CDS celebrates its own Euro 2020 victory, with projects in England, Scotland and Wales

The CDS team has been gripped by Euro 2020 fever. Not only are many of its colleagues glued to their TV screens (when not at work of course), they have also created their own version of the tournament wallchart – and have already conquered all three home nations.

Since the first kick off on June 11, the team has carried out projects in England, Scotland and Wales, demonstrating CDS’ truly national coverage as the company expands to offer its services to every corner of mainland Britain.

The Welsh projects follow both the recent acquisition of Monmouthshire-based Tann Synchronome and the opening earlier this year of an office in Manchester.

The appointments of CDS northern regional director Derek Stacey and sales manager Steve Hughes have also enabled CDS to extend its reach into North Wales and Scotland. The company has undertaken new projects for local authorities, universities and student accommodation providers in Edinburgh and across the county of Gwynedd.

And the appointment of regional sales manager Ross O’Connell to cover the South West and Wales has led to CDS significantly raising its profile in the region and increasing its ability to support the M & E sector in South Wales.

CDS has been well-known and respected for its operations in England for more than 30 years, and its new ‘buy and build’ strategy, introduced following its acquisition last year by MD Simon Abley and chairman Simon Cashmore,has been behind its successes in the other two home nations. The policy aims to see CDS expand geographically as well as adding new services to its offering.

Simon Abley said: “We thought it would be fun to have a focus on carrying out projects in all three home nations during the Euros.

“As you can see, we’ve been pretty successful. And we have other new projects which should be in the bag – or maybe the back of the net – before the final on July 11.”

  • CDS supports the home nations during Euro 2020 

(credit) “Official Euro 2020 ball, green background” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0


CDS installs wire-free carbon monoxide monitoring system in home with open fires

CDS has just finished installing a wireless carbon monoxide detection system in a large property with the sole purpose of monitoring potential harmful gases released from open fires.

One of the key requirements of the client was that no cabling should disturb the aesthetic appeal of the building which contains several rooms with open fires.

The existing analogue/addressable fire alarm system posed no problem for CDS, which has more than three decades of experience in carrying out complex, multi-faceted projects. But as the need for CO detection was highlighted after carrying out the fire risk assessment, the second half of the commission was potentially more challenging.

Incorporating CO detection presented a potential problem, as the design of the rooms meant there was no way any cabling could be concealed.

The solution was to install battery operated CO sensors, and CDS chose the Ei208 models manufactured and distributed by AICO limited. The devices are capable of wireless transmission to a receiver which, in turn, is interfaced onto the existing main fire alarm system detection loop.

The installation team located an electrical switch cupboard which already had a smoke sensor installed and were able to install both the AICO receiver units and loop-powered system interfaces within the space, thus providing detection with no apparent effect on the internal décor.

In addition to the CO monitoring, CDS specified, installed, and commissioned an advanced addressable fire alarm system incorporating Apollo smoke sensors, which enables immediate identification of the precise location of any fire outbreak, and carried out all related refurbishment work.

CDS has been installing carbon monoxide monitors as part of its all-encompassing life safety system work for many years, but until now they have always been wired into existing wired fire detection loops. This has never been an issue, as the structure of the buildings has either enabled installers to hide the cabling, or, in the case of some commercial premises, hasn’t had the aesthetic impact such a procedure would have on centuries-old interior design.

Having successfully pioneered the use of this battery-operated system CDS is ow looking forward to offering the product to other similar clients and properties.

Other attractive older buildings on which CDS has carried out major installation projects include Leicester City Council’s magnificent Victorian town hall. As the property needed to remain up and running during the day, the CDS team carried out the work overnight over a few weeks to ensure a seamless transition from its previous system.

CDS has an impressive 33-year track record in the education, healthcare, logistics, leisure, airport, industrial property and housing sectors.

CDS expands its sales team into the South West, Wales and the North West

CDS is expanding its sales capacity with the appointment of two new regional sales managers to support the growth of the business in the South West, Wales and the North West.

Ross O’Connell will oversee developing the business in the South West and Wales, while Steve Hughes will drive sales in the North West.

Ross, who is looking forward to getting the CDS brand into areas of Britain where it is not yet a household name, says he was attracted to the company because of its forward-thinking approach and determination to build a high quality service business operating right across the UK.

“I got a good feeling when I spoke to Simon Cashmore and Simon Abley and, listening to what they had done with other companies, decided I wanted to be on the journey with them,” he said.

A former pole vaulter for the Welsh national team, who came second in the British championships in his late teens, Ross moved into selling fire safety systems around a decade ago after spending a few years as a PE teacher.

His background in selling Honeywell Gent systems fits neatly with CDS’ longstanding Honeywell pedigree.  AHoneywell Gent Elite Technology Centre, the company is one of the longest-serving Gent System Integrators, having been appointed in 2000.

Ross takes part in less high adrenaline sports now, preferring to keep fit by running and going to the gym while, wearing his ex-PE teacher’s hat, coaching the rugby and football teams to which two of his three young sons belong.

Meanwhile, Steve Hughes is planning to help CDS become known in the North and North West as the business is in other parts of the country.

Steve has been working in the fire safety and security industry since the late 1990s – both in sales and mechanical and electrical (M&E) contracting.

“Because I have extensive experience of the M&E sector I know what the contractors like and how they work, which is very helpful in a sales role,” he said.

He was attracted to CDS by its ‘progressive vision’ to expand its geographical reach, its service offering and its client base.

When not on the road specifying fire safety systems he’s out in the countryside – driving Land Rovers off road to enjoy the magnificent countryside around his home near Saddleworth Moor.

“I drive on unadopted roads and byways where vehicles don’t usually go. It’s an easy way to see beautiful countryside and greenery which would otherwise be inaccessible for older people or those who are less fit,” he said.

CDS chairman Simon Cashmore said: “Ross and Steve have impressive track records and bring their expertise to the CDS fold, along with the energy and passion to help us expand using their sector understanding and established regional relationships.”

South West and Wales regional sales manager Ross O’Connell with CDS managing director Simon Abley

CDS continues its ‘buy and build’ mission by acquiring Welsh business

The latest stage in CDS’ ‘buy and build’ strategy has seen it acquire a fire alarm systems business in Wales.

Monmouthshire-based Tann Synchronome, once the second largest fire alarm manufacturer in the UK, offers its services along the M4 and M5 corridor – from Wales and the West Country to London and into the Midlands.

The business began life in the 19th century, with a somewhat different focus. Its parent companies Synchronome of London and John Tann made clocks and safes. It branched into fire alarm systems nearly 60 years ago and in the 1980s produced the first British analogue addressable fire alarm system, the Vigilant.

Tann Synchronome designs, supplies, installs, commissions and maintains fire alarm systems created by manufacturers including Hochiki and Apollo. This in addition to a strong reputation as a leading supplier of security, access control and emergency lighting systems and support. 

The rollcall of equipment manufacturers complements CDS’ expertise as a longstanding partner of Honeywell. CDS is a Honeywell Gent Elite Technology Centre and one of the longest-serving Gent System Integrators, having been appointed in 2000. It can also specify, install and maintain Honeywell Notifier systems through group company, Powerpoint Fire Systems. 

Tann Synchronome customers include Proctor and Gamble UK, Foxtons and many of the UK’s leading schools and academy trusts. 

The acquisition follows the purchase earlier this year of Middlesex-based Powerpoint Fire Systems (Powerpoint), a Honeywell Notifier engineered systems distributor whose high-profile clients have included the All-England Tennis Club, home of Wimbledon.

CDS chairman Simon Cashmore said: “Our buy and build strategy has a three-pronged approach. We aim to broaden our geographical reach, add service capability and expand our services in the compliance sector. Acquiring Tann Synchronome enables us to impact all three of these. It has an established reputation in the sector and gives us access to adjacent services and to new clients across the UK.”

Tann Synchronome managing director Will Jones, who has 30 years’ experience in the fire safety business and will remain with the business added: “I am very pleased that the company will become part of the wider, dynamic and energetic CDS offering. Our combined clout and expertise should be of massive benefit to so many companies, schools, universities, office complexes and commercial operations.”

Simon Cashmore and CDS managing director Simon Abley, who acquired CDS last year, were the team behind outdoor services specialist TCL Group. They grew the business 14-fold over 12 years before selling it in 2019. Its expansion was achieved in a similar way – through strategic acquisition of complementary companies to broaden both its geographical reach and service offerings. TCL was named one of the 1,000 Companies to Inspire Europe in 2017 by the London Stock Exchange.

  • Simon Abley, Tann Synchronome managing director Will Jones, Simon Cashmore and Tann Synchronome finance director Will Heavens celebrate the latest CDS acquisition.

Covid security mustn’t compromise fire safety as students return to face-to-face teaching

As students return to face-to-face teaching after months of learning online, CDS is reminding universities that reconfiguring the layout of their public spaces and lecture theatres to ensure Covid security may mean their fire risk assessments are out of date.

And it suggests that, if they haven’t already done so, these need to be renewed as a matter of urgency – not only to ensure compliance, but to protect the lives of students and staff.

A number of practical measures can help marry the seemingly conflicting needs of Covid security with fire safety. For example, while increasing ventilation can help minimise the spread of the virus, it can also increase the spread of fire.

Fire door retainers provide an easy, safe and legal way to hold fire doors open, increase ventilation and reduce the use of touch surfaces such as door handles and door plates. The plunger devices deactivate on hearing a fire alarm, shutting the doors.

As part of a much wider fire safety strategy carried out for Nottingham Trent University across 60 buildings on three campuses, CDS supplied more than 500 such devices.

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 student accommodation.

A new one needs to be carried out every time changes are made to the building – which includes measures universities may have made to ensure their public spaces are safe from a Covid viewpoint. These may include changes such as altering desk layouts, installing partitioning, amending exit routes and moving fire meeting points.

As well as overseeing the fire safety strategy, designing, installing and maintaining life safety systems for universities, CDS works with major student accommodation providers.

These include global property management company Greystar, which has a multi-billion-pound portfolio of large-scale rental properties across London.

CDS, which has a 33-year track record in the commercial and public sectors, can carry out a fire risk assessment and specify, supply and fit equipment which will ensure that COVID-19 compliance doesn’t compromise fire safety.