the Grenfell inquiry was the lack of traceability of products used for the building refurbishment. Investing in research and Development The introduction of a new regulator will help to ensure materials used when constructing buildings are safe This just wouldn’t happen in other industries such as aviation, or automotive, where every component of the structure is known and recorded. The introduction of a new regulator will help to ensure materials used when constructing buildings are safe, fit for purpose, and 100% traceable. Companies must be ready to stand up, take responsibility, educate themselves and invest in R&D to enable them to do things properly. The companies we’ve spoken to are willing to be more transparent, and share a product’s journey from testing, through to manufacture, installation, and maintenance, which is so important and really promising to see. Filling knowledge gaps From the very beginning, we’ve been challenging the industry to improve. To learn more. To try harder. To think differently. I can attest from our conversations with manufacturers that safety elements including fire safety have risen to the very top of the agenda. Never before have I seen companies so invested in R&D to enable them to build smarter, better, and safer – and consign appalling events like Grenfell to the history books. The pandemic has given the opportunity to invest time in filling knowledge gaps. So let’s continue to invest time in education and personal development to do better. Because it really matters. Change is imminent and safety is at the forefront.
Businesses operating within the waste industry are susceptible to a wide range of fire risks. Storage of combustible materials, the ongoing use of industrial vehicles and waste’s natural ability to rise in temperature all add to these risks. The sector’s safety has improved over recent years, with the Environment Agency (EA) making Fire Prevention Plans (FPPs) mandatory for every waste and recycling site. However, there’s still a way to go to ensure maximum safety - and insurers have a crucial role to play. James Mountain, Sales and Marketing Director, Fire Shield Systems Ltd, speaks to an anonymous insurance advisor, operating within the waste and recycling and waste to energy sectors, to explore the next steps the waste industry needs to take to create a safer environment for all. effective fire prevention What are the common fire safety issues you see in the waste industry? While the EA has made FPPs mandatory for all sites, these tend to state the need to install ‘a suppression solution’ For waste and recycling and waste to energy sites in particular, we tend to see a general lack of effective fire prevention and suppression systems. While the EA has made FPPs mandatory for all sites, these tend to state the need to install ‘a suppression solution’. It often won’t stipulate any required standards, particular specifications for compliance, and it also doesn’t always consider the conditions in which the system will be used and should operate effectively. The difficulty is decisions are primarily driven by costs. This can lead to sites unknowingly cutting corners by selecting substandard systems that don’t address their individual risks. For example, a business may select a sprinkler system as a cheaper alternative to an automatic suppression system, however, should a fire break out, that system may be designed to protect the warehouse shell, rather than the teams and valuable equipment inside it. fire safety systems How do insurers usually recommend fire safety systems? In many cases, insured systems will arise from a manufacturer’s deal. For example, a forklift may be pre-fitted with a vehicle fire suppression system, which was installed as part of a bulk deal with the manufacturer. However, that template system may not be fit for purpose in every operating environment, such as those which require the vehicle to operate continuously, with little downtime, to fulfil busy work schedules. If a site demonstrates that it has fire protection measures implemented, some insurers will accept the policy, without verifying how effective those measures are in practice. This can lead businesses to trust a system that isn’t the most suitable for their individual risks. Also, insurance underwriting templates will often only stipulate the need for ‘an approved system’, giving little incentive for businesses to go beyond the minimum approval requirements. That’s where insurers can play a crucial part in driving up standards. individual risk assessment What more could be done? Some certification standards can be used to guide insurer decisions and safeguard sites more effectively Although not compulsory, some certification standards can be used to guide insurer decisions and safeguard sites more effectively. Two key examples of these standards being the FM Approval and SPCR (P-Mark). If a system carries the FM approval mark, subject to an individual risk assessment, businesses and insurers can trust its ability to effectively safeguard a site. Whereas the SPCR (P-Mark) standard acts as an industry benchmark for the fire suppression systems for heavy vehicles and machinery. Both of these standards evaluate the effectiveness of a system, applying a range of tests to ensure they are fit for purpose in practice. The onus for driving safety standards forward is with the insurer. It’s about recommending the right systems for the right sites and environments - education is a crucial part of that. Insurers need to confidently carry out checks to ensure measures and systems are robust enough to adequately protect the site. It’s a win-win scenario. factors influencing risk The standards promote greater transparency on the suitability of systems, preventing businesses from unknowingly selecting a substandard solution and delivering confidence in the safety of the site for teams and assets. For insurers, a safer site means decreased fire risk, meaning pay out costs are also likely to decrease. How has the safety of the industry changed over recent years? Typically, waste and recycling and waste to energy have always been ‘rogue’ operating areas, but safety standards have moved on in recent years, and the EA continues to become more stringent in its fire safety guidance. There are a number of different factors influencing risk across the sectors, making addressing the issue all the more urgent. fire suppression systems By adopting safety standards, the insurance industry can move to reduce inadequate fire prevention systems These include Brexit and the resulting implications of the Basel Convention regulations and China’s ban on solid waste imports, both of which are causing new export restrictions to be placed upon areas which were previously highly relied upon for waste disposal. This is causing a number of waste transportation delays and higher storage levels for waste sites, leading sites to operate closer to storage capacity. In turn, this increases dependence on fire prevention and suppression systems to ensure safe sites. unique operating environments What are the next steps throughout 2021 and beyond? The whole insurance market needs to work together. It’s a collective approach. The EA will continue to push for greater mitigation measures on site. However, by adopting effective safety standards, such as FM approval and SPCR (P Mark), the insurance industry can move to reduce the presence of inadequate fire prevention and suppression systems. Fire safety is all about selecting and insuring the right systems. Insurers need to account for the unique operating environments of sites within the waste and recycling and waste to energy sectors - that is the crucial next step.
Choice Fire & Security Solutions is using its combined fire and security expertise in assuming unified responsibility for upgrading, extending and maintaining security and fire alarm systems at the multi-site campus of the Sussex Coast College in Hastings (SCCH). fire alarm systems Maintenance The further education college’s two main buildings, opened in 2010, are the town center located Station Plaza (22,000 sq. meters) and Ore Valley (7,000 sq. meters), which is less than a mile away. In addition to learning spaces and workshops, the sites incorporate social, leisure and catering facilities. The five-floor Station Plaza has a full-height central atrium. The sites’ systems include digital CCTV surveillance, Plan IP-based access control including Assa Abloy’s wireless Aperio locks, Honeywell’s Galaxy-controlled intruder alarms and Gent fire alarms. Countering rise in system downtimes Choice Fire & Security Solutions has restored efficiency to various aspects of the multiple systems at SCCH Prior to Choice’s involvement, a number of suppliers were supporting these legacy systems, which Phil Barnes, Head of Facilities at the Sussex Coast College in Hastings (SCCH), identified as bringing an increasing lack of coordination leading to increased system downtimes and cost inefficiencies in ongoing support. Choice Fire & Security Solutions has restored efficiency to various aspects of the multiple systems at SCCH. This has included eliminating 147 faults within the fire system some caused by the effect of Hastings’ sea air corroding semi-external detector heads. Emizon control technology Additionally, remote systems communications have been unified by Choice using Emizon control technology for remote security and fire alarm monitoring and to allow Choice remote system access to monitor performance, fault-find and carry out reconfigurations without having to visit the sites.
Honeywell, a global provider of fire and life safety, launched the first tools from its new suite of Connected Life Safety Services (CLSS), its first all-in-one cloud platform for fire safety systems. Honeywell’s CLSS suite of tools, built on the Honeywell Forge platform, enable fire technicians to minimize disruption, prove compliance and reduce time needed for design, installation, commissioning, inspection, maintenance and reporting of life safety systems. “Today’s global environment requires the fire and life safety industry to innovate with solutions that enable facility managers and system integrators to monitor their systems and diagnose issues anytime, from anywhere,” said Sameer Agrawal, General Manager, Global Fire Software and Services, Honeywell. Fire safety value chain “Many facilities are working to create healthier environments and even limiting occupant density to comply with social distancing. With CLSS, we help system integrators provide their customers with the highest level of safety and service and work more efficiently by giving them insight into the system problem before they even get to the site.” Especially in today’s environment, organizations across the fire safety value chain face multiple challenges: Achieving more with fewer resources - many facility maintenance teams are working with reduced staff. Managing challenges of limited access to facilities due to shutdowns. Dealing effectively with safety incidents, where risks remain the same at any occupancy level. Life safety systems Honeywell’s CLSS platform addresses these challenges by enabling systems integrators and facilities management firms to access the data within a fire system from anywhere, without necessarily being physically be at the control panel. Firetron, one of the largest individually owned life safety systems company in Texas, is using the Honeywell CLSS platform to support the development of compliance records for its customers. With more than 600,000 devices under our management, CLSS provides us with a scalable tools" “We’re always looking for the most technologically advanced reporting so that we can reduce customer time and effort during audits,” said David Maloy, President, Firetron. “For example, our healthcare facility customers are under increasing pressure to provide accurate compliance records per The Joint Commission reporting requirements. With more than 600,000 devices under our management, CLSS provides us with a scalable tool to meet our customer service aspirations.” Provides invaluable reassurance Honeywell’s CLSS platform is also being employed by EDSB Group of Companies, a UK-based provider of fire, security, electrical, mechanical and building services, in a 50,000-square-meter logistics center for a freight carrier at East Midlands Airport. “CLSS offers a level of connectivity that provides invaluable reassurance that the system has been commissioned effectively and is being maintained safely,” said Jonathan Parker, Managing Director, EDSB Group of Companies. “We can also see how old every detector is and when it needs to be changed based on prevailing regulations. With CLSS, we can tailor settings based on a customer’s requirements and verify weekly testing is carried out according to their specifications while also logging faults and fire activations.” Improves fire system commissioning Through application of digitization principles and Industrial Internet of Things technology, Honeywell’s CLSS tools make it easier to design, install, test and commission fire systems while helping eliminate errors and manual data entry throughout the designing, commissioning and maintenance processes. These tools can also improve the delivery of on-time completions and the handover of a compliant system with the relevant reports, saving channel partners - and end users - time and money. During planned maintenance, CLSS streamlines the verification of compliant fire system testing and automatically generates and archives compliance reports for audit purposes. Whether using the CLSS mobile app or a PC, facility managers can monitor their systems and easily access compliance reporting. Cybersecurity landscape CLSS automatically captures the testing activity thereby removing any doubt on which device was tested This real-time view also enables technicians to troubleshoot a system remotely, allowing them to arrive on site with the right tools to service a system the first time, truly maximizing efficiency and minimizing disruption. This is even more critical given the industry’s talent gap of skilled fire technicians. Using CLSS tools, Honeywell partners can reassure their end users that they are in full alignment with mandated inspection and maintenance requirements. CLSS automatically captures the testing activity thereby removing any doubt on which device was tested, when and by whom. It also automatically generates suggested corrective actions and planned maintenance recommendations based upon local regulations. CLSS is protected with extensive built-in cybersecurity provisions. Honeywell is committed to proactively monitoring the cybersecurity landscape, ensuring data is safely stored and securely accessible to permitted system users. Ongoing digital transformation Delivering full backwards compatibility, CLSS safeguards investment in legacy systems, while preparing Honeywell partners and end users for ongoing digital transformation. Honeywell’s CLSS platform will continue to integrate the latest smart solutions, enabled by cloud connectivity, to ensure buildings and their occupants are as safe as possible. The CLSS tools are accessible via a cellphone app and web browser. The CLSS tools are available in markets globally via several Honeywell Fire brands, including: Gent, NOTIFIER and ESSER. It will be rolled out to additional portfolios over the next year.
A Gent by Honeywell Vigilon fire alarm and detection (FDA) system, incorporating the Response Plus paging system, has been selected to protect the pupils and staff at the renowned secondary school, William Edwards, in Grays, Essex, United Kingdom. The William Edwards School in Grays, which recently marked the 50th anniversary of its opening this year, required a full design, supply, installation and commission of a new Fire and Detection Alarm (FDA) system throughout the premises, as part of an ongoing refurbishment project. The proposed solution had to maintain a flexible design to incorporate any late changes while other building projects were also taking place. Gent fire detection and alarm system The system selected had to be fully flexible to allow us to build in capacity for the school’s growth" PFS Group Ltd. (formerly Premier Fire Systems Limited), part of the Gent 24 network of renowned independent fire specialists has been an Elite Systems Integrator for more than five years and was involved in the project from its initial stages. The highly experienced FDA specialists had to work within a very tight time period and complete the whole installation out of term time. Simon Ford, contracts manager, Premier Fire Systems Limited, says, “The main challenge was to meet the rigid program of requirements and guarantee that the work would be started and completed within the school summer holiday period, to keep any disruption to a minimum. The system we selected had to be fully flexible to allow us to build in capacity for the school’s growth, and the robust technology offered by Gent was the ideal solution.” Gent Vigilon Analogue Addressable FDA system The Gent Vigilon Analogue Addressable FDA system installed at the school incorporated the company’s Vigilon fire alarm panels and Vigilon repeater fire alarm panels, with a total of 281 devices. The system uses Gent’s S-Quad range of detection to ensure the management of the fire alarm system meets the highest technical sensing methods and standards. The Vigilon system was then integrated with Gent’s new wireless Response Plus paging solution. In the event of a fire alarm being triggered, the paging system will allow each school caretaker and fire marshal to receive instant notifications and precise location details on their wrist pagers. This will enable them to instigate the school’s fire safety procedures without delay, speeding up the response time and assisting in the evacuation process. Wireless Response Plus paging system The paging system will also cover a separate house owned by the school on the far edge of the grounds, which is currently being used to offer exchange teachers a place of stay during their time at William Edwards. As the building is remote and regularly unoccupied for lengthy periods throughout the working day, the onsite paging system will overcome these challenges by reporting any fire present within the house, to enable the staff to react accordingly. The school class change and intruder alerts were also added to the system" Simon Ford continues, “The client is very satisfied with the performance of the products installed, particularly with how easily they integrated into the entire school system. The school class change and intruder alerts were also added to the system and it has performed seamlessly since it was installed.” System installation and service The installation has resulted in repeat work for Premier Fire Systems Limited, and recommendations to other academy schools have been achieved for its business. Donald McFarlane, UK & Ireland Business Manager, Gent by Honeywell said, “We’re delighted to hear the very positive feedback from William Edwards School and we’re glad that the performance of our FDA solution meets the high standards of this outstanding institution.”
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