Thursday, March 2, 2017

Get a safe night’s sleep

I’m Simon Adams, Business Manager at Gent by Honeywell, and in this blog I identify the key considerations when it comes to fire detection in hotels, outline the standards that must be adhered to, and explain the importance of a comprehensive risk assessment.

It stands to reason that providing adequate fire detection within hotels shouldn't be ignored and those that fail to do so not only put people in danger, but also risk being put out of business. In 2015, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) secured the biggest fine ever against a private individual when the former owner of The Radnor Hotel in Bayswater, Salim Patel, was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £29,922 court costs after pleading guilty to seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO).


The ultimate consequence of such ignorance was borne out in 2007 at the Penhallow Hotel in Newquay, when a blaze killed three people and was described as the most deadly hotel fire in the UK for nearly 40 years. The owners were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £62,000 costs for failing to meet fire safety standards and not maintaining the building’s fire detection system.


Needless to say, anything and everything possible should be done to keep guests and staff safe, so when provisioning a life safety solution conducting a formal risk assessment is a fundamental first step. There are no hard and fast rules as to how fire risk assessments should be carried out, as every organisation is unique and may require a slightly different approach. However, it’s important that they are carried out systematically and the aim should always be to reduce the risks as much as is 'reasonably practicable'.


There are a number of important pieces of legislation to consider including The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which contain a consistent set of requirements. Employers also have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. When it comes to the dangers associated specifically with fire, the RRFSO makes it mandatory for a dedicated ‘responsible person’ to ensure that premises are risk assessed and that any installed life safety equipment is fully maintained and fit for purpose.


Building Regulations Approved Document M section 4.4 states that, ‘A proportion of the sleeping accommodation in hotels, motels and student accommodation should be designed for independent use by wheelchair users. The remainder should include facilities that make them suitable for people who do not use a wheelchair, but may have mobility sensory, dexterity or learning difficulties.’ Furthermore, in order to comply with the Equality Act, all rooms must be fitted with fire detection technology that can provide disabled guests with an appropriate audio and visual warning. The British Standards Institute (BSI) introduced EN 54-23 in order to set stricter guidelines on the installation and performance requirements of visual alarm devices (VADs).


Those unfortunate enough to have had to evacuate a hotel in the middle of the night due to an unwanted alarm will understand the disruption and dissatisfaction that it can cause. In addition to the unnecessary intervention of personnel and the costs of having the fire and rescue services attend, the loss of revenue, wasted food in restaurants and reputational damage should not be underestimated.


Gent’s S-Quad is a great example of technology that enables hotel owners and managers to avoid such events occurring. S-Quad was the first intelligent loop powered multifunctional device to include a sensor, sounder, speech and visual alarm, and it has developed an enviable reputation for its ability to prevent unwanted alarms. Incorporating four separate sensing elements – heat, carbon monoxide, and dual angle optical forward and backward scatter, S-Quad combines local processing in the sensor and the panel to achieve an immediate response to genuine fires.


Siting detectors should also be given careful consideration and BS 5839 states that detectors should be placed no less than 0.5m from a wall. It’s not just detectors that need to be carefully sited though – sounders should achieve 65dB in all areas of the building and in areas where people are sleeping the sound level needs to be 75dB at the bed-head. To achieve this level with only sounders in a hotel corridor, the sounder needs to be set at 105db to be heard in the bedroom. I would like to offer a word of advice at this point – this method results in considerable current consumption and installing the sounder in the bedroom set at a lower sound pressure is a more efficient design.


In the event of a fire, alerting and evacuating all parties at risk in good time has to be given the highest priority, so technology is needed that guarantees rapid, reliable fire detection and activates both the alarm devices and the relevant fire control installations. There’s a range of information available on this issue, so there really are no excuses for not doing everything possible to keep people safe.




Gent by Honeywell



the biggest fine ever against a private individual


Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO)



a blaze killed three people



conducting a formal risk assessment



'reasonably practicable'



The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations



Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974



Building Regulations Approved Document M



Equality Act



EN 54-23






BS 5839



a range of information available


Monday, October 31, 2016


This month we talk to Paul Preston, Sales Support Team Leader at Gent by Honeywell.  Paul talks to us about his role within the team.

1.  What is your role at Gent by Honeywell?  
I started off as an apprentice 29 years ago at Gent, and in that time I have experienced many parts of the business.  Today, I manage a busy team of eight within the sales support team. The team collectively work on managing site surveys, project pricing, and product design. 
I’ve managed the team for the last two years and I’m responsible for ensuring that the correct team member with the best skill set manages the incoming enquiry whether it be Voice, Fire, ASD or disabled refuge.

2.  What do you your enjoy most in your role?   

Each day is different at Gent, and my team thrive in ensuring that standards are met and all urgent enquiries are dealt with within the allocated timeframe.

3. What has been your favourite project so far? 
There are too many projects to mention...  Over the last few years, we have seen the biggest growth within aspirating.  More and more site surveys are carried out within large warehouses.  We help with the initial design and see the final installation.  Also, historic buildings are always a pleasure to visit.  It is important that the fire protection is subtle in its presence and effective in those environments.

With all of the projects, it is essential that we work closely with the Systems Integrators and ensure that all the boxes are ticked.  We field a lot of enquiries from the SIs and it is important that our relationship with them is solid... we as a team have grown along with the SIs.

4. What challenges do you face in your role?  

Timescale on projects are short and it is important that we deliver quickly and effectively.  As the team leader, it is essential that I ensure we have the correct resources available.

5. How do you see the industry changing over the next five years? 

Gent thrives on delivering industry firsts and we will see more and more of this over the next few years. Apps, videos and websites helped with the bigger picture and over the next few years I can see Gent remain being technology driven and focused as we approach a new decade.

Friday, September 30, 2016


Simon Foulkes, Product Owner at Gent by Honeywell recently celebrated his 25 year anniversary at Gent, here he tells us a little bit more about his role and the industry on a whole.

1.  What is your role at Gent by Honeywell?    

Currently, I am a product owner, but when I started at Gent in 1991 I worked as a Project Manager and was responsible for Gent installations in the East Midlands.  I have seen the full life-cycle of what happens from both a product and products viewpoints.

2.  What do you your enjoy most in your role?  

Buildings are my passion.   I really enjoy being out and about and troubleshooting any issues that may arise.

3. What has been your favourite project so far?

Working on the S-Quad range has been great.  S-Quad encompasses industry-leading technology and is ideal for providing a safe and effective alarm system with simple compliance with the needs of the Equality Act 2010.

I also like the range as it offers cost savings and features less cabling as it encompasses four separate functions in one device – sensor, sounder, strobe, and speech.

4. What challenges do you face in your role?

Just fitting everything into one day is one of the challenges.  I provide a pivotal role, where I feed out information and I get requests frequently and unexpectantly.

5. How do you see the industry changing over the next five years?

I personally feel that that fire industry has been slow paced compared to other sectors.    Connected systems will continue to break into everyday life and it would be essential for Gent to continue to provide innovative technological solutions to meet the needs of customers both today and into the future landscape.

Apps will be a big player in this transformation.    We are on the edge of rapid change and exciting times lie ahead for the industry and for Gent by Honeywell.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Train to Gain!

I’m Donald McFarlane, UK & Ireland Business Leader at Gent by Honeywell, and in this blog, I’d like to explain why we are committed to offering our Systems Integrators the kind of high-quality training that ensures end users get the best out of our innovative hardware and software solutions.

Given the vital role that life safety equipment plays in protecting people, property and assets, the fact that someone can install these products without having undertaken specialist manufacturer training is something of a concern. What’s more, even if training has been completed in the past, the fast moving nature of standards and technology means that these skills and knowledge can soon become out-dated.

It is imperative that installers keep up-to-date with best practice and current standards. For the end user, this could be the difference between getting a high quality designed, installed and certified system, or something that does not live up to their expectations. More seriously, it means that those who the system is supposed to protect could be exposed to danger if it doesn't work properly when needed.

Gent does all it can to make sure that end users benefit from the type of expertise they expect and deserve. When taking on Systems Integrators, product is not supplied to them until relevant training has been taken and qualifications gained. Then, and only then, do they get access to the software tool needed to commission a particular system.

This means that their knowledge is as relevant as possible and guarantees the customer a level of quality that is not found elsewhere. Similarly, when it comes to technical support, Gent has put measures in place so that technical support is only provided to engineers up to the level they are trained to. The aim is to have only fully trained engineers on-site – giving end users ultimate peace of mind.

Allowing end users to make informed decisions about who they choose to install life safety technology is vital. On the Gent website Systems Integrator search facility, a system of icons is used to provide an easy way to ascertain whether a company has the requisite skills and qualifications needed for a particular project. When a company achieves an advanced level of training, it gets a specific icon next to its details, something that has proven highly successful and also means that integrators are only contacted about projects they are suited to.

Furthermore, a commitment to developing open protocol products and solutions means that end users have the flexibility to use an integrator of their choice, without being ‘locked in’ to onerous contracts with an individual supplier who is not offering them the level of service and support they require. It ensures a level competitive choice and quality assurance that should not be underestimated.

Gent has been focused on working with quality System Integrators for many years and last year marked the 15th anniversary of the pioneering Gent 24 network of Approved System Integrators. Since its launch in 2000, it has set the benchmark for excellence within the fire detection and alarm sector and now boasts over 90 partners, all of which operate at the pinnacle of their profession. Now considered the industry’s ultimate badge of quality, companies that form the Gent 24 Network are all trained and approved.

The training Gent provides is free of charge and while initial courses are practical ‘hands-on’ events, refresher courses and those that deal with niche subjects are online. Courses are fully certified and integrators are able to provide evidence of their skills to their customers. Looking ahead, the company is looking to take this concept to the next level by introducing cards to prove that an individual can work on Gent systems and to what level. Watch this space.

Gent by Honeywell

life safety equipment

high quality designed, installed and certified system

Gent website systems integrator search facility

Open protocol products and solutions


Gent 24

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Learn more about Stuart M Morley, Customer & Technical Services Manager at Gent by Honeywell.  Stuart is answering the questions in our third instalment in our #GetToKnowGent series.

1. What is your role at Gent?    

Customer and Technical Services Manager (Technical & Customer service, Training and sales support)

2. What do you your enjoy most in your role?

The variety.  No two days are the same for me. I have the opportunity to work with customers - from end users to consultants, to system integrators.  I also contribute to the development of internal staff and aid in the processes to deliver and shape fantastic services to our customer base.

3. What has been your favourite project so far?

I have many favourite projects.  Standing at a total size of 1,227 hectares, Heathrow Airport certainly stands out for me.  There are an enormous amount of challenges with working in a live airport terminal; there is only a small window of opportunity to carry out the required work to avoid disruption to the estimated 201,000 daily passengers that arrive and depart.

I also enjoyed working on the new Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.  I was involved from the start up until final handover.  This duration lasted for a total of three years, In that time I undertook the role of Program Manager for the development of the control panel, then I worked alongside the System Integrator on the project management side to ensure than internal staff were trained and able to give their full support to the project.  

4. What challenges do you face in your role?

Like all job roles, there are new challenges every day.  From technical issues with a product, through to dealing with a manufacturing or shipment issue.  What we always ensure is our first class customer service and delivery doesn’t get compensated toward our customers.

5. How do you see the industry changing over the next five years?

I think the fire industry is catching on bringing technology to its forefront.  I would predict that the Software As A Service (SAAS) would pay a big part of that growth in the coming years and people expectations on services that HSF provide.  I see the support that HSF will be strengthened and improved over the next few years.

The expectation of the fire alarm today is expected to deliver more than detecting fires.  Systems are expected to monitor a wide range of other systems and control output to manage these along with manage and control data through BacNet and any other universal data management systems.




Heathrow Airport:



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Making sense of digital addressable fire detection

I’m Simon Foulkes, Product Owner at Gent by Honeywell, and in this blog I’d aim to debunk the myth that fire detection systems that are marketed as digital addressable are in any way superior, or indeed different, to analogue addressable. 

We in the life safety industry have become familiar with the term ‘digital addressable’, which is increasingly used by certain vendors as a way to describe their fire detection systems. The problem is that in some cases this has led to a situation where integrators, consultants and end users are led to believe that digital addressable is a separate and distinct technology set to analogue addressable – not so!

We live in a digital age and therefore anything that uses this particular adjective to describe itself is automatically considered modern and state-of-the-art. Conversely, the word ‘analogue’ can be perceived as slightly old fashioned - when in fact all addressable systems use a combination of analogue and digital communication.

Here comes the science bit….   

All analogue addressable fire detection systems are hybrids of analogue and digital technology. Smoke and heat detectors use analogue sensing technology to monitor the build up of heat and smoke activity in a chamber and, effectively, take a picture of what is happening. This analogue data is then converted into a digital format for transmission to the control panel.

The signal sent to the control panel has to be digitised in order to turn it to a binary code that the processor understands, as control panels require digital signals rather than analogue signals. The bottom line here is that all existing analogue addressable systems are digital addressable too and this is the case whether they are open or closed protocol.

There’s no easy way of putting it ­– anyone who assumes they are getting a superior product simply because it is described as digital addressable is misinformed. The truth is that all analogue addressable systems use digital processing as part of their operating system. 

Therefore, just because a company doesn't market its fire detection systems as digital addressable, don't think that the technology it uses is inferior. There are many other more important factors to consider when making a purchasing decision such as detector chamber design, the software that it uses to make an alarm decision, and how the software filters are able to interpret a fire situation and therefore reduce the possibility of unwanted alarms.
My advice is to remember the phrase caveat emptor – ‘let the buyer beware’.

Gent by Honeywell

analogue addressable

sensing technology

open or closed protocol
detector chamber design
reduce the possibility of unwanted alarms

caveat emptor

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Welcome to the second in our series of Q&As with the team at Gent by Honeywell.  

This month Brian Lawless, Central Battery Systems Sales Support Engineer is in the hot seat and tells us a little bit more about his role within the team.

1.  What is your role at Gent by Honeywell?    
I am responsible for aspects of the emergency lighting central battery business for Gent by Honeywell within the UK.  I have worked within Honeywell for over 25 years.  In that time, I have seen all the positive changes that have happened to the company.  I even remember when the Gent 24 Approved Network was launched back in 2000 and it has been wonderful to see the Network go from strength to strength.

2.  What do you your enjoy most in your role?  

The role brings a variety of responsibilities, which I enjoy. On a typical day, I could be working on providing quotations against customer specifications or doing a site survey with a view to providing the site’s emergency power central battery system. On another day, I could be presenting our certified CPD on Central Battery Systems to specifiers or consultants.

3.  Where are central battery systems used?

They are used in all types of buildings including hospitals, universities, office blocks, town halls, schools, care homes, and warehouses.  The CPD examines the applications that central supply systems can be used for, along with information on the components, wiring and testing requirements in accordance to BSEN50171:2001.

4.  What challenges do you face in your role?  

I’ve experienced many challenges within the role.  I ensure that the system is manufactured when required and ensure that the charger and the battery are delivered when expected by the customer. 

My role also includes working with the installer to ensure that they are aware of all the likely issues they will encounter, the main objective for me is for the end customer to have a problem free installation with their emergency lighting central battery system.  

5.  How do you see the industry changing over the next five years? 

The LED lighting market is expected to continue to experience significant growth as the new technology further penetrates the lighting market. By 2020, it is expected that the LED share will be 60% of all general lighting.   This will result in smaller loadings being required hence making the break in point at which central battery systems will be viable over self-contained to be for smaller buildings. 

More details on the Central Battery Systems CPD can be found here.