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In Darlington, Rydal Academy is a primary school and nursery setting for two to 11-year-olds and Longfield Academy is a secondary school and sixth form. Both schools required their life safety systems modernising, from closed protocol to open protocol, allowing any qualified fire safety engineer to work on the system and devices rather than being fixed to one brand. For schools this can make the long-term use and maintenance of the system far more flexible and cost effective. Hochiki’s ESP Intelligent range was prescribed for the schools. The range has an addressing capability which can be extended from 128 to 254 for some alarm devices, which minimises costs and allows for flexibility.
At the installer Optica Fire & Security Ltd, Michael Shearon, project lead, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with Hochiki, going back several years. We know the devices that we installed at both schools well and trust them for their reliability and ease of installation. Plus, for the end user they are cost effective and for us, should we need it, their technical support is second to none.”
Both school sites are large, but Longfield had the added complexity of networking across several spread-out buildings and over multiple floors – classrooms, staffing areas, dining area, school halls, library, a sports hall, and swimming pool. All required new cabling as well as where appropriate the upgrade of the existing. With the added pressure of the six-week summer holiday deadline looming this was quite a complex project for the team to undertake. As well as fire and repeater panel installation, there were over 800 Hochiki devices installed across both sites, with a life safety system designed to meet a category L3 requirement – the standard for school settings where there are lots of classrooms and corridors to consider, plus outside spaces.
Longfield also required the Hochiki devices to perform multiple functions, and the network was programmed for ‘cause and effect’ to include a class change system. Based on pre-programmed timetables, to signify the end of a lesson or lunch session, for example, the sounders would activate, using a different tone to the fire alarm. This is possible via controls within the ESP products that include variable volumes and tones that allow the system to be tailored to the application specifics.
Jon Quinn, Senior Consultant from RLB, was the building management consultant for the install at the school. He said: “The devices installed at both Rydal and Longfield Academies along with the highly professional team from Optica Fire & Security and Hochiki Europe, ensured a high-quality life safety system project was achieved with every deadline hit, and within the budgets set.”