CDS acquires fire safety specialist in the South East with Wimbledon pedigree

CDS has acquired a fire alarm systems company in the South East of England–the first of a number of businesses it is buying as part of its ‘buy and build’ strategy.


Middlesex-based Powerpoint Fire Systems (Powerpoint), a Honeywell Notifier engineered systems distributor, has supplied a number of high-profile organisations with complex multi-panel systems over the years, with the All-England Tennis Club, home of Wimbledon, perhaps its best-known customer.

In addition to helping protect some of world’s most famous tennis players, it has worked with many other household names including Prudential Insurance, Galliford Try, Land Securities and FPD Savills.

Powerpoint specialises in large multi-panel systems, with clients ranging from hospitals to shopping centres, with services from concept design to installation, development and maintenance of systems.

The acquisition means CDS not only gains a foothold in the South East, but will also, through Powerpoint, be able to specify, install and maintain Honeywell Notifier systems. The acquisition complements CDS, a Honeywell Gent Elite Technology Centre and one of the longest serving Gent System Integrators, having been appointed in 2000.

Powerpoint’s co-founder and current Managing Director, Jan Poliszewski will continue to support CDS following the acquisition, offering his many years of expertise both with the Notifier system and his home counties client base.

CDS chairman Simon Cashmore said: “We aim to grow CDS in three ways – by broadening our geographical coverage, adding service capability and expanding our services in the compliance sector. The acquisition of Powerpoint allows us to both further broaden our geographic reach into the South East and enhance the group’s technical capability. Jan brings vast expertise in this very complex sector and an intimate knowledge of the fire safety requirements of some of the largest organisations in the region.”

Jan Poliszewski added: “I am delighted that Powerpoint is becoming part of the expanding CDS stable. Simon Cashmore and Simon Abley have an excellent track record in growing companies and I’m excited to be able to play a part in developing Powerpoint and building scale for CDS across the South East region.”

Simon Cashmore and Simon Abley, who acquired CDS in the summer of 2020, were the team behind outdoor services specialist TCL Group, growing the business 14-fold over 12 years before selling it in 2019. Its expansion was achieved through strategic acquisition of complementary companies with the aim of broadening both its geographical reach and service offerings. It was named one of the 1,000 Companies to Inspire Europe in 2017 by the London Stock Exchange.

Photo: “File:Centre Court Wimbledon 1.jpg” by Spiralz from England is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Waking Watch Relief Fund claimants could benefit from CDS evacuation technology

The launch of the government’s £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund will take the financial sting out of fire safety for tens of thousands of residents of high-rise apartment blocks across England.

And fire detection and life safety specialist CDS is already seeing a growth in calls for its expertise following January’s announcement that the government could foot the bill.

The fund will pay for technology to replace current foot patrols in eligible apartment blocks of more than 18 metres high while potentially unsafe cladding is replaced.

At the moment hundreds of such buildings are paying for round-the-clock in-person patrols to ensure residents can sleep soundly at night without fear of fire breaking out.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government-funded scheme will direct £22 million towards cities with the most high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding – London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol, Newcastle and Sheffield.

The remaining £8 million will be distributed elsewhere across England.

CDS has been heavily involved in designing, supplying, installing and maintaining complex fire safety detection systems in multi-storey residential blocks, many with numerous lifts, for several decades.

These include buildings for student, private rental and housing association tenants across the UK.

The Waking Watch Relief Fund’s launch now means those not yet protected with technologically advanced fire alarm systems may be able to dispense with costly foot patrols in favour of a safer state-of-the-art alternative.

The addition of a new piece of technology to the CDS arsenal will provide even greater confidence to high rise dwellers.

The new C-TEC EVAC-ALERT system, which helps the fire and rescue service evacuate all or part of a building in an emergency, complies with the new BS 8629:2019 standard which gives guidance on the type of evacuation system installed in high rise blocks.

Housed in a vandal-resistant locked cabinet for use only by the fire and rescue service, the control panel features an intuitive interface, bright LED indicators and easy-to-operate toggle switches for each evacuation zone.

For more information on fire safety systems which could be funded under the government’s new £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund contact CDS at or on 0116 275 0177.

Commercial property owners urged not to forget fire safety amidst Covid security focus

Commercial property fires have risen alarmingly since the start of the first coronavirus lockdown, according to insurance companies which have seen an increase in claims since March 2020.

PIB Insurance Brokers, which handles the insurance for fire detection and life safety specialist CDS, fears so much focus has been put on making premises Covid-secure that business owners have taken their eye off the fire safety ball.

It is reminding commercial operations of the importance of ensuring their fire risk assessments are up-to-date as they alter the layout of their buildings to facilitate Covid-safer working practices.

Russell Hatton from PIB Risk Management said: “Fire remains potentially the most dangerous and disruptive event that any business has to face. A significant amount of businesses simply never recover from the effects of a large fire. Under current regulations, most workplaces, premises and installations have a legal responsibility to carry out fire risk assessments.”

NFU Mutual, which reported a 46% rise between the start of the first lockdown and the end of July 2020, suggests that with so many other factors to be considered under the current pandemic, not least being staying afloat, fire safety may have taken a back seat.

Fire risk assessments are a legal requirement for all non-domestic premises under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) in England and Wales, as well as for the communal areas of residential buildings such as blocks of flats and sheltered housing complexes.

And while there is no specified time interval between FRAs, a new one does need to be carried out every time changes are made to the building. This includes measures many companies are making to ensure their working spaces are safe from a Covid viewpoint – such as altering desk layouts, installing partitioning, amending exit routes and moving fire meeting points.

Owners and facilities managers at premises containing a number of companies are being urged to contact tenants to see whether the changes they have made to their own units will impact the overall fire safety of the buildings they occupy.

While fire risk assessments can be carried out by the property owners, appointing a professional could be beneficial, particularly in complex or large buildings.

CDS has more than 30 years’ experience of providing such assessments to an extensive client base including universities, schools, hospitals, care homes, councils, police authorities, social housing providers, hotel chains, warehouses, distribution centres, factories and airports.

For more information on PIB Risk Management contact Russell Hatton at