OmniCare at Stratford Shopping Centre

Baldwin Boxall’s Marketing Director, Nick Baldwin, was recently given a tour behind the scenes at The Stratford City shopping centre. This was to view the OmniCare system which has been installed in the centre by PFS Group Limited. The visit revealed the scale of the project, just under two million square foot equates to a lot of space and the engineers from PFS Group Limited certainly wore down the shoe leather during the installation process!

The Westfield Stratford City is the largest urban shopping centre in Europe and consists of around 300 stores, 30 restaurants, hotels, casino, cinema .. and more. Approximately 27,000 people worked throughout the construction and the centre now employs around 10,500 people.

The System

Responsible for the design and manufacture of the disabled refuge system for Stratford City, Baldwin Boxall liaised closely with PFS Group Limited The OmniCare EVC system was chosen for the site partly because of the flexibility of the system and the fact that it is so reliable.

A front end control consisting of a graphical interface was requested as part of the system and, being part of the OmniCare range, two touchscreen GUIs were provided. The touchscreens are identical and are situated in different fire control areas. They are capable of controlling each area independently or on an ‘all call’ basis. There is no priority between the two units as they both operate on a ‘first come first served’ principle. They are fitted with prominent ‘busy’ indicators so that operators are aware if the other unit (or one of the ‘local control’ panels) is being used.

There are nine ‘local control’ panels providing independent control of specific areas within the site. As mentioned previously, should one of these panels be used, operators in the fire control area will be aware via the indication on the touchscreens.

On the loop-wired system are 125 disabled refuge remotes, 52 fire telephones and 3 combined (fire telephone and disabled refuge remote) units. The entire system is fully monitored and battery backed – should the mains power fail the system will remain available for 27 hours.

The system uses Baldwin Boxall’s digital audio and data network facility (BVRDNET) over copper cable and is linked to the fire alarm panel.

The Installation

The OmniCare system has been installed to a very high standard by PFS Group Limited – with as many as thirty engineers on occasions on the site. They began by installing the first of the nine independent control panels and relevant outstations to that panel. This was then repeated, one-by-one, until all nine were set up. The next stage involved linking all the systems together to form one large system. Baldwin Boxall then set up and commissioned the digital network.

At times, the OmniCare system was used by site engineers as a method of communication between areas – in preference to the usual methods – due to the size of the centre.

During Nick’s tour of the site, Andrew Cowen (Director of PFS Group Limited) spoke of the different aspects faced by his site team – such as the vast distances covered whilst installing the system, logistics of delivering equipment and the ever-changing requirements throughout the construction phase.

Andrew also commented on how his team all worked closely with Baldwin Boxall from conception through to completion. In particular, integral to the project delivery, were: Simon Ford (Contracts Manager), Scott Fisher (Contract FD&A Design) and Rob Lee (EVC Site Supervisor).

Simon oversaw the installation from the beginning and said “This is the largest project we have undertaken to date and whilst it had its challenges, we are very happy with the result. The system is spot on and Baldwin Boxall supported us every step of the way.”

Nick Baldwin commented “The PFS Group Limited engineers have done an excellent job and we look forward to working together on future projects”.

Chris Hartup, Sales Manager for Baldwin Boxall, added, “This was a great project for us, another one to add to the many prestigious sites we already have on our list. As with many of our customers, we have a great relationship with PFS Group Limited and are looking forward to the future. We are in an increasingly competitive market and need to work hard for each project, but, like PFS Group, there are many who support our UK designed and manufactured product ranges.”