Retirement village - Solihull

Protecting ExtraCare’s Solihull Integrated Retirement Community

Account manager - Andy Barker

System installed - A fibre-based, converged system with resilience and flexibility built into its design from the ground up, featuring hundreds of individual edge devices

Details - We were appointed to design and install converged life safety, security and communications system that would allow disparate technologies to work reliably together through one common communication platform, creating a single unified solution.

Introduction

ExtraCare, a charitable trust offering modern and affordable independent living to seniors, commissioned TIS to design and install life saving smart protection systems for its Solihull integrated retirement community (IRC).

A vibrant IRC for the over 55s, the Solihull development offers residents a comfortable, homely environment but with an array of social and recreational activities to choose from.

The Challenge

TIS was appointed to design and install converged life safety, security and communications systems that would allow disparate technologies to work reliably together through one common communication platform, creating a single unified solution.

Adopting this design philosophy allowed the aggregation of systems, devices, and sensors which when combined, formed a ‘smart building’. This approach would provide ExtraCare with centralised control, administration and diagnostics due to all of the village’s systems being located on, and controlled via a single converged infrastructure.

The site is 12 stories high and houses 261 private apartments, parking places, communal areas and shared facilities such as: a village hall, library and IT suite, fitness suite, well-being lounge, general store, bistro and bar, residents’ lounge, hair salon, beauty salon, hobby room, games and craft rooms, enriched opportunities suite, fully accessible toilet facilities, laundry room, lifts, a greenhouse, and landscaped gardens.

Because of the site’s sheer size, the design required a vast array of technological functionality that could adequately protect residents. The variety of devices and systems then had to be seamlessly integrated and backed up to provide resilience, quick fault diagnosis and repair, and eight hours of system autonomy in the event of power failure.

Additionally, a primary driver of the design approach was the requirement for ExtraCare staff and residents to easily access the technology installed within the building. Simplifying the complicated and putting it in the palm of the users’ hands was essential. Installed systems needed to be accessible by smartphone, and remote connection from outside the IRC would also be required.

How we did it

This was our seventh IRC project with ExtraCare so we already had an in-depth understanding of the client’s and project’s likely demands and requirements early on, making design and implementation more streamlined and efficient.

Our Head of Design led the entire project from initial concept discussions through to complete system design. We ensured legislative and statutory compliance and adhered to all applicable British standards while also taking into account the budgetary constraints of the project.

Our site managers and multi-disciplined engineers then installed a robust and reliable, smart protection and communications system that would provide peace of mind for residents and staff. The installed systems were designed to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible, giving ExtraCare staff and residents confidence in their ability to navigate the systems.

Because of our extensive experience working on other IRC’s, having worked in this sector for well over a decade, this project proved to be one of our least problematic developments, delivered on time and to the required budget and specifications.

What we delivered

Future-proofed for years to come, we installed a fibre-based, converged system with resilience and flexibility built into its design from the ground up, featuring hundreds of individual edge devices such as: site-wide wi-fi, CCTV cameras, telephones, door entry panels, access control panels, door monitoring devices, panic alarms, fire alarms, IRS (TV, Satellite & FM), emergency call units, and smartphones - all of which is accessible by staff through their Android smartphone devices.

By using more fibre cabling and significantly less copper, we were able to reduce the system’s energy needs as well as its carbon footprint, making it cheaper to run and more environmentally sustainable.

Additionally, as a result of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we installed a series of security devices that made implementing and managing Covid-potection measures easier for staff. For example, touch free access and egress via face recognition for staff and residents, and voice activated entry for visitors. Further preventative measures were made available with mask detection and body temperature scanning.

Ultimately, by helping ExtraCare solidify its reputation of being a safe, compliant IRC we were able to help them maintain their position within the IRC sector, and make their offering a more attractive prospect to customers and increase the saleability of units.

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