Fire alarms

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Fire Alarm Systems

The choice of fire alarm system depends on the building structure, the purpose and use of the building and current legislation. In new or altered buildings the enforcement body is the local building control, and the relevant guidance is explained in section new or altered buildings. All existing buildings except domestic premises are subject to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Responsible Person, as defined in the order, has to conduct a fire risk assessment. This FRA will decided the appropriate British standard necessary to provide a suitable and sufficient solution for the premises. The enforcement body is the Fire and Rescue Service and the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLC) have published a number of guidance documents for premises subject to the RR(FS)O. This is particularly important since none of the legislation gives any detailed information on the type of system required but the guidance usually indicates appropriate British standards. The main standard for fire alarm systems is BS5839 pt1:2013.

Types of Fire Alarm Systems

alarmsense-8-zone-panelAll Fire Alarm Systems essentially operate on the same principle. If a detector detects smoke or heat or someone operates a break glass unit (manual break point), then alarm sounders operate to warn others in the building that there may be a fire and to evacuate. It may also incorporate remote signaling equipment which would alert the fire brigade via a central station.

Fire Alarm Systems can be broken down into four categories:

  • Conventional
  • Analogue Addressable
  • Addressable
  • Wireless systems

System Design

Before starting, the designer will need to ensure that certain information is available. This may be given in the specification or it may have to be obtained by consultation. As well as the purchaser, there may be a requirement to consult with other interested parties

Points to consider

  • The type of system required i.e. L1, L2, L3 etc and where appropriate, parts of the premises to be covered.
  • The action to be taken in the event of fire
  • Whether other occupants of a multi occupancy building will be affected
  • Whether other work is to be done at the same time. If so then consultation with other contractors may be required.
  • A Method of calling the Fire Brigade
  • Whether the type of occupants or activity in the building will require a greater provision of Manual Call Points than normal
  • A likely attendance time of the Fire Brigade
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