WLS has taken over the entire fire maintenance of the UK’s largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market.

New Covent Garden Market, located in Nine Elms in London, covers 57 acres and is home to roughly 200 fruit, vegetable and flower suppliers. Hundreds of restaurants, hotels, caterers, schools and hospitals in the capital source fresh ingredients from this historic spot and up to 75% of the UK’s florists visit weekly. A hive of activity, it’s a colourful hub that brings together a community of suppliers, providing the very best of what London has to offer.

The market dates back originally to medieval times when the Abbey of Westminster owned the ‘Convent Garden’ from which surplus produce was sold to Londoners near to The Strand. The market grew in size and reputation, becoming a regular occurrence and in 1670 Charles II granted a charter to the Earl of Bedford to formally hold a market there. Eventually, the government recognised the public sector would need to be involved to modernise the market and therefore, in 1961 Covent Garden Market Authority was established.

The New Covent Garden Market site opened in 1974, with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh attending the formal ceremony in 1975, the site has continued to grow in size and reputation. Renowned across the UK, it’s a must-visit for suppliers. As part of the site’s regeneration project, the WLS team have undertaken the fire maintenance of this historical site, delighted to be part of securing the market’s future.

Foot traffic is high for the market, with thousands of visitors entering on a daily basis (did you know the main entrance is open for 24 hours of the day!). For any size site, fire safety is of the very utmost importance but for such a large space, the system in place needs to be maintained regularly to ensure that should a fire break out, it is quickly detected.

Why not take a visit? For those entering on foot, there is no fee and it is certainly an exciting sight to behold and you’ll meet hundreds of suppliers that have been selling on the site for over 40 years.

new covent garden market

Scope of works for New Covent Garden Market

The site’s fire maintenance has been completely taken over by the WLS team. But, what does this include?

  • Gent Fire Alarm systems will be tested weekly by our team, ensuring the system is effectively detecting any threats. With a site so large and frequented by so many, any faults need to be identified before they cause a major issue.
  • We utilise Gent Panels to maintain the commercial fire alarm systems across the entire site. These allow our engineers to identify exactly where an issue is should testing reveal a fault – the most comprehensive panel on the market, Gent is a high-quality, sophisticated control panel for any site.
  • It is now a legal requirement that all sites provide a ‘safe’ refuge area for disabled people that are unable to evacuate using the dedicated escape routes. Disabled Refuge units are two-way communication systems, and if not regularly tested, a major issue may not be revealed which could have serious consequences.
  • Fire interfaces connect up the fire detection system with fire response equipment, this may include sprinklers, sounds and alarms. Our engineers have linked these systems and regular tests to ensure all is acting as it should be, ready to jump into gear should a fire be identified.
  • If a fault is found with the panels, our engineers are equipped to replace and repair the system as required. When an issue is found, it’s important this is resolved as quickly as possible and having a dedicated fire support company can ensure you are not waiting around for a fix.
  • Fire alarm remedials such as replacement heads, call points and interfaces are also included in the maintenance of the market. Ultimately, this ensures the system is functioning correctly, but it also improves the overall life span of the site’s fire alarm system too.

Fire alarm maintenance is often overlooked but is crucial to the safety of your site. Should a fire break out, you need to know you can rely on your system to identify the threat and raise a suitable response. As the top fire alarm system maintenance provider in the South, the New Covent Garden Market team could rest assured of our ability to meet their requirements.

Performing a risk assessment and understanding the fire control system in place, we were able to create a full package, completely tailored to the site.

Whether it’s a small personal property or a large-scale site such as New Covent Garden Market, the WLS team can create a unique maintenance package to suit you.

Read more from WLS on fire alarm safety and maintenance:

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