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Watford Community Housing partners with Aico on fire safety upgrades

04 April 2022

WATFORD COMMUNITY Housing has upgraded two of its 16-storey tower blocks to a Grade D, LD1 fire detection system using Aico’s technology. The company owns and manages over 5,000 homes and is always striving to implement all of the necessary measures to keep tenants safe.

Recently, Watford Community Housing’s Abbey View and Munden View high-rise blocks were chosen for mandated safety audits under the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s supervision. After an initial review of the housing stock, the company decided to upgrade these buildings’ safety systems. Working closely with Aico, the team began work on planning and installing multi-sensor fire alarms to achieve complete coverage.

The project began for Watford Community Housing by taking advantage of Aico’s free Fire Industry Association (FIA)-accredited ‘Expert Installer’ training for all members of the installation team. Aico’s mobile unit visited the site and Watford Community Housing’s colleagues undertook training on alarm maintenance, siting and standards in a bid to assure the safety and accuracy of the installation procedures.

The mobile unit also allowed the residents within the towers to chat with representatives from Watford Community Housing, thereby allaying any worries they might have harboured concerning the installation process. Residents were also able to receive fire safety advice and information on how to test and maintain their alarms once installed.

Data extraction

Watford Community Housing decided to use Aico’s technology for several reasons, with a key factor being the easy data extraction tools available.

The newly appointed building safety manager will now be able to extract data from the multi-sensor alarms with ease using Aico’s RadioLINK technology. Each property has had up to four multi-sensor alarms installed, which intelligently monitor heat and smoke levels. Heat alarms have also been installed in each kitchen to complete the project, with an Ei450 switch added for easy testing capabilities.

Watford Community Housing also opted to add an Ei414 alarm interface, enabling the Part 6 fire alarm systems in the living spaces to connect to the Part 1 system in the communal hallways, in turn realising comprehensive and integrated fire protection.

Once the upgrade procedures were completed, Watford Community Housing was delighted to welcome representatives of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service for the purposes of safety audits. The latter were passed with ease. The fire officers involved commended the pre-training conducted by Aico colleagues.

‘Expert Installer’ training

Ben Malton, Aico’s regional specification manager, commented: “Key to the successful delivery of the fire safety upgrades at these tower blocks was to provide the installation team with Aico’s FIA-accredited ‘Expert Installer’ training. In addition to this training, we deployed our mobile training unit to the site before the commencement of the works. This enabled us to engage directly with the residents and provide them with fire safety advice as well as show them how to test their alarms. It was great to hear that the provision of this training was commended by the Fire and Rescue Service during its mandated inspection work.”

David Wright, surveying manager for Watford Community Housing, added: “Our customers’ safety and well-being is our highest priority. With this in mind, and due to the known risks around high-rise buildings, we decided that full fire detection would be appropriate. We believe Aico’s products deliver the best results in terms of safety for our residents. We’re also aware of what’s required from a maintenance point of view, helping us to minimise the time we spend in the properties.”

By using Aico’s training scheme and technology, Watford Community Housing can assure resident safety and carry out remote checks on a regular basis, which yields a more proactive and solution-focused approach towards the management of its housing stock.

*Further information is available online at www.aico.co.uk