Increasing Demand For Security & Fire Safety Systems
Safety First For The Smart Contractor
…it important for contractors to stay ahead of the emerging trends so they can offer customers the choice of the latest technologies
Amid mounting legislation, building regulation changes and increasingly over-cautious homeowners, safety is paramount for the electrical contractor. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of technological advances, not just with the obvious indoor safety products, such as fire and alarm systems, but also focusing on increasingly demand for outdoor security systems. Only then can a comprehensive solution be achieved.
Reforms in Fire Safety
Fire alarm systems have been going through a period of significant change over the past couple of years. This has been mainly driven by the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and changes to the British Standards, which make it a requirement for both companies and personnel working within the fire industry to be not only competent but be able to prove this competence.
Bi-Wire Fire Alrm Systems Save Time & Cabling
Fast-becoming the primary choice in fire alarms, the latest range of two wire systems are based on standard conventional system technology, but also incorporate the additional functionality to enable both the detectors and the sounders for each zone to be wired on a single common circuit. Unlike traditional options which require separate dedicated circuits and can be extremely complex, this innovative fire safety product, commonly referred to as a bi-wire system, allow detection devices and sounders to be wired on the same two core cable.
Even though the panel continually powers the sounders, the additional control functionality within each one enables them to be activated only in the event of a fire alarm condition. By combining the detection and alarm annunciation wiring into a single circuit, both time and cabling can be greatly reduced. Although adding bi-wire technology to the detectors and sounders slightly increases equipment outlay, this is normally more than offset by savings in installation, resulting in a reduced total cost.
Technological Changes in Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors have also seen a period of transition. Ionisation smoke detectors, the once favoured option, are slowly being phased out in accordance with The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and WEEE regulations. Photoelectric smoke detectors offer the ideal alternative and these are activated when light from a pulsating light source is reflected off the smoke particles onto a light sensor, triggering the alarm. These smoke detectors are particularly well suited to detecting slow-burning, smouldering fires that produce smoke with large particles and these have been taking over from the ionisation models for some time.
Self Check Detection Devices Improve System Integrity
In addition, self check detection devices are new to the market. These work like ordinary conventional detectors but incorporate additional circuitry to constantly monitor their own status and raise an alarm, both locally and at the fire panel in the event of a fault. With traditional systems, the monitoring element is within the control panel, this checks that all detectors are in place and the wiring is intact, however they do not verify that the detectors are actually working. The new self check range of detectors constantly monitor themselves and raise an alarm in the event of failure, greatly enhancing the integrity of conventional fire alarm systems.
Addressable Analogue Systems Offer Point Identification
For a more advanced option, which incorporates similar technology to the bi-wire method, addressable analogue systems offer point identification. This reduces search time, detection devices, sounders, repeater fire alarm panels, and an array of modules all connected on two wires in a loop configuration giving optimum integrity. With these systems you can generally connect up to 125 devices per loop, however this is dependant on the panel manufacturer, as some systems can exceed this number. Most addressable systems can also be networked and, in some cases, this can be advantageous in reducing cabling and system integrity.
Demand in Security Products to Combat Crime
These products take care of fire safety but when it comes to security, more domestic and commercial users require sophisticated solutions. This is even more pertinent in the current social environment, as crime figures continue to rise as the recession bites. In fact, official statistics from the start of the year show an unexpected 25 per cent surge in personal thefts and a four per cent increase in burglaries, therefore CCTV has become an ever-more wise investment.
CCTV Technology is Cost Effective
Again, there has been an explosion of products designed to meet this demand. Ideal for use in both domestic and commercial settings, the latest generation of DVR kits utilise the new CCTV technology. Combining an LCD screen with a high capacity digital recorder to allow both viewing and recording in a single, stylish space saving unit.
Many of these kits boast triplex capability allowing full screen recording of every channel, historical viewing and network capability for remote access simultaneously. Additional benefits include a number of recording options, as well as an integral motion detector and even an email alert facility automatically triggered when the system is connected to the live network. This can prove to be a cost-effective tool against crime, particularly for landlords and public housing associations which are typically subject to fluctuating tenancy levels.
Knowledge of Fire & Security Products Can Prove Profitable
Safety remains paramount, in both domestic and commercial premises. Consequently demand for fire safety and security products continues to grow. In order to capitalise on this, it important for contractors to stay ahead of the emerging trends so they can offer customers the choice of the latest technologies. As well as enjoying the additional profit and competitive edge this will bring, contractors can rest soundly knowing they have helped customers achieve optimum safety and security.