WESCase Studies

WES+DNRC, Loughborough

Client: Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC)

Project Value: £300 million

Location: Loughborough

WES+ installation at the creation of 43,000 sq m rehabilitation centre, including the conversion of a Grade II* hall.

Interserve, the international support services and construction group, has specified WES+ fire alarm system on the Stanford Hall DNRC (Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre) project, a £300m purpose-built rehabilitation centre for members of the Armed forces, and development of national facilities too.

The DNRC will extend to over 43,000sq m of floor space, of which approximately 38,000sq m will be new, purpose-built accommodation.  An important part of the development is the existing Stanford Hall, a grade II* listed building that will remain, providing offices, training and conference facilities for the rehabilitation centre.

WES+ was specified by the Interserve fire protection team because it helped meet its insurer’s expectation that the temporary fire alarm system should ‘mirror the hardwired system’ fitted at Stanford Hall.

A spokesperson from Zurich Insurance said; “Protecting the Grade II* Hall was a priority on the DNRC project and that is why we felt it was prudent to identify a temporary fire alarm system that mirrored the functionality of the existing fire alarm, which would be taken out of service during refurbishment works.”

The DNRC, located on the Stanford Hall estate near Loughborough, will complete in 2018 and will provide a state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility to support the treatment and recovery of armed forces personnel injured in service.

Military rehabilitation is currently undertaken at Headley Court in Surrey, although it has limited scope for modernisation, which is part of the reason for creating DNRC.

The challenge

With the expectation by the employers’ insurers that that the temporary fire alarm system used during refurbishment of Grade II* Stanford Hall would ‘mirror’ that of the existing hardwired alarm. The site construction team requested input from Interserve fire safety experts to address this challenge.

Interserve’s fire safety team had already investigated whether it would be practical to source a hardwired system. However, it was decided that this wasn’t a practical route because of the resources required to reposition the wired call points as construction and refurbishment progressed. There was also concern that trailing wires would create a hazard in themselves.

At the same time, a meeting had taken place with Ramtech Electronics and it quickly became apparent that its WES+ wireless fire alarm system provided the best way forward because it is compliant with the relevant sections of EN 54 and allows the incorporation of automatic heat / smoke detection units. This meant that it was able to replicate the functionality of the existing system in the Hall yet, being wireless, meant the units could be installed and repositioned in seconds, and without having to drill holes in the Grade II* Listed building.

Mark Wolsey, Interserve Fire Protection Manager, said: “Many Interserve construction sites are already protected from the dangers of fire by WES+ and so it was a natural progression to consider it for DNRC. We like the fact that it is wireless, which makes it very easy to set up and there are no safety issues with trailing wires.”

The solution

“What at first seemed to be a sizeable challenge – to mirror the hardwired fire alarm system in the Grade II* Hall, turned out to be considerably more straightforward than we envisaged,” added Mark.

Once WES+ had been specified for refurbishment of Stanford Hall, it was then simply a process of rolling it out to the new build elements.

“Being able to add additional units into the WES+ system was a major benefit for us, considering the scale of this site,” said Mark. “By adding and cloning WES+ units we have been able to create a completely secure wireless mesh network across this very large site using only two base stations.”

A combination of over 400 manual call points and automatic heat/smoke detectors are being used at DNRC.

Grade II* Stanford Hall, along with the accommodation and welfare cabins, have automatic heat / smoke detectors. These provide 24/7 protection, even when the site is vacated at nights and weekends. The system sends a SMS text alert to nominated personnel in the event of a fire, allowing them to immediately inform fire and rescue services.

Manual call points from the WES+ range were used on other, new build areas of the site.

If just one of the automatic or manual call points is activated, it instantly triggers the entire network, allowing personnel to evacuate site quickly and efficiently.

All WES+ units offer a 3-year maintenance-free battery life, and have undergone extensive testing to comply with the relevant parts of BS EN 54, including part 25 which addresses wireless components using radio links.