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  • Writer's pictureKCS Projects

Case Study: The Arnold Academy



The Client:


KCS Projects were awarded the contract to design and install an L2 fire alarm system for the Arnold Academy, Bedfordshire, in July 2022.


The Arnold Academy is a large, spaced-out school site comprised of numerous blocks from several time periods. We were required to consider the structure and layout of each block on-site when designing the custom alarm system across multiple buildings.



The Brief:


Under the brief, KCS Projects were required to design and install an L2 fire alarm system, including two Fire Alarm Panels.


Due to the large size of the site, the alarm was required to be visible from multiple panels around the area, in order to ensure that action could be taken quickly and easily in the event of a fire.


The works were carried out during the school summer holidays, which meant we were able to complete the job without disrupting the school’s daily routine. Our Contracts Manager was required to liaise with the school’s Site Manager throughout, and we held a handover session and training on the completion of the project.


All staff had to undergo Enhanced DBS checks, and all works were to be carried out under school policy and the relevant government legislation. In addition, everything had to conform to BS 5839 2017 standards.



Our Work:


The project started during the school summer holidays, which allowed us to work without disturbing the school’s schedule.


To ensure the job was completed on time, and to prevent disruption to the school, our Contracts Manager regularly liaised with the Site Manager, or a member of the site team.

For their convenience, we would inform them of where our Site Foreman would be, and would lock up the site and set the alarms when we finished our shifts.


To meet the requirements of each block, we installed three fire alarm loops, with multiple panels networked together at various locations throughout the school. This eliminated the need to travel to a central panel, which may have presented a risk during an emergency.

Instead, the changes enabled staff to quickly travel to a local panel, allowing them to respond more safely and efficiently.


We designed the system using a fault-tolerant network. This meant that if any damage occurred to any of the cabling around the site, the network would run the other way to ensure that it continued to operate and would raise a fault on the panels.


In addition to Alarms and Detection, we installed several interface connections across the site. This included the access control power off, gas turn off, and fire door magnetic hold-off shutting in the event of a fire alarm sounding. This is monitored through a BT Redcare System.


If an alarm is triggered, the monitoring system calls four telephone numbers in order throughout the day. When the recipient responds, they will be asked to confirm their identity with a password. If they do not respond, or if the alarm sounds out of hours, the system will alert the local fire station.


When the works were complete, we had a handover session with the Site Manager and his team of caretakers. This training was a day in length and covered all aspects of the panel and the system, including how to turn it on for weekly testing.


We also showed them how to use the cause-and-effect function on the main fire panel to prevent gas from being turned off during the weekly tests, as this would disrupt the kitchens and other areas of the school.


Upon finishing the handover session, we left our contact details to allow the school to contact us should there be any issues or questions once we had left the site.



The Outcome:


By installing an L2 fire alarm system - which included two Fire Alarm Panels - across the large Arnold Academy site, we were able to ensure a faster and more efficient response in the event of an alarm sounding.


Additionally, by installing multiple panels we eliminated the need for staff members to travel to a central fire alarm panel - thereby saving valuable time in an emergency and reducing the risk of harm.


Due to the school having a bad internet signal, and to provide added value, we installed a BT Redcare System that consisted of two SIM cards and an IP address, which we connected to the school internet. This system would test the signal every 4 minutes to identify any drops.


All staff underwent Enhanced DBS checks, and the project was completed according to school policy and the relevant government legislation. In addition, all the works were carried out to conform to BS 5839 2017 standards.


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