• Merton Warden’s Lodgings, University of Oxford

    The ‘New’ Warden’s Lodgings were built in 1962 and extensively refurbished in 2012 by the Banbury architects, Acanthus Clews, into a contemporary dwelling for the new Warden and his family. Darke & Taylor was subsequently engaged to design and install a new fire and smoke alarm system that would be sympathetic to the building whilst meeting all the legislative requirements.

    Merton Warden's Lodgings, University of Oxford


Iconic building: Any new fire system had to be sympathetic to the fabric of the building which was used for formal college entertaining as well as a full-time family dwelling.

Old hard-wired alarm system: The previous fire system dated back to the 1960s and had been built into the fabric of the building so needed to be carefully removed.

Tight time schedule: Darke & Taylor (D&T) had just two weeks to design, install and commission a new fire alarm system before the new Warden moved into the building, there was no room for any overruns.

Future-proofing: Merton wished to future-proof the Lodgings as much as possible. This meant that any other works had to be carried out during the same two week period whilst the property was vacant.


Intelligent design: The new system could not be wireless, so with D&Ts extensive experience of Oxford colleges, a standalone system was designed in compliance with all existing legislation.

In-house expertise: D&T is accustomed to removing old systems with a minimum of disruption. Everything was undertaken in-house with no sub-contractors, ensuring a finish of the very highest quality.

Pinpoint planning: A Pre-start Meeting was undertaken to fact find and identify potential issues before a schedule of works was submitted to ensure full transparency.

Full range of services: D&T was able to simultaneously carry out a full EICR (test & inspection of all electrical sockets) as well as a network data installation to ensure high speed connectivity throughout the property.

“Any new fire system had to be sympathetic to the fabric of the building which was used for formal college entertaining as well as a fulltime family dwelling.”

Technical overview

D&T was engaged directly by Merton College to design, install and commission a new combined fire, smoke and heat alarm system for this six-bedroom property over three floors.

A new fully addressable alarm system was installed with break glass units in order to safeguard lives and enable anybody to see exactly in which room an alarm had gone off and take prompt remedial action.

Project details

CLIENTMerton College, Oxford

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