CDS joins government’s Disability Confident scheme

Fire detection and life safety specialist CDS has joined a government scheme aimed at encouraging employers to recruit and retain disabled people and those with health conditions.

Around 18,000 UK businesses are already signed up to Disability Confident, which is run by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Business leaders from some of the country’s most high-profile companies, including Channel 4, BT, GlaxoSmithKline, Network Rail and Sainsbury’s are working alongside the DWP to ensure it meets the needs of businesses and disabled people.

CDS has joined fellow scheme members in signing up to five ‘commitments’ which include ensuring an inclusive recruitment process; offering interviews to disabled people who meet the minimum job criteria; providing ‘reasonable adjustments’ and supporting existing colleagues who acquires a disability or long-term health condition.

CDS managing director Simon Abley said: “We’re very pleased to be part of the Disability Confident scheme and to committing to remove barriers which might prevent disabled people and those with long term health conditions from working with us.

“The scheme is mutually beneficial.  As well as ensuring equality of opportunity for disabled people, it means we have access to a wider pool of talent and can hold onto valuable skills and experience. It also improves staff morale by showing we’re committed to treating all employees fairly. We look forward to playing our part in positively changing attitudes, behaviours and cultures in the world at large.”

CDS and fellow Disability Confident members are entitled to attend webinars and conferences led by business leaders and experts on key disability employment topics and will be offered information, support and guidance on disability-related issues.

Joining the scheme means CDS can use the Disability Confident badge on all its communication materials to demonstrate its commitment to equal opportunities.

CDS warns of importance of specialist help when undertaking ‘hot work’

With ‘hot work’ causing around a fifth of fires on construction sites, ensuring foolproof fire safety systems are in place before conducting any operation which could cause a spark is essential, warns fire detection and life safety specialist CDS.

Figures reported by the UK’s national fire safety organisation The Fire Protection Association, show that 20% of fires taking place on construction sites in England between 2018 and 2019 were caused by hot work.

And insurance company Zurich reports that 15% of all the fire claims it processed between 2016 and 2018 are also caused by such activity. The insurance giant says many of these fires could have been avoided if certain simple and cost-effective controls had been followed.

CDS has been working with many huge industrial operations over the past 30 plus years, where ‘hot work’ plays a key role in the day-to-day activities of the site. While hot work can be direct – by using equipment which emits a flame, it can also be indirect, for example using disc cutters which create sparks.

Managing Director Simon Abley explained: “While live construction sites are perhaps the most obvious source of hot work fires, industrial sites also carry a high risk of fire breaking out and spreading with alarming speed. The fires can be exacerbated by proximity to highly flammable materials and chemicals present additional hazards.”

Warehouses, waste management specialists and factories are among the businesses to which CDS provides fire safety expertise – from fire risk assessments, to specifying, monitoring and maintaining all aspects of a fire safety system.

One recent project saw CDS supply and install fixed extinguishant systems to a number of high risk programmable logic controller (PLC) cabinets used on a factory production line. Extinguishant will automatically be released into the individual cabinet in case of fire or overheating and alert the security team to the precise location of the outbreak.

The highly specialised PLCs are also protected by an air sampling system which provides early warning of the potential for fire, offering a belt and braces solution for added peace of mind.

The new system means only the area identified as being at risk needs to shut down while production can continue safely.

All commercial premises are legally obliged to carry out fire risk assessments, regardless of whether or not hot work is carried out on the premises, under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) in England and Wales.

While these can be carried out by the property owners, appointing a professional is advisable, particularly in complex or large buildings – and those in which hot work is carried out.

Photo: Creative Commons

CDS installs specialised detection systems at £65m aviation technology centre

Fire detection and life safety specialist CDS has installed specialised smoke and flame detection systems at a £65 million centre which will spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology.

The Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire – DARTeC – will have its own experimental airport terminal and a ‘hangar of the future.’

The centre will research challenges facing the aviation industry, such as integrating drones into civilian airspace, increasing airport efficiency through technology, creating safe shared airspace through secure data communication infrastructures and increasing the reliability and availability of aircraft through self-sensing, self-aware technologies.

As well as commissioning a Gent by Honeywell fire alarm system, disabled refuge and WC alarms, CDS designed and installed numerous different specialised smoke and flame detection systems – vital in an area containing jet fuel.

CDS project manager Michael Barkham explained: “We installed flame detection within the external aircraft canopy to monitor the area where a small plane will be sitting. This is constantly looking for infrared and ultraviolet lights which flames can emit. These are especially suited to these areas as jet fuel is clear burning, which mean the flames aren’t always visible to the naked eye.”

CDS also installed an air sampling Aspiration smoke detection system along with an optical beam detection system.

“The air sampling system constantly draws air in from the area it is protecting via a pipe and then samples the air at the controller to check whether there is any smoke within it. It can also monitor for different levels of smoke if early warning alarm is required. The beam detection system is an optical infrared transmitter and receiver which checks for obscuration of the IR beam by any smoke should there be a fire,” explained Michael.

This is the second major project CDS has carried out for the specialist postgraduate university in recent years on behalf of Precision Electrical. It worked on its global agricultural engineering and precision farming hub in 2019. The Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI) was designed to be a world-leading centre for excellence in livestock, arable, aquaculture and horticulture.

“Following the successful completion of Agri-EPI, Precision Electrical was impressed with our services and wanted to work with us on this project,” said Michael.

CDS works with a number of universities across the UK and provides specialist services for university buildings and halls of residence.

CDS opens Manchester office and appoints new regional director for the North

Fire detection and life safety specialist CDS is expanding into the North of England and has set up an office in Manchester from which to manage its growth in the region.

New regional director Derek Stacey has more than 30 years’ expertise in the fire safety industry – and has worked with Honeywell Gent, CDS’ main tech platform, for most of his career.

Derek is already building a team of engineers and salespeople who will offer CDS’ services to social housing providers, councils, police authorities, hospitals, care homes, universities, factories, warehouses and airports across Northern England and into the Scottish borders.

CDS Managing Director Simon Abley explained: “Derek will be a tremendous asset to CDS. He has lots of experience and a long and entrenched relationship with the Honeywell Gent platform and is fully conversant with the system. He also has a wealth of experience of working with organisations with complex life safety and fire protection requirements across this region of the country which are very similar to the existing CDS customer base.”

CDS Chairman Simon Cashmore commented: “The appointment supports our plan to expand CDS via a ‘buy and build’ strategy over the coming months and years, broadening our geographic coverage via acquisition and organic expansion and increasing service capability within the compliance sector. CDS is now in a much stronger position to be able to seek further opportunities to acquire and consolidate businesses in the North of England under Derek’s leadership.”

Derek, who began his career in fire safety systems in 1989 and has held several directorial roles across the North of England, is excited to be joining the CDS fold.

“CDS is a forward-thinking company which has a good feel about it. It has a real sense of team spirit that I’ve not seen for a long time. Everyone wants to crack on and make this a big success and I’m excited to be joining the business at this time. This role offers an opportunity to work in a different way and expand into different disciplines within the compliance industry.”

Away from work Derek plays the drums and enjoys sea kayaking and paddle boarding off the North Wales coast.

Contact Derek at