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Fire Minister praises innovative Intelliclad alarm solution in Croydon

08 February 2022

LORD STEPHEN Greenhalgh, the Minister of State for Building Safety and Fire, has visited residents in a Croydon apartment building where an innovative alarm system has been installed, thereby allowing for the removal of costly ‘Waking Watch’ patrols.

Lord Greenhalgh visited the 38-apartment building in West Croydon alongside representatives from Intelliclad, whose system was installed last year to increase residents’ safety.

As the waiting period for remediation works to begin at similar buildings across the UK continues, the installation and commissioning of Intelliclad’s fire alarm system – which internally conforms with BS 5839-1 L5 guidance – was completed at a number of buildings last year, in some cases underpinned by monies available through the Government’s Waking Watch Relief Fund.

Lord Greenhalgh recently called for innovation aimed at tackling the UK’s cladding crisis during a House of Lords debate on the issue, duly citing external fire detection systems as a prime example of what can be achieved in order to boost residents’ safety and reduce costs to individuals.

During a tour of the building, Lord Greenhalgh said: “Intelliclad approached me in response to my call for new technology that might ensure the risk of fire and fire spread could be mitigated at buildings rather than going down the route of full remediation. I’ve enjoyed learning more about the system and would encourage more innovation of this nature such that safety risks in more buildings can be mitigated.”

Funding system installations

As stated, Intelliclad completed a number of installations on buildings in 2021. These included residential buildings in Plymouth, Bournemouth and Southampton, as well as the development in Croydon. As reported by Fire Safety Matters, an additional £27 million Waking Watch Replacement Fund has recently been announced to help fund the installation of alarm systems.

New research suggests that Intelliclad’s application of detectors within the external façade is a much needed intervention. Statistics indicate that, since 2010, 60% of all high-rise façade fires across the globe have begun externally.

Causes included discarded cigarettes on balconies, external lighting malfunctions, air conditioning units breaking down and fires in bins.

Fire Protection Association testing carried out on a specially constructed 10 metres wide by 9 metres high cladding rig at its headquarters showed Intelliclad detectors were activated six minutes and 33 seconds prior to cladding being breached by fire on the first test and 9 minutes and 47 seconds prior to any breach on the second.

Intelliclad’s smart technology system would have alerted all residents in a building of the fire via sounders and a dedicated smart phone app before the fire had any chance to take hold, as well as activating the building’s main fire alarm system, which can be set up to notify the Fire and Rescue Service.

Safer environment for residents

Darron Brough, founder of Intelliclad, told Fire Safety Matters: “Meeting Lord Greenhalgh gave us a fantastic opportunity to showcase how Intelliclad and our team can help address building safety issues across the UK. It was great to meet someone who truly appreciates the innovation behind Intelliclad and our desire to help residents across the UK live in a safer environment thanks to the installation of fire mitigation measures.”

Brough continued: “Our product is compliant, thoroughly tested and has been endorsed by credible names within the fire safety world. This visit was about showing Lord Greenhalgh the practical application of our system in a real-life setting and explaining how we are already helping those affected by the cladding crisis that has been brought to light in the wake of Grenfell.”

He concluded: “For us, this represents a key moment after years of research, development and, more recently, building key relationships with building owners and managers with a view towards boosting the safety of residents.”