Harper Adams University

Date Added 22.01.16

Harper Adams University specialises in land-based courses and enjoys possibly the best reputation in the UK among dedicated agricultural Universities. Located deep in the beautiful Shropshire countryside, the University provides a range of academic and practical teaching facilities for over 2,000 students.

The University is named after its benefactor, Thomas Harper Adams, a wealthy Shropshire gentleman farmer. On his death in 1892 he bequeathed his considerable estate 'for the purpose of teaching practical and theoretical agriculture'.

Harper Adams now boasts a campus covering more than 20 acres (8 hectares) plus a working farm, and was named as the Sunday Times University of the Year in 2007.

“Being focused on land based teaching means that the staff are spread across a vast area most of the working day,” said Paul Moran, Facilities Manager, Harper Adams University. “That in turn means that communications can be difficult, which is why we rely on a professional radio communications system. Nothing else gives us the certainty of getting hold of key people when we need them.”

The buildings are also somewhat spread out which can make managing health and safety difficult. To solve this they installed a comprehensive Building Management System that constantly monitors for smoke/fire alerts, access control and system failures like air conditioning, lifts and so on.

To help install the complex system, the college engaged the services of Executive Integrated Services Limited, a specialist facilities management company.

“Our role was to help specify and install the Building Management System campus-wide,” said Mike Lewis, Director, Executive Integrated Services. “But an area where we needed additional help was solving the problem of how to get intelligent alerts from the system to the staff who needed to know, where they could be anywhere on this large site - and to do it quickly.”

The solution that was chosen was to work with Resound Limited to have specifically configured text messages sent across the radio system. Resound were already the provider of radio equipment to the college so had a good knowledge of the current equipment and the campus. They had installed a VHF radio system with more than 20 Kenwood handsets and a single Kenwood repeater base station.

Resound had also developed a PC based system called Flashpointer specifically to interface between Building Management Systems and alarms and their radio equipment by passing text messages to specific handsets.

“The teams from the Harper Adams, Resound and our company all pulled together to get this project working well,” continued Mike. “A good team spirit was built up and that manifested itself in an excellent solution that has worked continuously for a number of years.”

Since the system was first installed the University has added new buildings, including additional student halls of residence. Whilst this has involved adding further monitoring components to the Building Management System it hasn’t required any structural changes to the radio system or Flashpointer.

“From a safety point of view the Flashpointer system has been great for us,” concluded Paul. “It means that college staff can respond quickly and intelligently to any safety alerts no matter where they are on the campus. Coupled with Resound’s support and maintenance we are sure that we can keep up our excellent safety record even as the college continues to grow.”