Housing association upgrades 5000+ homes’ fire & CO alarms with Aico

Trent & Dove Housing has recently completed a major Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm installation programme using solely Aico mains powered alarms and accessories.

Aico 160 Series smoke alarms were originally fitted throughout the 5,200 properties located across East Staffordshire by Trent & Dove Housing shortly after the association took over the housing stock from East Staffordshire Borough Council in 2001. With the alarms approaching their ten year replacement date, Trent & Dove undertook a Fire Risk Assessment and decided to increase the specification from a BS 5839-6 Category LD3 system to the more robust LD2. This has involved replacing the alarms throughout to the new Aico 160RC series, upgrading to Optical alarms on landings, installing Heat alarms in kitchens and interconnecting all alarms on the system, with the addition of a central Alarm Control Switch.

To reduce installation times and costs, Trent & Dove Housing has kept the existing Aico 160 Series Easi-fit base plates for the alarms fitted upstairs, while installing the ground floor alarms on RadioLINK bases. RadioLINK allows Aico alarms and accessories to be wirelessly interconnected by Radio Frequency (RF) signals rather than cabling, which saves time and disruption when installing systems in existing properties.

The recently improved RadioLINK base now enables such mixed (or ‘hybrid’) hard-wired and RF systems to not only be fully interconnected but also be controlled by a single Switch; in this instance an Ei411H located in the hallway of each property. The Switch allows residents to simply test and silence all the alarms on the system and quickly identify and locate the exact unit which has triggered the system (visually identifying if the source is a fire or CO leak), all from one convenient wall mounted location. Powered by a 10 year Lithium battery, the Switch is completely wireless, saving time on installation.

Properties with hard of hearing tenants will also benefit from Aico’s Ei170RF Alarm for the Hard of Hearing, which consists of a warning strobe light and a separate plug-in vibration pad for siting under pillows.

Martin Veckungs, Project Manager at Trent & Dove Housing, comments on the new alarm specification and the savings made:

“Any additional alarms would obviously require mains wiring into the system, however by using heat / smoke alarms and switches with RadioLINK interconnection, we achieved a relatively simple installation without the need to run interconnect cable back to the closest alarm. In order to link into the existing wired alarms we could simply exchange one of the existing bases for a RadioLINK base, keeping disruption and disturbance to a minimum. This solution was ideally suited to properties having no accessible ceiling void such as ground floor / intermediate floor Flats.”

In conjunction with the smoke alarm replacement, Trent & Dove Housing also looked at the provision of CO alarms based upon risk assessment. The housing association will be installing Aico Ei261ENRC and Ei262 mains powered CO alarms in high risk properties initially.

4,000 properties are being upgraded on a specific programme of works, difficult access issues are being addressed during gas servicing appointments, with Customer Liaison Officer involvement. The remaining 1,200 properties are being picked up during the rewire programme and on void properties via the association’s repairs and maintenance partners.

Aico is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ei Electronics. All Aico alarms are designed and built in Europe specifically to meet UK standards and regulations. For more information please go to www.aico.co.uk or contact Aico on 01691 664100 or enquiries(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)aico.co.uk.