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  • Writer's pictureKCS Projects

Case Study: Brookvale Groby Learning Campus

The Client:

KCS Projects were awarded the contract to design and install an L2 Fire alarm system at Brookvale Groby Learning Campus in Leicester.

The site is comprised of two large single-storey blocks built in the 1970s, which had originally been two separate schools - the Groby Community College, and Brookvale High School. In 2019, the two schools merged to become Brookvale Groby Learning Campus.

The Brief:

We were given the brief to design and install an L2 fire alarm system, which was required to be networked across both blocks. The L2 fire alarm needed to include a four-loop panel that contained a cause-and-effect function on the main fire panel; this would prevent the gas from being turned off during fire alarm tests.

We were required to work under the relevant COVID guidelines at all times, and any staff who worked on the project needed to have Enhanced DBS checks.

Due to the fast-changing COVID regulations and intermittent lockdowns, we were also required to be flexible with our hours in order to avoid disruptions to the school’s learning schedule, as the campus was open and fully operational at times, while remote learning was in place during the lockdown periods.

Our Work:

We began the works in December 2020 on night shifts when the school was fully operational. In January 2021, when a COVID lockdown began, the school returned to home learning and we liaised with them to amend the programme and carry out the works during the day. This meant the project would be delivered earlier than planned.

The installation of the L2 fire alarm was relatively straightforward due to the single-storey 1970s building layout, and a programme of works was developed following the site visits.

We carried out the fire alarm installation in one of the blocks, before networking across to the other using a fault-tolerant network cable. The fire alarm system was then connected to a four-loop panel, with the necessary cause-and-effect function being added to the main fire panel.

The works were carried out with a Contracts Manager, who attended the site at least 3 times a week, a commissioning engineer, a working site foreman who oversaw the project and the health and safety of the site, and four operatives who handled the installation of the wires and cabling networks.

All staff working on this project underwent Enhanced DBS checks and followed the relevant COVID safety protocols as determined by both the Government and the school itself - this included all staff wearing masks when on the school site. In addition, all works carried out conformed to BS 5839 2017 standards.

We had our own compound on the school campus, which was surrounded by Heras fencing and which used access controls to prevent any pupils or unauthorised personnel from gaining access. We also provided our own skips, storage container, and welfare cabin.

This allowed us to work independently on-site without the need to use any of the school's facilities, thereby helping us to further reduce safeguarding risks and comply effectively with COVID guidelines.

On the completion of the works, we had a handover session with the Site Manager and the team of caretakers. This included a 3-hour training session to ensure that they understood all aspects of the system, with everyone present being briefed on all aspects of the four-loop panel and overall system, including how to carry out weekly testing.

For instance, we showed the team how to prevent the kitchens and other areas of the school from being disrupted during the tests by using the cause-and-effect function on the main fire panel to ensure that the gas supply was not turned off.

At the end of the training 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 designing and installing an L2 fire alarm system that used one four-loop panel, we were able to network the system across both blocks - meaning that both areas would be alerted in the event of a fire.

To deliver added value, we also set up the lesson bell sounder through the panels, where our Contracts Manager liaised with the school to get the correct timetable for the bell, and to establish which areas of the school the sounder was required. This timetable was then programmed into the system using the laptop app.

In addition, to prepare for the need to alert the staff of another potential lockdown, we installed a notification feature into the panel and provided training to the Site team on how to implement this.

During this project, we overcame the challenge of working through another lockdown and the additional requirements of COVID, which changed our usual working practices. We are satisfied that we have delivered the works to a high standard, and that we delivered a high-quality fire safety system which works effectively across all areas of the site - thereby fulfilling the brief provided to us by the client.

Want to ensure your school, college, or educational setting is kept safe from fire and other security threats? Give us a call!


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