Westoning Lower School is a small school in Westoning, Bedfordshire.
Part of the Pyramid Trust, the Westoning Lower School educates children between the ages of 3 to 9 years, with 110 pupils currently enrolled. The school achieved a Good rating from OFSTED in 2019 and maintains close links with its local community, particularly St. Mary Magdalene Church.
Westoning Lower School occupies a small site comprised of two blocks - the main block and the nursery block. The building consists of structures from a variety of periods, with the earliest built in 1971 and the most recent extension in 2016.
KCS Projects was awarded the contract to design and install an L2 fire alarm system at Westoning Lower School, Bedford. We were required to consider the structure of the school site when carrying out our work.
As the school was based across two blocks, we had to tailor our approach to installing the alarm system according to the needs of each block.
The works started in July 2022.
When the school was open, we carried out our work overnight, starting at 4PM when there were still staff and students on-site attending after-school clubs. This meant we had to be aware of where they would be, and work around them accordingly.
The panel we installed did not need to be networked, as it was the same type as the existing one.
In addition to the alarms and detection systems, we installed several interface connections across the site - which included the access control power turning off, the gas turning off, and the magnetic fire doors shutting in the event of an alarm being triggered.
The system is monitored through the BT Redcare alarm monitoring service. In the event of an alarm, the Redcare service calls 4 emergency contacts in order, who confirm their identity with a password. If no emergency contacts can respond, or if it is out of working hours, Redcare will automatically call the fire station.
During our works, we complied with government guidelines on COVID control at all times, and ensured that hand sanitiser was available throughout the site. In addition, we observed social distancing wherever possible, and wore masks when it was not feasible.
As part of our social distancing efforts, our operatives worked in ‘bubbles’ to reduce the risk of passing or contracting COVID-19. The installation engineers were in Bubble 1, the commissioning engineers in Bubble 2, and the electrical engineers in Bubble 3.
To prevent disruption to the school or our work schedule, at the beginning of each shift, our site foreman would meet with the school’s site manager to confirm where we would be at the end of our shift.
This meant we could simply lock up the site and set the alarms when we finished, preventing the site manager or another member of the school’s site team from having to return to the school to secure the premises when our shifts were over.
All works carried out conform to BS 5839 2017 standard, and all members of staff underwent enhanced DBS checks before starting work on-site.
We were able to successfully design and install an L2 fire alarm system at Westoning Lower School, Bedford, while planning our work around the school's daily operations to minimise disruption.
Our alarm system was the same type as the original panel in place, which eliminated the need to network the system, and meant that the school staff did not require retraining in how to use it.
We were able to fulfil the needs of the contract while successfully maintaining social distancing in line with UK government guidelines. We achieved this by observing social distancing protocols wherever possible, supplying hand sanitiser to our on-site personnel, and working in a ‘Bubble System’ to reduce the amount of human contact that our workers were exposed to.
Furthermore, we were able to offer the school added value by installing and replacing emergency lighting units and key switches in addition to the L2 fire alarm. This ensured the existing system would be fully functional.