Out with the old and in with the new

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For leading pharmaceutical research plant

The Baldwin Boxall Vigil system, through Tri Management, was chosen to provide a Voice Alarm (VA) system upgrade to a leading UK pharmaceutical research plant in Hertfordshire.
Following the installation of a Baldwin Boxall BVR20 networked system in early 2000s the end user decided to carry out a complete fire detection upgrade to the site, which included a new fire alarm system, detectors, voice alarm, fibre network and loudspeakers. Over 50 control panels, around 9,000 fire alarm devices and about the same number of loudspeakers will be replaced, checked and tested across the site during the 24 month project. At a site that employs around 2,000 staff, it was imperative that any disruption during the replacement of loudspeakers, or any part of the system, was kept to the minimum. Tri Management has carried this out impeccably.
Baldwin Boxall was handed the order to provide a replacement VA system in Autumn 2013 – comprising of 14 EVAS digitally networked racks, touchscreen control, fire and control microphones. In December 2013 the systems were delivered to site and installed adjacent to the existing BVR20 racks. During this period a new multimode fibre backbone was installed throughout the complex and the new racks were then connected to the network and soak tested over the Christmas break, thus ensuring there were no faults on the fibre network. The existing BVR20 system remained operational during this period.
In January 2014, with the co-operation of Baldwin Boxall’s project management team, Tri Management planned the best way to swap over the BVR20 VA system to the new EVAS system, with the minimum downtime as possible. A programme of works was carried out – starting with the fitting of new fire detection panels, detection loops/devices, and connecting these panels the BVR20 rack system.
Strictly adhering to ‘good practice’ methods throughout the project, Tri Management checked all loudspeaker circuits, prior to the migration; clearing any faults found ensured that the new system would be fault free at the time of changeover. New voice alarm termination boxes were installed in each rack room and, initially, connected to the BVR20 system. Loudspeaker lines were fed through the new EVAS racks and re-terminated back onto the old, in preparation for the changeover. One by one, each circuit was disconnected to the correct circuit within minutes. This method, along with taking full advantage of the fact that the system is wired on a dual circuit basis, ensured that there was no system downtime throughout this complex site.
Prior to the final swap over, each building was tested with a local alert and evacuate message. At this point it was necessary to amend the messages as the client wished to have the existing old VA messages and not new versions. So, Baldwin Boxall’s engineer simply downloaded the existing messages from the old system then uploaded to the new. Then each local fire microphone was tested. This ensured a smooth transition when the final swap over took place.
Effective planning and efficient methods meant that the transition from old to new was carried out in an incredible 2.5 days – which really impressed Tri Management’s client.
On the building’s fibre network sit three touchscreen control stations at various locations within the site. At each station, it is possible to quickly view the system status, carry out local and site wide paging, broadcast messages and view various history logs. Two BVRD VA control microphones are also included which enable local and site wide paging, message control, emergency all call, music selection and volume control. Each building is an independent zone, with the ability to evacuate independently. During evacuation, occupiers of the other buildings are automatically advised, via pre-recorded messages, that an evacuation is underway.
At various locations throughout the buildings there are background music systems installed to provide radio, CD or MP3 audio whenever needed. Some areas also include wall mounted remote access points for local paging, background music inputs and volume control. There are ambient noise sensors installed to ensure that the system remains audible at all times. Especially important due to the potential for high background noise levels – should there be a need to evacuate a building. The remote access points can be used to communicate with evacuated staff to keep them informed of the situation.
As part of the site’s environmental procedures, the old BVR20 system has been completely recycled using the sites WEEE scheme.
Commenting, on the system Stuart Nichols, Director of Tri Management said, “We have been delighted with the outcome of this project. Our relationship with Baldwin Boxall’s team has ensured that the system was installed smoothly with no downtime whilst swapping from the old system to new, which was critical at such a vital site. If we needed assistance from Baldwin Boxall their response time was extremely good and we were impressed with their engineers’ ability to come up with solutions when needed.”
Nick Baldwin, Marketing Director for Baldwin Boxall, said “During the tour of the site I was most impressed with the installation, it is clear that Tri Management has taken great care when carrying out the work – it was one the most professional installations I have seen. It is obvious that Tri Management has carried out considerable planning prior to the swap over to ensure the end user was left with a system that fully met their requirements.”
Both Baldwin Boxall and Tri Management have had a working relationship for many years. Chris Hartup, Baldwin Boxall’s Sales Manager commented, “We have had a long and varied working relationship with Tri Management, and various members of the team, over a number of years. The benefit with this particular site, was the fact that Stuart Nicholls was involved with the very first Baldwin Boxall, VA network changeover at this site, around 13+ years ago, using our BVR20 electronic analogue router(s), utilising a graphic PC based message store (non critical messages), around multiple racks on site .
“This prior knowledge, along with detailed planning, meant all parties had a clear understanding of what was required with the proposed new system. Regular meetings were held by Tri Management, on site, ensuring the client, consultant and suppliers were aware of how the project was progressing, as well as ensuring all action points were raised and completed, subject to time frames, providing a very efficient and well run project. It is also worth noting that the VA network system was only part of the works that Tri Management completed on this site.
“The new system provides greater functionality and flexibility that the client requires, including additional touchscreen graphic PC & microphone enhancements, a rack mounted message store, ambient noise sensing and local music/mic switch panels for areas needing this requirement. A project of this complexity required a high level of planning and preparation on site, which Tri Management is very well known for, this meant the project was built, tested, installed and commissioned well before the project handover date.”

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