WESCase Studies

WES+Water Street, Manchester

Client: Renaker Build Ltd

Project Value: £50 million

Project Type: Residential

Location: Manchester

Ensuring the safety of staff and visitors has always been a priority for Renaker Build, which is living by this maxim on its latest development in Manchester by specifying the WES+ wireless fire alarm system.

Renaker’s goal is that when its staff go home each day they do so without any accidents or ill effects from their work. As part of this guiding principle, fire safety is a key focus on all its developments, including the Water Street project in Manchester.

Water Street is a 28-storey residential new build comprising 307 apartments across three interconnected blocks. The site has quickly progressed into one of the largest construction projects in Manchester.

WES+ at Water Street

Until relatively recently Renaker had used a wired fire alarm system on site but had become increasingly concerned with its cumbersome nature.

WES+ has been designed to o ffer simplified on-site setup and allows activation, addition or cloning of multiple levels of units with just a few button presses as the build progresses.

Adam Priest, Quantity Surveyor at Renaker Build Limited, explained:

“We have used wired systems until relatively recently although we didn’t nd them practical. Trailing leads were an ongoing concern because they caused trip hazards and other safety issues around the site.”

“Another significant factor was that wire re alarm systems prevented us closing up elements of the build. For instance, we would hardwire each section of a development for the fire alarm system and then when it was ready to be boarded out and plastered we would have to dismantle it, carry out the work, and then reinstall the wires.”

“Even explaining how the wired system works makes it sound cumbersome, but when you factor in that specialist electrical trades are needed to do this, you can see why it was causing us real issues.”

After considering all these factors the site decision team at Renaker specified a WES+ wireless re alarm system for Water Street. Adam said: “We have used both wired and wireless re alarms and there’s no comparison – wireless wins hands down, every time.”

To emphasise this point Adam pointed out that the WES+ wireless frequency passes through all solid materials found on site, which means that secondary phases such as boarding out and plastering can be carried out without having to reposition wires. “If we do need to move one of the WES+ units it only takes seconds.”

Other factors considered by Renaker when specifying WES+ was the fact that the system is independently tested and certified to relevant sections of EN54 and the Construction Products Regulation, which is confirmed by the CE marking and four-digit test centre number on each and every unit in the system.

The three-year battery life keeps replacement costs and waste to a minimum, and the WES+ system can simply be transferred to the next Renaker project when the development is complete. Being installable to BS5839 means that the company can also use it in its temporary accommodation units on site.

The WES+ system at Water Street comprises manual fire alarm call points that are installed on site in accordance with the project’s Fire Plan. These call points are designed so that the system is interlinked, which means that all 28 floors receive the same audible and visual alert signal, even if the fire is contained to just one of them. As each floor is constructed further units are added to create a completely secure mesh network, and alarms can be manually triggered by personnel from any call point.

As an option, heat or smoke detectors can be incorporated into the system to provide automatic cover 24/7, ensuring that the site is protected even when personnel are not present. The base stations at Water Street allow the fire officers to instantly identify which fire point or heat/smoke detection unit has been activated, allowing emergency services to be deployed to the exact source.