Dublin City University

  • 06 Dec 2013 11:05
DCU and G4S Fire Systems: A Solid Partnership

In a campus complex of nearly 50 buildings, G4S Fire Systems has created a comprehensive and efficient fire safety system that meets the multifaceted requirements of one of Ireland’s top universities.

Dublin City University’s (DCU) campus extends across 46 buildings, playing host to over 12,000 students. The extensive campus also features several food outlets, sports facilities, a performing arts theatre, chemistry and biology laboratories, a 25m swimming pool and a multi-storey car park. The university also houses 1,500 students in dedicated accommodation. The remit for this contract is broad and varied, featuring multiple buildings with varying uses, according to Liam O’Reilly of DCU.

Overseeing such a wide-ranging contract is an ongoing challenge. However, a complete package from G4S Fire Systems, including the provision of fire detection and suppression systems, installing the systems, providing on-going quarterly maintenance and equipment certification, means Liam and his team have peace of mind knowing their fire security system is well-managed and operating at optimal levels.

Interconnected systems offer wide-ranging protection

As well as a wide range of fire detection and fire suppression systems, G4S Fire Systems also provides DCU with a number of specialist products. “In several of our laboratories throughout the campus, the oxygen levels need to be constantly monitored. G4S Fire Systems installed O2 depletion alarms, which react if the oxygen levels drop to a certain range,” explains Liam. “We also have some expensive equipment stored in numerous buildings around the college. This equipment is protected against the elements by sophisticated leak detection systems from G4S.” Both the O2 depletion alarms and the leak detection systems connect into a central fire alarm system, which is monitored in-house by DCU. Other equipment too is linked in with the fire alarm system, including all lifts, HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning) and access control systems. “G4S liaise with other specialist contractors and handle the interface between all the systems very well. It’s a complex system that’s all interconnected. If a fire does occur, G4S makes sure all the systems work in tandem, freeing up access control and shutting off lifts to affected areas, for example,” says Liam.

Ongoing certification ensures legal compliance

A key legal requirement for DCU is ensuring all its fire safety equipment, including the O2 depletion alarms and leak detection systems, is certified. Because there are essentially 46 systems within the campus, G4S divides the university into three. Each month G4S tests a different third of the campus. “The advantage with this arrangement is twofold,” says Liam. “Crucially, this rolling schedule means we constantly have systems in certification. It also means we get a visit from a G4S engineer every four to five weeks. If we have any minor faults while they’re on site, they will always investigate these for us.”

High level of service and expertise delivers key benefits

Liam knows too that if he requires immediate service, G4S engineers will respond within an hour. “We’re dealing with what is essentially a life safety system, so that level of service is crucial.” As well as responding to call-outs, Liam is impressed by the expertise of G4S engineers. “We have quarterly review meetings with the guys where we discuss our requirements and any progressive works we might be looking at. The feedback and technical knowledge that G4S bring to us in these meetings is excellent,” says Liam. “G4S are very proactive at keeping us up to date on any developments. For example, recently, a system we use was being taken off the market by the manufacturer. G4S made us aware of this decision immediately, which gave us two to three years to research and source a new system.” According to Liam, the dedication of the G4S engineers is exceptional. “The G4S team really buy in to what we’re trying to do here. For them, it’s not just a ‘tick the box’ exercise. They are invested in the systems they’ve installed here and this is what makes their service levels stand out.”

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