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Testing of an intelligent cladding fire detection system aiming to relieve pressure on those affected by the UK’s cladding crisis produced a much faster system response time than the controversial ‘waking watch’ system.

The intelliclad sensor system’s final test with the Fire Protection Association proved that its innovative approach could alert residents in the event of a fire faster than the waking watch system currently used at high-risk buildings across the UK.

Crucially, as the Government announces a £30 million ‘Waking Watch Relief Fund’ for building owners to install fire alarm systems , it also means a significantly lower cost is passed on to building owners and residents in order to provide protection.

Intelliclad sensors, created by Darron Brough and Mohammed Zulfiquar, would be integrated into the combustible external façadeof high-risk buildings whilst a permanent solution is found, saving residents thousands of pounds a month in waking watch bills and potentially saving lives.

Response times for waking watch services are between 10 and 15 minutes once a fire is confirmed within a flat, as per current NFCC guidance.

However, testing carried out on a specially constructed 10m wide and 9m high cladding rig at the Fire Service College’s national headquarters , showed intelliclad sensors were activated six minutes and 33 seconds prior to cladding being breached by fire on test 1 and 9 minutes, 47 seconds prior on test 2.

Using intelliclad’s smart system, this would have alerted all residents in a building of the fire via smartphone app before the fire had chance to take hold, as well as activating the building’s main fire alarm system which can be set up to notify the fire brigade.

Darron Brough said: “We are delighted with the performance of our sensors in what was a real watershed moment for us in this journey.

“The fact our sensors were activated a minimum of six minutes and 33 seconds prior to cladding being breached by a fire means that in a real-life situation, people living in an at risk building would be given valuable time to get themselves to safety. There is no other product that gives this level of fire detection to the external façade.

“We have put around three years and £500,000 of research and development investment into this and as scrutiny increases on waking watch services across the UK, we are now ready to step in and help those whose lives have been turned upside down by this scandal.”

Latest figures reveal that £12 million a month is being spent on waking watch patrols in London alone.

While this system sees staff continually patrolling all floors of a building and the outside to respond to a fire and assist in evacuating residents, each intelliclad sensor, which would be retrofitted to integrate into the cladding system of high-risk buildings, is connected to a control system that in the event of a fire can uniquely send an alert to all residents via a smartphone app.

It would also give residents and the fire service valuable information on the location and relative spread of fire across the building throughout the incident in real time.

There is much controversy surrounding the waking watch, which has recently been labelled a ‘national scandal’ and a ‘rip-off’ by Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick.

A number of stories have also appeared in recent months highlighting a lack of fire safety training for waking watch staff, as well as instances where they have fallen asleep or been caught watching tv, putting residents lives at risk.

PR by Reeves Public Relations agency in Birmingham and Newcastle

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