Sounding the Alarm

The difference between simple compliance and adopting a benchmark approach to safety can make all the difference when it comes to fire on construction sites, an ever present danger. The very fact that they have flammable materials and the presence of hot-working methods makes them vulnerable to these kinds of events.

Another factor to consider is that, according to Zurich, construction sites are often targets of vandalism and other criminal activities, including arson which accounts for 40% of all fires on constructions sites at a cost of £400 million per year. The Home Office has measured this and estimates that construction firms in England and Wales are affected by 104,000 fires each year.

These worrying statistics have resulted in the introduction of more strict legislation, with
the CPR (Construction Products Regulation), introduced on 1st July 2013, giving clear guidance on the performance of all construction products. Fire detection and alarm systems must be specifically engineered – and independently tested and approved – to comply with EN54-25 and therefore with the new CPR.

The need for robust, EN54-25 -compliant, automated fire alarm systems has become more pressing recently as a result of two factors. Firstly, the trend towards low carbon, off-site timber frame structures, and secondly, the desire for taller buildings, which has created a number of safety concerns with evacuating personnel quickly.

Our WES3 wireless emergency systems comprise fire points and heat detection units or dust resistant smoke detectors, linked to a monitoring base station or CONNECT unit. In the event of a fire, the system triggers a loud siren and a strobe light, alerting personnel to evacuate. At the same time, the base station allows the fire officer to instantly identify which fire point or detection unit has been activated, allowing emergency services to be deployed more effectively to the exact source. The base station can also provide SMS text alerts in the event of an alarm being activated allowing personnel to keep tight control on fire safety when they are off site, providing 24 hour protection.

Once the project is complete, the system can be moved to the next project and reconfigured via an app.

EN54-25 and CPR compliant wireless fire alarm systems, such as our WES3 systems, set the benchmark when it comes to protecting personnel and assets on construction sites. At the same time they are easy to fit and operate, have no cables and therefore zero installation costs and, with some systems, a battery life of over three years.

Over the last 30 years, we’ve seen more construction companies willing to invest in this kind of technology and in doing so they demonstrate to staff, clients and shareholders that they place safety and protection of life and property above all else.