In 2014, The University of Essex celebrated its 50th anniversary. Over the past five decades it has become one of the UK's leading academic institutions. The University first opened its doors in 1964 to just 122 students. Today, it is one of the top five universities in the UK for research in social sciences, 6th for student satisfaction (NSS) among mainstream English universities and 3rd in the UK in the Times' "Higher Education 100 Under 50".
The University of Essex is constantly expanding. To provide accommodation for its growing number of postgraduate and undergraduate students, a new 540 bedroom student accommodation project known as The Meadows was commissioned. The new building opened in time for the 2013-14 academic year. The ultra-modern development consists of town houses arranged into flats with shared kitchens and bathrooms, as well as cluster flats with en suite facilities.
In order to provide a safe and secure environment for the students residing at The Meadows, building contractor Bouygues required the design and installation of a comprehensive fire alarm and security system to include CCTV, access control and intruder alarm systems. To aid students in their studies and to provide them with entertainment during their free time, a community satellite installation was also required.
WLS supplied a complete TV/FM and DAB distribution system to CAI certification. The system provides viewing of different channels on Freeview, FM and DAB throughout the new development’s 540 bedrooms, communal kitchens and living areas. First fix infrastructure was provided by INEO, with WLS engineers completing the installation of the aerial and IRS distribution system.
An array of high-resolution external and internal true day/night CCTV cameras were provided to allow monitoring and recording of all activity around the building and give early warning of intrusion attempts and malicious activity. An easy to use Windows operating system was provided along with adequate storage to allow HD quality images to be stored for up to 31 days. The comprehensive CCTV installation also facilitates the ability to control, monitor and program the CCTV remotely, from a central security room or even off site.
A Paxton access control system was installed in order to restrict access to the building through specific external and internal gates and doors, providing a flexible but highly secure environment for staff, residents and visitors. The access control system also allows the setting up of door control time zones, so that staff, students, cleaning contractors etc. can be granted access to controlled areas on defined days and times only. It also allows different access levels, so some cards can allow access to all areas and others less.
Our engineers installed an NSI approved Honeywell intruder alarm system compliant with DD243, PD6662 and EN 50131-1 2004 standards. Various detection devices, including magnetic door contacts, panic buttons and dual technology movement detectors were installed to provide a complete intruder detection system. Control and monitoring of the alarm systems is possible using local keypads installed in each area as well as in the main security offices.
West London Security designed and installed two separate fire alarm systems to cover all areas of the new development; one in the cluster blocks of flats, to category L5, and the other in the town houses and pavilion to category L2. Various detection devices, sounders, beacons and call points were installed to provide a complete fire detection system with 24 hours back-up battery facility and 30 minute sounder operation.
The University of Essex and its resident students can now benefit from the safe and secure environment provided by the new development at The Meadows. Security staff can control and monitor access to the student accommodation building and will be given the earliest possible warning of unauthorised intrusion or threat of fire.
Students can also make use of West London Security’s extensive satellite installation, to aid them in their studies and provide entertainment in their free time.
Speaking about the important work West London Security carried out at The Meadows, Accommodation Manager Kim Norrel said, "I have always found West London Security staff to be reliable, very knowledgeable, helpful and friendly".
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