Liberty Building Solutions CEO Richard Botting, the exclusive UAE-based distributor for the UK-based WES+ range of wireless fire detection systems, believes a step change transformation in construction site fire safety will follow from the adoption of the updated UAE Directorate General of Civil Defence Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice (2017 edition). Fire safety is a top priority for under construction and completed buildings in the UAE. The updated code embraces new technologies and implements stricter procedures of prevention and protection, which according to Liberty Building Solutions, will help promote a greater culture of fire safety accountability and responsibility.
From risk assessments and plans, site and building accessibility, storage of flammable materials, heat, smoke and fire detection and extinguishing systems, the new code is a significant development in the prevention, detection and elimination of the dangers of fire, says Botting.
A good example where the new code incorporates technology is in the introduction of wireless/low-powered RF-based fire detection and alarms systems, that the Civil Defence says “are best suited for construction sites, as they can be installed on a temporary basis without wiring”.
Insurers, local authorities, site-construction management and health & safety executives are realising that a wireless fire alarm system can make the single greatest difference to survival rates in a fire on site.
Richard Botting, CEO, Liberty Building Solutions
Wireless fire alarms such as the WES+ range, distributed in the UAE by Liberty Building Solutions, use an RF signal to wirelessly interconnect the key elements of a temporary fire detection system; base station, sounders, call points, heat and smoke detection units are meshed together to form a communication grid. Some units even incorporate medical alarm points, alerting responsible persons to a serious accident. Botting explains: “The WES+ range was designed for use on construction sites following extensive consultation and development with leading international contractors, many of whom are present in the UAE; the system is robust, cost-effective and very easy to set up, commission and reposition”.
Setting the benchmark
Only Civil Defence approved wireless systems should be installed on site as a temporary fire alarm. Botting claims that the WES+ system is independently certified to the relevant sections of EN 54, the European fire and detection standard and carries CE marking, both examples of best practices used within in the latest UAE national fire standard code.
Wired vs. wireless fire alarm systems
Traditional wired temporary alarms are (or should be) connected using fire rated cable which requires specialist contractors to install and reposition as building work progresses. Traditional systems are rudimentary in nature and performance, often written off as a consumable within the project mobilisation cost and thrown away when no longer required.
Liberty Building Solutions claim that systems such as the WES+ operate wirelessly and are battery powered, therefore independent of external power supply interruptions. They do away with the need for expensive cable, saving installation costs. They can be easily installed and repositioned without the inconvenience of cabling and an unlimited number of additional wireless devices can be added with just a few button presses.
The alarm can be manually or automatically triggered and the system provides 24/7 cover, ensuring that the site is protected even when personnel are not present.
A key benefit of wireless systems such as the WES+ range is that they can be removed once they are no longer needed and deployed for use on the next job – a significant cost saving and environmental benefit compared with traditional systems.
With the provision for wireless temporary alarm systems embedded into the updated code, Liberty is working with authorities such as Civil Defence, DWTC, DCA, as well as leading developers, contractors, fire safety consultants and other stakeholders to help raise the awareness and benefits of wireless systems to protect their workers and clients’ assets.
WES+ wireless fire detection is not the only product using new technology that is being promoted to the UAE construction sector by Liberty. Thermarestor is a thermally activated switch designed to isolate electrical power in the event of excessive heat that may otherwise lead to a risk of fire. Botting adds: “The WES+ range is an ideal solution for detecting fire in temporary situations such as construction sites, pop-up public venues (concerts, conferences, meetings, and seminars) and refurbishment projects. The Thermarestor range is designed as a new and retro fit device shutting down a rogue electrical circuit before it has a chance to act as a source of ignition.”