Fire alarm system upgrade for Britain's oldest wine merchant

March 27th, 2017

The heritage of a 300 year old company with a colourful history of supplying wines for the Titanic, spirits to smugglers in a Prohibition-era America and sheltering Napoleon, is now better protected following a fire alarm system upgrade by Tecserv UK.

Berry Bros. & Rudd is Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant. Having traded from the same shop at 3 St James’s in London since 1698, the company very proudly holds two Royal Warrants for H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

The historic Cellars & The Townhouse at No. 3 St James’s is also the venue for wine schools, wine tastings, corporate entertaining and bespoke events.

The intricacies of the architecture, woodwork and brickwork of such an old building, coupled with the depth of two levels of cellars presented a number of interesting challenges to consider when implementing a workplace fire alarm system.   In order to ensure the safety and protection of a grade II listed building and its valuable contents, a high level of technical understanding and expertise was required.

As a BAFE accredited company, Tecserv UK had installed the existing fire alarm systems back in 2004. This install had followed an extensive survey and fire risk assessment to take account of the ability for radio frequencies to penetrate the thickness of brickwork as well as other risk factors such as the building use, aesthetics, access routes, and the value of items to be protected. As a result of this detailed assessment,  a hybrid fire alarm system encompassing both a wired analogue addressable fire alarms system and wireless fire alarm system was chosen.

In 2017, as a result of a number of new build extensions and recent renovations that had been done to the interior of the existing buildings, a review of the effectiveness of the fire alarm system was conducted.  This review also considered the impact of recent EU changes whereby the radio frequency over which fire alarm control panels and detectors receive a signal would change. Consequently, a decision was taken to implement a fire alarm system upgrade and replace the wireless fire alarm system with new technology as well as install the latest technology into the newly built areas.

During the refit, Tecserv had to re-locate a number of detectors and transmitters as well as ensure all equipment was fully integrated and could be monitored and controlled easily.

Commenting, Neil Fairclough, Berry Bros & Rudd Management Supervisor said, “We have enjoyed a superb working relationship with Tecserv and have found them to be very consultative in their approach. They have provided a proactive maintenance service over the years and their handling of our fire alarm system upgrade has been first class. They have also fully understood our need to maintain operations and minimise disruption to our business and have liaised accordingly with other contractors.”

Today Berry Bros & Rudd also has offices in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, a Wine School and an exclusive fine wine and dining venue in London’s St James’s, an online shop, and a wine warehouse in Basingstoke.