WES+ Spotlight, SHP – November 2015

What is WES+
WES+ is a second generation wireless temporary fire alarm system engineered specifically for use on construction sites. WES+ is engineered and manufactured in the UK by Ramtech Electronics with the specific aim of meeting the highest possible health and safety standards – in particular, the European Harmonised Standard relating to fire alarms, EN 54 – while keeping in mind the industry’s need for a flexible, cost-effective fire alarm system for active sites.

WES+ includes a number of alarm, monitoring and detection units, each of which is designed and independently tested to be:
• Fully compliant with EN 54 and the Construction Products Regulation
• Robust enough to cope with a construction site environment
• Easy to set up and simple to monitor
• Reliable life-critical safety system
• Flexible enough to cope with the changing health and safety demands of an evolving building site

The system can be installed to BS5839, and was a finalist in the Commercial Innovation category of the Recent Construction News Awards, and was the Runner-up in this year’s Construction Health and Safety Group Beaumont Safety Trophy.

What legislation is applicable in this area?
Fire safety in construction is covered by several laws and codes of practice, including the Construction Products Regulation, HSG168 and the Fire Protection Association’s Joint Code of Practice, but they all point to the need for construction sites to be protected by fire alarms.
The standard against which fire alarms should be tested is an extensive and detailed set of technical and testing specifications and benchmarks which are collectively known as EN 54 fire detection and fire alarm systems. This is the standard against which each component unit of the WES+ system has been tested and certified.

How does WES+ work?
The system includes manual call points and smoke/heat detectors which can be placed around the site according to the fire plan. These connect together in a secure radio network that’s configured against external interference. An alarm is triggered across the entire site when either a call point is pressed or a detector automatically triggers, and the source of the initial trigger can be determined via the Base Station unit to enable the location of a fire to be pinpointed accurately by emergency services.

The system is wireless and battery powered and can be set up quickly and simply on site without the need for specialist installation.

Why wireless?
Wireless systems are gaining increasing popularity within the construction industry, since they eliminate the need for specialist trade installation and can be moved or added to easily as the build or demolition progresses. Provided systems are robust and well engineered –for fire alarms, wireless receivers should be Category 1, the highest reliability category possible, and should be tested against Part 25 of EN 54 – they can be an effective means of delivering life-critical cover.

Who’s using it?
The system is in active use throughout the construction industry, by leading companies including Kier, BAM, Laing O’Rourke and Morgan Sindall, and uses Europe-compatible radio frequency so can be deployed on EU-based sites as well as UK sites.
At the time of writing, it’s in active use on projects ranging from the European Central Bank refurbishment in Frankfurt to the £120m Donban upgrade of Grade II* listed Bond-location, 10 Trinity Square.

This article was published in SHP magazine, November 2015

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