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  • Writer's pictureKCS Projects

Case Study: Tennyson Road Primary School (North Campus)



The Client:


KCS Projects were awarded the contract to design and install an L2 Fire Alarm System at Tennyson Road Primary School (North Campus), Luton, in July 2022. Tennyson Road Primary School is a three-form entry primary school and academy that spans two sites, the North Campus, and the South Campus.


Tennyson Road Primary School is rated 'Outstanding' by OFSTED and has achieved a place in the Top 1% of schools nationwide. The school currently has 450 pupils enrolled and is expected to increase its capacity to 630 over the next few years.


In order to accommodate the increase in students and safeguard their health and wellbeing, Tennyson Road Primary School was required to ensure that the premises were equipped with effective fire security technologies. As such, we were allocated the project with a view to enhancing the school's fire and security protocols.



The Brief:


We were given a brief to design and install an L2 Fire Alarm System at Tennyson Road Primary School (North Campus).


As part of the works, we needed to consider the structure of the site, which consisted of two blocks: the main block dating from the Victorian era, and the other, a modern design built in 2017. We were also required to fit appropriate fire security technologies to two temporary classrooms located on the school grounds.


In addition, all our staff had to have Enhanced DBS Checks and the works carried out needed to conform to BS 5839 2017 standards.



Our Work:


Our programme of work ran from July 2022 to August 2022, taking place throughout the school’s summer holiday. Due to the building's layout, the physical installation was relatively straightforward. During our initial site visit, we produced a full programme of works to inform the school and its caretakers of the work we planned to do, and when.


We carried out the work with a contracts manager, who attended the site at least three times a week, a commissioning engineer, and a working site foreman, who also oversaw the health and safety of the site. The installation of the wires and cables was completed by eight of our operatives.


To ensure consistency and communicability between both blocks, we first installed the Fire Alarm System in one of the blocks, then networked across to the other block using a fault-tolerant network cable. The one existing fire panel on-site was linked to the new panels we installed, and as it used an identical interface to the advanced panels we fitted, it was not necessary to update this interface.


When working on the temporary classrooms, we installed a Paxton door controller on the secure side of both of the temporary classrooms' external doors. Each door was also fitted with a magnetic lock and two proximity readers to secure the classrooms against entry by potential trespassers, and then connected to the new fire alarm system we installed.


This meant that in the event of a fire alarm activation, the power to the magnetic locks on the doors would be cut, ensuring that staff and pupils could exit the buildings safely.


Following the completion of the works, we held a handover session with the Site Manager and the school’s caretakers. The training ran for half a day to ensure all staff fully understood every aspect of the new fire alarm panel and system, including how to activate the alarm for weekly testing.


The training also included a demonstration of how to use the cause-and-effect function on the main fire panel to prevent gas from being turned off during the weekly tests, which could disrupt the kitchens and other areas of the school.


Once the training was complete, we left our contact details to allow the caretakers to contact us should there be any issues or questions following our departure from the site.



The Outcome:


We successfully installed the L2 Fire Alarm System in one of the blocks on the school site, then networked across to the other block using a fault-tolerant network cable.


The single fire alarm panel that existed on site prior to our work was linked to the new panels we fitted, but otherwise not changed, since it had the same interface as the advanced panels we installed. This allowed us to deliver added value by making the transition to the new system more convenient for the school staff.


We further delivered added value through the installation of emergency lighting, which would activate if the main lighting failed. A soak test was performed to ensure that the lighting was fully operational, where every light that failed to last the duration of the test was replaced.


We were able to further safeguard the health and wellbeing of staff and pupils by ensuring that the temporary classrooms on-site were effectively equipped with fire and security technologies, including Paxton door controllers, magnetic locks, and two proximity readers.


Once the work was complete, we provided the school staff with detailed training on every aspect of the systems we installed, including how to regularly test the alarms without disrupting the school's operations.


Finally, as was required, we ensured that all staff who participated in this project had Enhanced DBS Checks, and that all works conformed to the BS 5839 2017 standard.

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