Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
December 3, 2021


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Case study

Fire detection system designed to ‘detect fire before cladding is breached’ removes waking watch patrols in ‘high risk’ buildings

Said to be able to detect fire before cladding is breached, Intelliclad’s internal fire alarm system is designed to remove the need for waking watch patrols, and has recently been installed in two apartment buildings in the UK. IFSEC Global finds out more about the fire detection system.

Intelliclad-WakingWatch-21The 38 apartment Interchange building in West Croydon has become the first building in the UK to have the new Intelliclad system installed in a bid to boost resident safety as the wait for cladding remediation works continue, followed by the 33 apartment St Chad’s building in Plymouth.

By having this installation carried out alongside implementation of Intelliclad’s internal fire alarm system – which conforms with BS 5839-1 L5 guidance – the buildings have been able to remove the need for waking watch patrols.

Residents at The Interchange will now save £460 a month in waking watch bills until remediation is carried out, with the cost of installation covered by the Waking Watch Relief Fund.

Natasha Charlton, Assistant Property Manager at Hudson and Kimm Block Management, which manages the building, said: “The occupants and leaseholders at The Interchange have commented that they do feel a lot safer in their homes and environment following the installation of Intelliclad.

“The waking watch did not provide occupants/leaseholders with the same reassurances.”

When asked how Intelliclad engaged with the residents of the building – a measure that will be of increasing importance as a result of the Building Safety Bill requirements – a spokesperson said: “We sent a letter out to residents to ensure them of the need for external fire detection, sensitive to the fact that this obviously could cause some concern, which we tried to address ahead of time.

“It was imperative that they understood our reason for entering their apartments for access to balconies, and why detection on their balconies was required. Interaction with residents during the install was good opportunity for explaining what our system does and why it is needed, and the dangers of not being aware of the fire risk on those balconies.”

A third internal and external installation is currently being carried out at a mixed-use building in Bournemouth – where the ground floor is a local library, with 24 flats above it.

The Intelliclad fire alarm system

Intelliclad’s system is said to be unique, due to the fact that alarms are installed into the combustible external façade of high-risk buildings to detect early symptoms of a fire.

Darron Brough, Intelliclad’s Managing Director, said: “Years of hard work and experience has gone into creating Intelliclad and these installations signal the start of a new era of building safety.

“The scope of this tragic scandal is becoming more and more concerning each day. We are proud to be able to play a small part in making people feel safer in their homes as they await cladding remediation – we need the support of those in power to be able to do this on the scale necessary to facilitate real change.”

With statistics indicating that since 2010, 60% of all high-rise façade fires across the globe have started externally, the Intelliclad team believes this highlights the need for detectors to be placed into the external façade.

Causes include discarded cigarettes on balconies, external lighting malfunctions, air conditioning units breaking down and fires in bins.

Fire Protection Association (FPA) testing carried out on a specially constructed 10m wide and 9m high cladding rig at the Association’s headquarters showed Intelliclad detectors were activated six minutes and 33 seconds prior to cladding being breached by fire on the first test and 9 minutes, 47 seconds prior on the second.

The system has also been supported by renowned fire safety expert Frances Maria Peacock, whose reports and technical papers have been submitted to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Frances has put together an academic report on the comparison between Intelliclad, the Waking Watch and traditional common fire alarm systems. Frances recently wrote a technical report on the tower block fire in Milan.

As far as certification goes for the product, the company notes it understands that it will need to be recognised with third-party certification, with a greater emphasis set to be placed on independent testing on fire detection and prevention products, as well as construction materials in general. Intelliclad says it is currently looking to become accredited in the New Year.

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Michael Floyd
Michael Floyd
December 23, 2021 5:22 pm

What happens once the fire is detected?

March 30, 2022 10:57 am

Are smoke detectors tested on external environment and does it fully meet BS EN 54 with CE/UKCA marking for intended use outside the building? What is the life span when exposed to external environment with varying weather conditions including aerosol (i.e. salt, pollution, dust) in the air? Are they battery operated and what happens when it dies? Assume it use radio link to communicate and what about interference to the radio wave from construction materials and surrounding area and buildings? Where the work falls under Buildings Regs, it will not satisfy Regulation 7(1) – Approved Document 7 since these devices… Read more »