Syncro Fire & Security

Syncro Fire & Security

Based in Leigh, Lancashire, Syncro Fire & Security provides bespoke fire and security solutions to organisations across the UK. The company has formed partnerships with some of the world’s leading fire and security manufacturers. By using multiple supply chains, Syncro is able to provide much greater choice and flexibility, leading to the most appropriate and unique solution.From design and installation through to service and maintenance, Syncro provides the full suite of support services related to all manner of fire and security requirements. This includes expert consultancy, false alarm management and a range of complementary services.

The company had to find a way of eliminating the false alarms. It needed to do so at a cost that would be acceptable and with an installation process that wouldn’t further disrupt students. Syncro was called in to identify a suitable solution.“We tend to get brought in when a client has a specific problem to solve,” said Gerry Bates, director at Syncro Fire & Security. "We don’t do run of the mill; we are a solutions-driven business.”

Scope of works
Fire safety is a critical area of concern for companies providing student accommodation. With thousands of students eating, sleeping and socialising in the accommodation, each residence must meet exacting fire safety standards. Fire detection systems must also satisfy the local fire service and university. But one of Syncro’s customers had issues with residences at a university in Scotland. At one residence, there were up to 40 false alarms each month, an unacceptably high rate. The issue had grown so bad that the fire and rescue service was going to start issuing fines for the disruption and costly false call-outs.

“Student accommodation presents unique challenges,” added Bates. “Accommodation blocks tend to include kitchens, social areas, bathrooms and bedrooms. Smoke detectors have to differentiate between steam, cooking, cigarettes, aerosols and more.

“The detectors in place were ‘dumb’. They had no way of differentiating between a real fire and steam from the shower, for instance. Plus, students found every way possible to set off the alarms as a hoax.

“To reduce the prevalence of false alarms in such a high-risk environment, an accurate level of CO detection was needed. From experience, I knew that Johnson Controls had made superb advances in its detection technology to help improve accuracy.”

FireClass triple-sensing detectors were identified as the perfect choice of detector for such a high-risk environment, where there are many sources of false alarms. Triple-sensing detection
technology is designed to continuously read the levels of CO, smoke and heat within the environment. This data is then analysed by powerful algorithms located inside the fire control panel to accurately determine the presence of a real fire.

“In the four months we were discussing options with the customer, cost was never mentioned,” said Bates.

“The focus was on the right solution. We took the customer to Johnson Controls to demonstrate the FireClass solution. Seeing the product live in action proved it was the right solution.”

Each block is fitted with 50 to 60 FireClass 460PC detectors, with one FireClass 501 control panel per block. “The 501 is a dream made in heaven,” said Bates. “It can run 128 devices from one panel, all fully compliant with British Standards. It’s very userfriendly.” The solution was installed in five working days with four engineers, all during term time, with no disruption to students.

“Using the addressable panel made things so much quicker,” said Bates. “Once we’d finished the first block the rest flew in. If we hadn’t used Johnson Controls you could have added weeks to the installation time.”

Three months after installation, there have been zero false alarms. The accommodation provider has avoided fines, the local fire brigade has less of its time wasted with false call-outs and students are better protected.

“We’ve made a problem that’s plagued our customer for three years go away overnight,” said Bates. “We’ve put this issue to bed.”

Following the initial trial, the FireClass solution will be rolled out to two further residences in Scotland, safeguarding more than 200 students. Moreover, this solution has been directly responsible for Syncro Fire & Security securing two new contracts: The Hub in Manchester and a five-floor teaching college in Liverpool – both using FireClass systems.

“At the top end of the fire safety market, everyone knows Johnson Controls is the Rolls-Royce,” concluded Bates. “It is a superior solution provider.”

Find out more about FireClass here

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