Client: Winchester Cathedral
Project: Fire Alarm Management
Brief: The ongoing management and development of the fire alarm systems at a large heritage site.
ARC Fire Safety & Security has been the fire alarm provider at Winchester cathedral since 2002.
The site comprises the main cathedral, associated buildings including a visitor centre, Learning centre, offices as well as several very old residences.
A heritage site of this age and size is constantly evolving. As well as general building alterations that require reworking of the fire alarm cable and devices, there are major projects too. In 2019, the cathedral opened the new King of Scribes museum area following funding by the National Lottery. This major installation required a huge amount of pre planning and design, working not only with the cathedral but also a number of other related systems and providers. As well as the main work required to cover the new areas, a large amount of temporary protection was required to cover the site during the building process, and this was constantly changing.
Many challenges are faced in this type of building, including planning of cable routes to reduce the impact on the décor as well as working in accordance with the restrictions placed by the project Architect.
Due to the complexities of a building of this nature, there are many different areas that require alternative engineering solutions when it comes to fire detection. As well as standard point smoke and heat detection, several areas are covered by air aspirating detection in order to facilitate a quicker response to smoke detection. In addition to this, there are other areas where it is virtually impossible to run fire cable. In these instances, the huge experience the company has in radio fire detection comes into its own. By installing radio modules to the existing wired addressable loops, difficult to cable areas can be covered with no cable at all.
All buildings that form part of the Winchester cathedral site are included in an annual planned maintenance programme. All systems and devices are regularly tested to ensure both working efficiency and compliance.
A site wide paging system alerts the site staff to confirm which building has activated so response can be directed rapidly to the desired location. A remote monitoring system provides coverage outside normal opening hours.
ARC Fire Safety & Security has worked very closely with the cathedral Facilities team for over 17 years, providing a high end professional service which is based on a consultative approach to all aspects of this challenging account.
This experience and expertise can be utilised in any similar heritage application, with the client knowing ARC Fire Safety & Security has a strong track record in delivering the high level service and account management expected by this type of customer.