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High rise apartments gain highest level of fire protection
Westside One, a residential building located in Birmingham city centre, was constructed little over a decade ago yet its old addressable fire system was ageing rapidly and did not comply with current regulations. Midlands-based fire specialists Fire Safety Services, who provide the maintenance for the multi-storey premises, encountered recurring problems with the existing fire detection and alarm system (FDA) system, and recommended a complete upgrade to provide the ultimate protection to the building’s occupants.
Dave Lewis, Fire Systems Manager, Fire Safety Services, explained: “With the original system there were no sounders other than in the concierge area and the smoke vent doors were not integrated into the main system. It was important to upgrade the system and select a new solution to bring it up to the current safety standards”.

Westside One is located on the busy Suffolk Street Queensway in Birmingham and is a 13 storey tower block made up entirely of living accommodation. In a building of this nature, the FDA is a crucial element for the protection of the residents, any changes to the system have to be carried out quickly and efficiently to ensure the building is without coverage for the least possible amount of time.

Fire Safety Services selected a Gent by Honeywell two loop Vigilon Compact solution to cover the entire apartment block. A total of 76 devices were installed, including S-Quad detectors with optical heat sounders and interface units to operate the smoke vent doors. The new solution would allow the alarm to be raised on every floor throughout the building and has been programmed to operate the smoke vent doors in emergency situations.

As one of Gent 24’s network of approved Systems Integrators, Fire Safety Services has had a close working relationship with the fire industry expert for more than seven years.

Dave continued: “The biggest challenge for Westside One was the fact that it is an occupied building. The amount of downtime in between taking the old panels out and installing the new ones had to be kept to a minimum. We needed to get the system up and running quickly and the Gent system saved us valuable time.

“On a typical system upgrade of this nature the average time for installing and commissioning is approximately five working days, this project took just three and a half days from start to finish.”

Fire Safety Services worked hard to get the detection back in place as rapidly as possible. The team’s familiarity with the Gent technology was a key part of the quick turnaround alongside the flexibility of the system.

Dave explained: “The Gent solution provided the ease of install that we required, there was no extra cabling as we were able to use the existing cables. This saved both time and money, so it was an ideal, cost effective solution for the client.”

The Westside One project is now complete. The high quality Gent FDA system in place is fully compliant with the current standards, and provides the building’s occupants with the robust protection and peace of mind that is essential in residential accommodation.