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Gent Makes its Rugby League Debut with Salford Reds Stadium
When Salford Reds made their debut in their newly opened rugby league Stadium last December, it was the beginning of a new era for the club and its fans. Behind the scenes, numerous contractors and officials had been planning and building towards the premier game in the brand new £16m City of Salford Stadium.
The opening fixture marked the start of fire industry experts, Gent by Honeywell’s first commercial UK site to be installed with the company’s recently launched D1 rack based voice alarm and Public Address (PA) system. This was fitted alongside a Vigilon fire alarm solution in order to protect the Stadium, staff and fans.

Wigan based safety and security specialists Tate Security Technology Limited, one of Gent 24’s of Approved Systems Integrators, managed the installation, from the initial design stages right through to commissioning and completion. Tate worked in conjunction with Gent, selecting the company’s latest innovative D1 voice alarm/PA system as the most suitable solution for the Stadium.

Steve Hutchinson, sales and development director, Tate Security Technology, explains: “Discussions about this project began almost two years ago and we have worked closely with the major key partners and the main contractors, supply team on the project since then. We were brought in during the early planning stages to do the full detailed designs based on the Stadium’s construction drawings.”

Tate Security Technology Ltd has more than 30 years’ experience working in the UK stadia market. The company has worked closely in the early years of Stadia Safety with the government and the Football League Association and has pioneered new methods of crowd control, Turnstile entry counting systems and including exit gate release, which now forms part and parcel of every major Stadium in the country.

Steve Hutchinson continues: “We chose the Gent system purely because of the quality of D1 voice alarm/PA and the fire alarm product. Gent has an extensive range of fully compliant equipment available to be installed in the market place and what better way to do that than within a brand new Stadium facility.”

The main part of the project started at the end of August 2011 and was completed earlier this year following a series of successful ramp events, including the Salford Reds opening rugby league game in December.

The Gent solution selected for the project was a fire alarm and D1 PA/voice alarm system that is fully compliant with the relevant standards for sports stadiums, and meets all of the requirements of EN54 parts 16 and 24. Gent’s Vigilon voice alarm systems were among the first to be certified with BRE, in line with the newly harmonised part 16 of EN54.

The system in place at the City of Salford Stadium comprises four Vigilon networked addressable control panels, with nine detection loops in total. The D1 voice alarm/PA system, designed specifically for the venue, is a large rack based system comprising three 42u racks and a 19 zone voice alarm/PA system, providing a total power output of 13,000 watts to the loudspeakers throughout the Stadium.

Steve Hutchinson explains how the system works: “The cause and effect strategy of the D1 voice alarm/PA system for the whole Stadium changes according to whether there is a match taking place. The system was programmed to meet both building control and the fire strategy to enable two different modes.

“One operates during the games to protect the Stadium and its supporters, providing a high quality communications system and the other can be used on a day to day basis, when there is only the club staff occupying the ground.”

The Gent system has been programmed to enable both non-event mode, used on non-match days, and full event match day mode to provide individual zoned areas with phased announcements and evacuation procedures. There are three microphones in total: A fireman’s microphone in the control room; a 19 zone paging microphone in the match day control room; and a 19 zone paging microphone in the DJ room.

The Stadium public announcement system is both flexible and controllable used solely for providing audible messaging to any one of the Stadium’s individual zones. On non-match days the multi zone desk microphone station in the Stadium’s reception area is used to page the ground and office staff. On match days, the D1 voice alarm/PA system gives input into the Stadium’s DJ for background music, scores and general crowd announcements. The control aspect means this can be overridden if there is a need to evacuate.

The Stadium was initially built with a 12,000 capacity, with plans to extend to accommodate up to 20,000 over time. The site includes built-in offices, player facilities, hospitality boxes, concessions, community resources and two community outdoor sports pitches available for business and public hire. The main Stadium area has four covered stands for supporters.

Gent’s technical support team worked closely with Tate Security Technology and played a key part in the rack design, the acoustic modelling and the Stadium speaker mapping. Gent’s detailed acoustic modelling provided in-depth prediction and results in Sound Pressure Level (SPL) distribution and STI results. The whole arena had to be acoustically modelled to ensure it complied with the requirements of BS5839 part 8 2008 and reach the specific audibility levels.

The requirements state that the results have to be at least five decibels above the Stadium’s ambient background noise and the Gent system delivers an SPL of 105 DB and STI results of 0.5-0.55.

Steve Hutchinson continues: “It is very difficult to predict the ambient noise levels in stadiums, as it’s often down to the individual design of each stand. The input from Gent’s technical support team was invaluable as their expert mapping enabled us to accurately predict the SPL distribution to give us equal sound as well as meet the minimum requirements across all four stands.”

The Gent support services team was set up with the aim of providing expert support in acoustic design, as well as additional support for customers on any aspect of fire detection and alarm products. The team carries a vast amount of experience in the design and application engineering of FD&A and voice alarm/PA systems and can provide advice on everything from site survey and training, to general application guidance.

Gent has recently created a new customer friendly D1 rack build area in the company’s extensive Leicester production facility to offer an expert rack build service with a dedicated Factory Acceptance Test area (FAT). The FAT area demonstrates how the rack is configured before it is sent to the site. All racks are built and programmed to a specification and the rack is shipped after it has been witness tested.

Gent’s Kevin Cooper, support services manager, added: “We are delighted that our first commercial installation of the D1 voice alarm/PA system has been so well received by both Tate Security Technology Ltd and the City of Salford Stadium.

Gent is one of only a small number of companies that has received the new certification for the voice alarm range last year and this, together with our highly experienced customer service team, has made us the winning choice for fire detection and voice alarm/PA systems. We are proud to be playing our part in protecting the Salford Reds supporters and staff.”