Case Study

1898 Wycliff Condominium

The Buckhead section of Atlanta, just outside the city, is perhaps one of the most sought-after communities in this area. Considered the uptown district of Atlanta, Buckhead includes a major financial and commercial district, the Lenox Square shopping area, and large homes throughout many different neighborhoods.

Within the Ardmore Park neighborhood, which spans four square blocks, is a mix of homes, apartments, and condominiums all within walking distance from the Peachtree Battle Trail, part of Atlanta’s trail system. Some buildings in this area date back to the 1920s, built at a time when many structures were constructed out of brick.

The 1898 Wycliff Condominium is a three-floor complex located in a building constructed in 1928. Known as one of Atlanta’s first condominiums, it includes 13 spacious residential units in a nearly 90 year-old brick structure.

When it was time to upgrade the condominium’s smoke detectors in its common areas, such as hallways, two lobby entrances, and the basement where the building’s furnace and hot water system is located, installation became a concern because of the building’s exterior brick walls and interior walls constructed of concrete.

“Because this is an old building, we do not have the wiring in the walls or the ceilings to install a hardwired system,” said Sue Skipper, President of the 1898 Wycliff Condominium Association. “This building is old and historic and it would become too costly to wire a new system.”

For years, 1898 Wycliff Condominium Association had relied upon inexpensive smoke detectors screwed into its ceilings to notify owners and guests in the event the sensors detected smoke or heat. The building’s age, as well as that of the existing wiring within its walls, increased residents’ concerns about the risk of fire.

To solve that problem, the condominium association turned to Jim Eure, President of Protex Security Systems based in Atlanta, a local systems integrator. With the help of Eure, the condominium association was able to select a wireless alarm system that could reliably transmit fire alarm signals in the event of an emergency without compromising the historic nature of the building.

In addition, Eure wanted to avoid having to install multiple repeaters throughout the condominium, saving on the cost of the system.

Together, they selected the PowerSeries Neo hybrid alarm system from Tyco Security Products. The outstanding wireless signal strength that the system offers and its ability to change frequencies as needed for reliable and secure, encrypted communications—are all features of the industry-leading wireless PowerG technology. The project involved installing a dozen carbon monoxide, smoke, and fire alarm detectors throughout the common areas of the building.

Skipper said it was time to install a new system that provided residents with the peace of mind that it would work properly and reliably in the event of fire. Condominium owners also wanted a system that could be remotely monitored, thereby enabling the city to dispatch the fire department in the event of an emergency.

“Before, they were not using a hardwired system. It was a standalone wireless system with smoke detectors in different areas,” said Eure. “The building didn’t have a direct connection to any sort of monitoring source.”

Eure said it was important to install a commercial grade wireless alarm system that could handle a large area without additional repeaters that did not compromise the strength of the signal. The condominium association also did not want the installation to disrupt residents, so it was important for Eure to select a system with a quick enroll function and the ability for his firm to remotely troubleshoot issues.

Another appealing aspect of the PowerSeries Neo system was its sleek design, said Skipper, which would not detract from the condominium’s impressive two front entrances featuring large hanging chandeliers. In addition, the system’s longer battery life and ability to notify management if the battery is dying was also a plus. Previously, residents could be woken up in the middle of the night by the chirp of a smoke detector indicating a low battery.

While the current installation involves only the common areas of 1898 Wycliff Condominiums, in the future the association may look to install the system throughout the building to include owner units. This would give the owners the same fire alarm system in the common areas, and also the ability to tap into the system’s intrusion alarm capabilities.

“We love having that as an option,” said Skipper. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the current system and the opportunity to expand the fire system and incorporate an alarm system in the future."

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