Balliol College was established in 1263, is one of Oxford University’s oldest and largest colleges. Paul Mulford, Clerk of Works for the college, commented, “Balliol’s age requires the fire alarm installation to be sensitive to the buildings’ fabric and aesthetics. Aside from bringing our fire detection bang up to date, the new fire alarm is zoned so, if activated, it will only sound in affected areas.”
The college’s 23 staircases, off which student and staff accommodation is located, incorporate fire doors and emergency evacuation hatches which are normally locked. In the event of a fire, the alarm system’s ‘cause and effect’ programming will trigger localized alarms and the release of doors and hatches necessary for safe evacuation.
Robert Bruce, Director of Chris Lewis Fire & Security’s Oxford branch, added, “One of the challenges of this fire system upgrade is the need to maintain the integrity of the existing fire alarm while we install the new system. Balliol is also extremely busy throughout the year, so our engineering team has had to work very efficiently, syncronizing the installation with gaps in the college’s diary.”
The college building’s have presented other challenges for the Chris Lewis Fire & Security team. When the alarm was upgraded in Balliol's Great Hall, the engineers had to erect a six story scaffolding tower to reach smoke detectors mounted on the ceiling. The timeframe for this work, when the hall was not being used by the college, was limited and so rare that Balliol’s own facilities team also took the opportunity to inspect the roof timbers for the first time in 75 years.
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About Chris Lewis Fire & Security
Chris Lewis Fire & Security is a leader in innovative secrity and fire alarm solutions. With branches in Oxford, Southampton, Bournemouth and London, they are recognised as the number one provider of security and fire prevention installations for domestic and commercial premises across the South of England.
The guiding principles on which Chris Lewis Fire & Security is founded are to deliver systems that are unique to each customer’s specific requirements, and to exceed customers' expectations in terms of standards of workmanship and quality of service.