ELECTRONIC FIRE & SECURITY SYSTEMS. Smoke Alarms, Fire Detection and Alarm Systems in Dwellings

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1 ELECTRONIC FIRE & The FS Short Guide Series Smoke larms, Fire Detection and larm Systems in Dwellings n Introduction to BS :2004 and the associated legislative framework SECURITY SYSTEMS Supporting the Profession to Safeguard the Client Fire & Security ssociation, ESC House, 34 Palace Court, London W2 4HY T F E P The EC Logo is a Registered Collective Mark. Design, Installation and Maintenance of Fire Detection and larm Systems in Dwellings The FS is a specialist division of the EC.

2 CONTENTS 1. Introduction Legislation The Building Regulations Fire Risk ssessment System Definitions, Grades and Categories Types of Detector Location and Positioning of Fire Detectors Limitation of False larms Wireless Fire Detection and larm Systems larm Systems for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired udibility of Fire larm Warning Devices Zoning of Systems Wiring and Installation Maintenance and Servicing System Certification Example Certificates Documentation References FS Training Courses Frequently sked uestions...28 cknowledgements The FS would like to thank the following organisations for assistance with materials and pictures used in this document. ICO Smoke larms and ccessories D-LINE Mini trunking with integral clips DRK Fire-resistant clips GENT Control and Indicating panels Introduction There have been many books published as detailed guides to BS 5839 and its many parts, some of which extend to more than 200 pages. In this document, we are focusing on clarifying some of the more popular issues and the questions which are commonly asked by designers, installers and maintenance personnel. This guide is not a substitute for BS : 2004 nor a definitive guidance document. nyone who intends to design, install, commission or maintain domestic fire detection and alarm systems, should hold a current authorised copy of the standard. They should also ensure that they have a sound understanding of the legislation, that applies, to all forms of domestic dwelling. It is important to be aware that BS states, Compliance with a British Standard does not in itself confer immunity from legal obligations. In particular, attention is drawn to Building Regulations and, in cases of Houses of Multiple Occupation, to the relevant housing legislation. Guidance on Building Regulations is given in pproved Document B in England and Wales, the Technical Standards that support the relevant building regulations in Scotland and in Technical Booklet E in Northern Ireland. In 2004 when the standard was written, around 80% of all fire deaths and injuries were in dwellings and totalled deaths and 14,000 injuries per annum respectively. The fatality rate in dwellings where there is no working smoke detector is between two and three times the fatality rate in dwellings where a smoke detector is present and functioning correctly. 2. Legislative Framework The Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO) and the implications affecting BS : 2004 recommendations The FSO and the parallel Scottish legislation the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (FSSR) do not apply to single-family dwellings. However, they do apply to Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO), flats and maisonettes constructed to current building regulations. Prior to October 2006, these HMOs, flats, and maisonettes required a fire certificate. Today all of these dwellings require a fire risk assessment, which must be provided by the responsible person. This is the person who has day-to-day responsibility for the building. In the case of the HMO and blocks of flats, this will be either the landlord or the agent responsible for the building. Therefore, before undertaking the design of the fire detection and alarm system, the installer should obtain a copy of the building s fire risk assessment from the responsible person. This will identify the grade and category of system that needs to be installed in that particular building. The responsible person for the premises is required by law to provide a fire risk assessment. In many cases the installer will find that no fire risk assessment has been 2 3

3 prepared for the building. In this case the installer must consider the risks involved in specifying the Grade and Category of the system, unless he is able to demonstrate that he is competent (a person with sufficient training, knowledge and experience and other qualities) to do so. ny person who contracts to carry out the fire risk assessment should meet these criteria, and also hold appropriate professional indemnity insurance, which covers the work undertaken in the preparation of a fire risk assessment. Special guidance documentation has been provided related to the FSO relating to sleeping risks in HMOs, flats and maisonettes constructed to current building regulations. This guidance differs from BS Since the FSO is legislation, this supersedes BS recommendations. On page 55 of the FSO guidance document. fire/pdf/ for sleeping risks, the normal HMO is treated differently from flats and maisonettes, which are constructed to current building regulations. In these types of dwelling each flat and maisonette will be a separate fire compartment with fire seals on the front door of each unit, and which open onto the common areas. Note 4 of Table 1 states: Flats and maisonettes constructed to current building regulations will not require automatic fire detection in common areas. However selfcontained smoke alarms will normally be fitted in each accommodation unit. This may be varied where the fire risk assessments required by the FSO or a technical specification determines that the common areas pose a significant fire risk and should be provided with a Grade system L1 or LD1 system. The Housing ct 2004 (TH) and the implications affecting BS : 2004 recommendations The Housing ct 2004 (TH) applies to housing authorities and landlords and brought in a new system of regulation for fire safety in existing residential premises with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and Licensing of HMOs, both enforced by Local Housing uthorities (LHs). longside this, the FSO imposed duties on landlords and gave powers to the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) in relation to the common areas of HMOs, flats and maisonettes and sheltered accommodation in which care is not provided, supporting the FS and thereby introducing a dual enforcement regime in these types of premises. 3. The Building Regulations 2007 The installation of smoke alarms and automatic fire detectors is a requirement under Part B of the Building Regulations which relates to new and materially altered dwellings, which are governed under the auspices of building control. In most cases it also falls under the requirements of Part P relating to competence. BUILDING REGULTIONS PRT B: THE REUIREMENT Means of warning and escape B1. The building shall be designed and constructed so that there are appropriate provisions for the early warning of fire, and appropriate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety outside the building capable of being safely and effectively used at all material times. Requirement B1 does not apply to any prison provided under Section 33 of the Prison ct 1952 (power to provide prisons, etc). BS recommends that existing dwellings generally may have a lesser grade and category of system and still comply with national building regulations. However, in existing dwellings where the structural fire precautions are of a lower standard, the grade and category recommended is the same as that for new and materially altered dwellings. It should be noted that owner-occupiers of existing dwellings are not forced by law to install smoke alarms. t this time they can only be advised to do so. However, as the installer of a fire detection and alarm system you have a duty of care to your customer to ensure that the system that you provide is fit for purpose. Note: The FSO (fire risk assessment), Building Regulations (new and materially altered premises) and TH (requirements for LHs and landlords) supersede all earlier fire safety legislation. What does British Standard BS 5839: Part 6: 2004 recommend? This is the definitive Code of Practice specified within the Building Regulations to which architects, building professionals, enforcing authorities, landlords and installers should refer for recommendations on the design, installation, commissioning, maintenance and use of smoke and heat alarms in domestic dwellings. 4 5

4 5. System Definitions, Grades and Categories BS : 2004 is unlike BS : 2002 in that it is not a prescriptive standard, but is based on the principal of risk assessment. The descriptions recommended below, which are derived from Table 1 should be regarded as base guidelines and are appropriate for premises of normal risk. Where the risk is higher or indeed lower, then a higher or lower level of detection and warning may be appropriate. Six different grades of fire detection system are defined and, generally speaking, the greater the fire risk, the more comprehensive the system should be. Briefly, the grades are as follows: GRDE full system with control and indicating equipment installed to BS 5839: - 1 GRDE B Detectors and sounders using simpler specified equipment. GRDE C Detectors and sounders or alarms with central control GRDE D Interlinked mains powered smoke alarms with an integral standby power supply GRDE E Interlinked mains powered smoke alarms with no standby supply GRDE F Battery powered smoke alarms 4. Fire Risk ssessment BS recommends that a Fire Risk ssessment be carried out prior to installing fire detection and alarm systems. Section 4 and ppendix of BS provide extensive guidance on how this assessment should be carried out. The FSO requires that this should be carried out by a competent person. For Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO), flats, and sheltered housing, either the landlord or the managing agent should provide the fire risk assessment. This individual is called the Responsible Person. It is he who must provide the installer with the clear information related to the Grade and Category of the system, which is to be installed in that particular building. The contractor then takes responsibility for the design of the system in accordance with the information provided within the fire risk assessment and in accordance with BS : Where properties are rented, the landlord has a legal duty of care for the safety of his tenants. Not only must he deal with the issue of fire safety in the common areas, he must also accept responsibility for the individual rented units. For a single-family dwelling unit e.g. house or bungalow, the householder would not be expected to provide a fire risk assessment. In the event that there is no fire risk assessment available, then reference should be made to BS Tables 1 and 2 in Section 9, Choice of systems. These tables can be used to determine the grade and category of system needed for each particular dwelling. guide is provided below. There are two system definitions covered by BS : 2004: 1. Life safety systems which cover sleeping risks Definition - L 2. Property protection systems which generally cover insurable risks Definition - P Three different categories of life protection system are defined. Briefly, these are (starting at the highest): LD1/PD1 LD2/PD2 LD3/P larms in all circulation spaces that form part of escape routes and all areas where a fire might start, but not bathrooms, shower rooms or toilets larms in all circulation spaces that form part of escape routes and rooms or areas that present a high fire risk larms in circulation spaces that form part of escape routes The Code emphasises that no one type of alarm is most suitable for all applications. Consideration must be given to the most suitable type of detection - optical, ionisation or heat detection. What do Building Regulations require for dwellings? Fire detection and alarm systems in most dwellings should be installed in accordance with the recommendations of BS or as required by local Building Control or Fire Officers. rchitects, builders, engineers, contractors and installers must comply with Building Regulations and install battery-mains-powered smoke alarms or fire detection and alarm systems in new and materially altered dwellings, existing rented maisonettes, rented two storey houses, three or more storey houses, and houses of multiple occupation (HMO) 6 7

5 Grades and Categories of System - Clause 9 Table 1 and nnex B of BS Grade, LD1 HMOs, Single-family dwellings and shared houses with one or more floors greater than 200sq metres. (Note: FSO guidance for sleeping risks allows HMOs of more than two storeys (more than one storey above ground), flats and conversions (including holiday flats) that have not been constructed to building regulation standards may have an LD2 category of system installed.) These dwellings consist of - Three or more storey houses. Houses of Multiple Occupation - Communal areas only. Conventional or addressable control and indication panel with battery back-up (conforming with EN 54-2 and EN 54-4) covering the communal areas Where rented individual flats are included these systems should be self-contained and installed to Grade D LD2 standard System is designed in accordance with the recommendations of BS sections 1-4, with BS clauses 13,14,18,15.20 and 21 replacing the similar clauses of BS Fire detectors in all the communal areas (the fire risk assessment may define that a heat detector and sounder should be located inside each flat, within 1 metre of the main door and directly connected to the communal system) Manual call points should be sited on the fire exit route of the common parts at all storey exits and to the open air May be interconnected using radio links The communal system should be wired in standard or enhanced fire-resistant cable; this includes the mains supply The communal system should have its own dedicated mains supply The independent system in each flat may derive its mains supply from a dedicated supply or a regularly used local lighting circuit Each system in the flats may be wired in non-fire-resistant cable If a conventional control and indicating panel is used, a remote indicator should be located outside the flat or the flat number or the location should be indicated in text on an addressable control and indication panel The sound pressure level of the alarm signal measured at the doorway of each bedroom with the door open should be at least 85dB(), unless a fire risk assessment determines that the sound pressure level should be higher. 75dB() at the bed head Where the design of the flat has no door separating the kitchen from the circulation or living space a smoke detector may be used, subject to a fire risk assessment establishing that the kitchen extract system will be able to prevent false alarms being caused by food preparation Depending on the fire risk assessment the communal system may be connected to an alarm receiving centre (RC) Grade, PD1 as LD1 above. PD2 Property protection of dwellings only where specified (no sleeping risk), see recommendations below. This is usually for insurance purposes. Conventional or addressable control and indication panel with battery back-up (conforming with EN 54-2 and EN54-4) System generally specified by insurers and is solely for the protection of the property System is designed in accordance with the recommendations of BS sections 1-4 with BS clauses 13,14,18,15.20 and 21 replacing those of BS Fire detectors in a PD2 system would be installed in defined areas of the building. On the rare occasion that a PD1 system is specified the detectors would be located throughout the building except toilets, bath and shower rooms May be interconnected using radio links Should be wired in standard or enhanced fire-resistant cable; this includes the mains supply System should have its own dedicated mains supply The system will generally have a minimum of two sounders, one of which will be on the external face of the building adjacent to the control and indication panel Will be connected to an alarm receiving centre (RC) Grade B, LD2 New or materially altered dwellings or existing dwellings where structural fire precautions are of a lower level. Single-family dwellings and shared houses with no floor greater than 200sq metres in area. These consist of four or more storey houses. New or materially altered dwellings or existing dwellings where structural fire precautions are of a lower level. Single-family dwellings and shared houses with one or more floor greater than 200sq metres in area. These consist of maisonettes or two-storey houses. With the exception of the indicator panel the system should conform to BS , and may accommodate fire detectors other than smoke and heat alarms Basic indication panel with battery back-up (conforming with EN 54-2, EN54-4 or annex C of BS ); this is not a standard panel; Consider using standard conventional fire alarm panel as used for Grade system. This may be more competitive Optical alarms in hallways and landings, heat detectors in the kitchen and lounge. (dditional detectors may be needed subject to the fire risk assessment) May be interconnected using radio links Should be wired in standard fire-resistant cable, particularly for the mains supply System should have its own dedicated mains supply The sound pressure level of the alarm signal measured at the doorway of each bedroom with the door open should be at least 85dB(), unless a fire risk assessment determines that the sound pressure level should be higher. 75dB() at the bed head Where the design of the flat has no door separating the kitchen from the circulation or living space a smoke detector may be used, subject to a fire risk assessment establishing that the kitchen extract system will be able to prevent false alarms being caused by food preparation 8 9

6 Grade C, LD1 Houses providing NHS supported living in the community. Dwellings of one, two or three storeys occupied by no more than six residents. Other dwellings of this usage - see Grade, Category LDI above. Control and indication panel with battery back-up for use in sheltered housing Intruder alarm system may also support 12 Volt smoke and heat alarms Social alarm system may also support 12 Volt smoke and heat alarms Carbon monoxide detectors can be added to the system. System is designed in accordance with the recommendations of BS Sections 1-4 with BS clauses 13,14,18,15.20 and 21 replacing the similar clauses of BS Fire detectors in all the communal areas (the fire-risk assessment may define that a heat detector and sounder should be located inside each flat, within 1 metre of the main door and directly connected to the communal system) Manual call points may be sited on the fire exit route of the common parts, at all storey exits and to the open air May be interconnected using radio links May be wired in standard non-fire resistant cable Requires a dedicated mains supply The sound pressure level of the alarm signal measured at the doorway of each bedroom with the door open should be at least 85dB(), unless a fire risk assessment determines that the sound pressure level should be higher 75dB() at the bed head Where the design of the flat has no door separating the kitchen from the circulation or living space, a smoke detector may be used, subject to a fire risk assessment establishing that the kitchen extract system will be able to prevent false alarms being caused by food preparation Intruder and social alarm systems may be considered for connecting to an alarm receiving centre (RC) Grade C, LD2 Sheltered housing (individual dwelling units only) - New or materially altered dwellings or existing dwellings where the structural fire precautions are of a lower standard. Control and indication panel with battery back-up for use in sheltered housing. Intruder alarm system may also support 12Volt smoke and heat alarms Social alarm system may also support 12Volt smoke and heat alarms Carbon monoxide detectors can be added to the system Optical alarms in hallways and landings, heat detectors in the kitchen and lounge May be interconnected using radio links May be wired in standard non-fire-resistant cable Requires a dedicated mains supply The sound pressure level of the alarm signal measured at the doorway of each bedroom with the door open should be at least 85dB(), unless a fire risk assessment determines that the sound pressure level should be higher. 75dB() at the bed head Where the design of the flat has no door separating the kitchen from the circulation or living space a smoke detector may be used, subject to a fire risk assessment establishing that the kitchen extract system will be able to prevent false alarms being caused by food preparation Intruder and social alarm systems may be considered for connecting to an alarm receiving centre (RC) Grade C, LD3 Sheltered housing (Individual dwelling units only) - Existing dwellings only. Control and indication panel with battery back-up for use in sheltered housing Intruder alarm system may also support 12Volt smoke and heat alarms Social alarm system may also support 12Volt smoke and heat alarms Carbon monoxide detectors can be added to the system Optical alarms in hallways and landings May be interconnected using radio links May be wired in standard non-fire-resistant cable Requires a dedicated mains supply The independent system in each unit should derive its mains supply from a dedicated supply The sound pressure level of the alarm signal measured at the doorway of each bedroom with the door open should be at least 85dB(), unless a fire risk assessment determines that the sound pressure level should be higher. 75dB() at the bed head Where the design of the flat has no door separating the kitchen from the circulation or living space a smoke detector may be used, subject to a fire risk assessment establishing that the kitchen extract system will be able to prevent false alarms being caused by food preparation Intruder and social alarm systems may be considered for connecting to an alarm receiving centre (RC) Grade C, PD2 Property protection only where specified. These consist of - Single or two-storey dwellings. Other dwellings as PD1. Control and indication panel with battery back-up for use in sheltered housing. System is used solely for the protection of the property Fire detectors in a PD2 system would be installed in specified areas of the building. May be interconnected using radio links May be wired in standard cable System should have its own dedicated mains supply The system will generally have a minimum of two sounders, one of which will be on the external face of the building adjacent to the control and indication panel Will be connected to an alarm receiving centre (RC) 10 11

7 Grade D, LD2 This is the most commonly used grade and category. Single-family dwellings and shared houses with no floors greater than 200sq metres - New or materially altered dwellings and existing dwellings where the structural fire precautions are of a lower standard. (Note: The FSO guidance document for sleeping risks allows HMOs and small premises e.g. bed and breakfast of up to two storeys (up to one floor above ground) with no floor greater than 200sq metres to have Grade D LD2 systems but this does not need to be interconnected with the common areas of the building.) These dwellings consist of owner occupied bungalow, flat or other single storey unit, rented bungalow, flat or other single-storey unit. Owner occupied maisonette or owner occupied two-storey house, rented maisonette or rented two-storey house. Three-storey house or an existing four storeys or more house, unaltered with sound structural fire precautions. Single-family dwellings and shared houses with one or more floors greater than 200sq metres. New or materially altered or, existing dwellings, where structural fire precautions are of a lower standard. These dwellings consist of bungalow, flat or other single-storey unit. New or materially altered HMOs or HMOs with no floors greater than 200sq metres, or where structural fire precautions are of a lower standard. These dwellings consist of HMOs of one or two storeys and individual dwelling units, within the HMO, comprising of two or more rooms. Mains powered smoke and heat alarms with battery back-up Optical smoke alarms in hallways and landings, heat alarms in the kitchen and lounge Heat alarms as best suited for the particular circumstance in the main living room to prevent false alarms ll smoke and heat alarms should be interconnected, including those using wireless (radio) links Grade D type alarms may be connected to a local frequently used lighting circuit or be served by a dedicated circuit Standard domestic cable may be used for this grade of system The sound pressure level of the alarm signal measured at the doorway of each bedroom with the door open should be at least 85dB(), unless a fire risk assessment determines that the sound pressure level should be higher. 75dB() at the bed head. Where the design of the flat has no door separating the kitchen from the circulation or living space a smoke detector may be used, subject to a fire risk assessment establishing that the kitchen extract system will be able to prevent false alarms being caused by food preparation Grade D, LD3 This grade and category applies to existing dwellings only. Existing single-family dwellings and shared houses with no floor greater than 200sq metres. These consist of rented maisonette or rented two-storey house. Three-storey house (Note: The FSO guidance document for sleeping risks allows HMOs and small premises e.g. bed and breakfast of up to two storeys (up to one floor above ground) with no floor greater than 200sq metres may have Grade D LD3 but this does not need to be interconnected with the common areas of the building). Existing single-family dwellings and shared houses with one or more floors greater than 200sq metres. These dwellings consist of bungalow, flat or other single-storey unit. Mains powered smoke and heat alarms with battery back-up Optical alarms in circulation spaces - hallways and landings If a fire risk assessment shows the property or occupier to be a high fire risk, or the structural fire precautions are of a lower standard increase the number of alarms installed to meet the risk - e.g. follow new build recommendations for an LD2 installation ll alarms should be interconnected. Mains powered smoke and heat alarms may be interconnected using radio links Mains powered smoke and heat alarms with battery back-up may be wired to a frequently used lighting circuit or a dedicated circuit The sound pressure level of the alarm signal measured at the doorway of each bedroom with the door open should be at least 85dB(), unless a fire risk assessment determines that the sound pressure level should be higher. 75dB() at the bed head Where the design of the flat has no door separating the kitchen from the circulation or living space a smoke detector may be used, subject to a fire risk assessment establishing that the kitchen extract system will be able to prevent false alarms being caused by food preparation Grade E, LD3 See Grade D LD3 above Grade E mains only systems are contained in BS 5839 but are almost never used. The failure of the mains supply will prevent this grade of system from working. Professional installers should consider using Grade D systems in place of Grade E. Grade F, LD3 This grade and category applies to existing dwellings only. Battery powered with a minimum battery life of five years Optical smoke alarm in circulation spaces - hallway Where there is more than one, smoke alarms should be linked together by standard domestic cable or wireless (radio) The only buildings which may have battery-only smoke alarms, Grade F, are: 1. Existing owner occupied bungalow, flat or other single-storey units 2. Existing rented bungalow, flat or other single-storey unit 3. Existing owner occupier maisonette or other single-storey unit 12 13

8 BS : 2004 identifies a special occasion where Grade F systems should not be used. The proviso specifically relates to the above three types of building: Proviso. Use Grade E (see note on Grade E LD3 systems above) if there is any likelihood that the occupier may not be able to replace the battery following the battery low warning signal on a Grade F system, or if there is a risk that the occupier is unable to pay for new batteries. In these situations, then mains powered smoke alarms should be used. Important note: Even though BS permits the use of battery powered smoke alarms, the above recommendations are really intended to allow the owner-occupier to buy and fit a low-cost smoke alarm, on the basis that something is better than nothing. Due to the popularity of Grade D smoke alarms, Grade E smoke alarms are not always readily available. The professional installer should give careful consideration to avoiding the use of Grades E and F smoke alarms, particularly when Grade D mains/battery powered smoke alarms are readily available and are less prone to the problems identified above. However, some local building control officers administering the Building Regulations will accept the use of single Grade F smoke alarm in the above types of premises. Therefore, you should make time to consult them in order to determine the minimum requirements prior to commencing the installation, or you could find yourself being uncompetitive. You need, however, to assess the risk to your customer when selecting particular grades and categories of system. Regardless of the opinions of others, the person installing the system has a duty of care to ensure that the system he provided is fit for purpose. 6. Types of Detector Optical larms - where should they be used? Optical sensors are more responsive to smouldering fires producing large particle smoke typical of fires involving furniture and bedding. They are more immune to invisible smoke produced by burning the toast and similar cooking fumes. This makes them ideal for locating in hallways close to kitchens, where false alarms from ionisation alarms may be a particular problem. BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004 recommends the use of optical alarms in circulation spaces of a dwelling, such as hallways and landings. Optical alarms are prone to false alarm if exposed to steam and should not be located too close to poorly ventilated bathrooms or shower rooms. 1. light beam is pulsed in the sensor chamber every 10 seconds to look for smoke. ny smoke present has to be visible to the naked eye so that the receptor can see it. If no smoke is detected, the alarm will remain in a standby state. 2. When large particle smoke is detected, the light beam will be scattered onto the light receptor. 3. This will then send an electrical signal to the Integrated Circuit (IC). 4. If the IC receives two consecutive signals, the alarm will sound. Heat larms - where should they be used? Heat alarms are less likely to cause false alarm problems, as they are not responsive to any type of smoke or fumes. They only detect heat. This type of detector will provide a slower response than smoke alarms. ll of the alarm units should be inter connected. BS : 2004 recommends that heat alarms should be used in kitchens. It goes on to suggest that they may also have a role to play in the main living room but they should not be installed in circulation spaces or areas where fast response to fire is required. 1. thermistor (a heat sensitive resistor) is sited in the sensor chamber of the alarm. 2. When heat is detected the thermistor will send an electrical signal to the Integrated Circuit (IC). 3. If the IC receives two consecutive signals the alarm will sound. Ionisation larms - where should they be used? Ionisation sensors are particularly sensitive to the almost invisible smoke produced by fast flaming fires. This makes them more liable to false alarm due to cooking fumes if sited in a hallway close to a kitchen. Ionisation alarms are less vulnerable to false alarms caused by dense tobacco smoke, excessive dust or insect ingress. BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004 recommends that ionisation alarms should not be used in hallways and landings, where there is a risk of false alarms caused by cooking fumes. 1. n Ionisation detector is designed to provide an early warning of a fast burning fire (not smoke). The ionisation device has two electrodes within an ionisation chamber, between which a measured resistance of negative ions flow. This circuit is connected to a potential divider in the Integrated Circuit (IC), which remains in a constant closed standby state. 2. In consuming fuel, fire creates combustion gas, which gives off positive ions. When these positive ions enter the ionisation chamber, the positive ions join themselves to the negative ions flowing from the radioactive source and between the electrodes, changing the resistance of the flow. 3. The resistance is applied to the potential divider in the IC and allows current to flow. 4. If the IC receives a continuous signal, the alarm will sound. 7. Location and Positioning of Fire Detectors When siting detectors in a hallway, no smoke detector should be more than 7.5 metres horizontally from any point in the hallway. In rooms, again no smoke detector should 14 15

9 be sited more than 7.5 metres from any point of the room. For heat detection, this distance should be reduced to 5.3 metres. No smoke alarms should be installed less than 300mm from any wall or beam. In a room or hallway, 10m x 10m or 50 m 2 where ceiling mounting is impractical, detectors may be mounted on the wall between 150mm and 300mm from the ceiling. Do not install smoke or heat alarms in bathrooms, shower rooms or toilets, except where the fire risk assessment identifies a specific need e.g. the presence of a boiler. Which type of detector is suitable for mounting in any given location? verage two-storey house INDEX Optical or Ionisation smoke alarm as best suited for the particular circumstances Optical smoke alarm Smoke or heat alarm as best suited for the particular circumstances Heat alarm Correct ceiling siting position for alarms Do not install alarms here Note: For roofs with a pitch deeper than 600mm, smoke detectors should be within the top 600mm and heat detectors within 150mm. llow increased coverage over 7.5m for smoke detectors and 5.3m for heat detector spacings due to the angle of the roof which will then be applicable at 1% for each degree of slope up to a maximum of 25%. Typical three floor house (HMO) with flats and apartment units on each floor, installed to Grade (BS ) Category LD3 in the units and L3 in the common areas Single-storey dwelling 16 17

10 The diagram above shows a house converted into flats (HMO). In this typical system each flat has its own dedicated system (see the symbol above). There is also a communal system, which covers the escape routes and rooms opening onto the escape routes. Should a false alarm occur in any of the flats, it will not affect any of the others. Some specifiers require that if a flat is unoccupied and a fire occurs, a heat alarm inside the flat (connected to the escape route system, but not the system in the apartments) will operate the communal system in the escape routes plus the heat alarm adjacent to the main entrance door in each of the other flats, thus providing a vital early warning. Please see guidance on the FSO requirements for flats and maisonettes constructed under current building regulations. Unless the specification or fire risk assessment requires it, there is no need for smoke alarms or manual call points within the communal areas. 8. Limitation of False larms The main problem for users and the Fire and Rescue Service are the false or unwanted alarms experienced with many fire alarm systems. These cause inconvenience to the occupants and unnecessary call outs for the Fire and Rescue Service. common response from the occupant is to disable the system. False alarms put lives at increased risk, and waste valuable resources. It is important when locating and positioning fire detectors that the risk of false alarms is considered. nnex D of BS : 2004 covers false alarms and Section 3 of BS devotes 13 pages of information to the subject of Limitation of False larms, which is beyond the scope of this guide. The ODPM (now CLG Communities and Local Government) in association with CFO (Chief Fire Officers ssociation), produce a specific document relating to the reduction of false alarms. This document can be downloaded free of charge at: - alse%20larm%20booklet1.pdf 10. larm Systems for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired BS makes recommendations for people with hearing difficulties who require a different approach to fire protection, as a conventional alarm sounder will probably not be sufficient for their needs. Those with hearing difficulties will need to use strobe units and a vibrating pad located under the pillow. This equipment can be connected to the Grade, B, C or D systems either by hard wire or wireless (radio) installation. 9. Wireless Fire Detection and larm Systems Interconnection of smoke alarms and fire detection and alarm systems is an important element since it allows all of the sounder devices within the building to operate at the same time. There are occasions when hard-wired interconnection will be impractical and indeed expensive. In these situations current standards recommend the use of wireless (radio) for fire detection and alarm systems Grades, B and C, as well as smoke alarm systems D, E and F. This means that it is much easier to comply with the interconnection and extended alarm coverage recommended in BS

11 11. udibility of Fire larm Warning Devices fire detection and alarm system only provides satisfactory protection if it is capable of rousing at least the principal occupants of the dwelling. It is known that greater sound levels are required to rouse children, older people with poor hearing and impaired persons (alcohol and drugs). International tests have shown that from these groups 120dB() has failed to wake some of those tested. s we have identified earlier, BS recommends 85dB() at the doorway of each bedroom (with the door open). closed door can reduce this by as much as 30dB(). The document does, however, go on to say that higher levels may by required to rouse certain groups of people. The international research regarding sound pressure levels suggests that 75dB() at the bed head is a minimum sound pressure level and that even this may not be enough. Whilst the text of BS identifies this sound pressure level it makes no specific further recommendation, stating only that higher sound pressure levels should be determined as part of a fire risk assessment. Great care should be taken when installing systems in buildings such as single-family Smoke larm unit with integral 85dB() sounder Fire Warning Sounder up to 110 db () dwellings, where there is likely to be no fire risk assessment available. Such an assessment should be carried out in close consultation with the occupants, building control or the person responsible for the dwelling. It is not the installer s responsibility to specify sound pressure levels outside those recommended by BS However, you should be able to draw the attention of the interested persons to the existence of this particular risk. 12. Zoning of Systems Zoning is generally restricted to Grades, B, and C systems. These are systems which will have a control and indicating panel. In most dwellings the zonal configuration would be on a floor-by-floor basis. However, in larger HMOs there will probably be a complex zone configuration and even a cause and effect matrix. In these buildings addressable systems would be appropriate. For Grade systems in HMOs there should be a means of identifying the dwelling unit where the fire signal originated. This could be addressable text or a remote indicator outside each flat. The panel should be compliant with EN 54. For Grade B systems each floor is generally treated as a zone. This does not need to be an EN 54 panel, although it may be cheaper to use a standard small EN 54 panel than to build one with the lesser facilities allowable in this Grade of system. EN 54 ddressable or Zoned fire alarm panel Basic fire alarm panel Use of manual call points Manual call points should be provided in very large single-family dwellings or student accommodation. This will also generally apply to houses with four storeys or more, multi-storey mansions, country houses and houses of multiple occupation (HMO). It would be appropriate to consider the use of manual call points in all Grade systems. Grade C systems do not normally need to be divided into zones for fire. Burglar or social alarm panel which supports 12 V smoke alarms 20 21

12 13. Wiring and Installation The wiring of fire alarm and detection systems is carried out in accordance with BS5839 Parts 1 and 6, which reference compliance with BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations (IEE Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition). Grade systems recommend the use of fire-resistant cables Grade B systems recommend the use of fire-resistant cables Grade C systems recommend that cable should be suitable for the current and voltage of the circuits concerned Grades D and E cables used may comprise of any cable suitable for domestic wiring Grade F cables used to interconnect the battery powered smoke alarms may be any type of cable suitable for the current and voltage concerned Installation and maintenance of wireless systems Fire-Resistant Clips in Plastic Trunking Grades & B Systems Remote Control Optional Grade D & E System Fire-Resistant Cable Clip Grades & B Systems Sealing of holes where cables pass through the fabric of the building Hard wiring of smoke alarms 14. Maintenance and Servicing System maintenance is critical in the performance of the system over its lifetime. The system users should be encouraged to have their systems maintained at the appropriate intervals by a competent person. To comply with BS recommendation, BS based Grade systems should be inspected at periods not exceeding six months Grades B and C systems should be inspected at periods not exceeding six months Grades D, E and F systems should be tested and cleaned in accordance with the manufacturer s instructions Weekly sound checks by the user System servicing should be carried out by an organisation that can provide 24-hour service availability and by competent service and maintenance personnel. FS members are able provide this level of service

13 15. System Certification Upon completion of a system, the appropriate certificates should be completed and signed by a competent person. 16. Example Certificates (these can be downloaded free of charge from the EC website BS 5839 Grade Certificates: Design, Installation, Commissioning and cceptance 1) Grade system (BS /6) a) BS Design certificate b) BS Installation certificate (plus a BS 7671 Electrical Installation Certificate to support the registration for a Part P Certificate) c) BS Commissioning certificate d) BS cceptance certificate 2) Grades B, C, D, E and F systems (BS ) a) BS single certificate should be completed for all the above types of system (and should include a BS 7671 Electrical Installation Certificate or a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate to support the reporting procedure for a Part P Certificate) Important Note: Fire Detection and larm Systems in dwellings come under Part P of the Building Regulations. This relates in particular to systems which require a dedicated mains supply or where a device is installed in a special location, such as a kitchen. This means that all Grades D and E - LD1 and LD2 category systems must be reported under Part P. Grades, B and C systems must also be reported under Part P, since each of these systems requires a dedicated 230Volt mains supply. Grades D and E - LD3 category systems do not need to be reported under Part P, where the mains supply is taken from a local lighting circuit. However, a BS 7671 Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate will be required, in addition to the BS Installation Certificate. In the event that a dedicated mains supply is provided for Grades D and E - LD3 category systems, then a BS 7671 Electrical Installation Certificate is required in addition to a BS Installation Certificate and the system must be reported under Part P. It should be clearly understood that a Competent Person who has been assessed by an approved Part P certification scheme must carry out any electrical work associated with Part P. Design Certificate Page 1 Design Certificate Page 2 Installation Certificate Commissioning Certificate 24 25

14 17. Documentation The installer is required to provide documented information to the interested parties relating to the maintenance and operation of the system which has been installed. This, in the case of small systems D, E and F, may be as little as the manufacturer s instructions. 18. References The following reference documents are indispensable for the application of this document. For dated references, only the reference cited applies. For undated references, the latest edition of the document (including any amendments) applies. BS 476 BS 3955:1986 (relevant parts) Fire tests on building materials and structures. Specification for electrical controls for household and similar general purposes. cceptance Certificate BS 7671 Electrical Installation Certificate Completion Certificate (Single Certificate) For Grades B, C, D, E, and F systems BS 7671 Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate BS :2000 Fire detection and fire alarm devices for dwellings - Part 1: Specification for smoke alarms. BS Fire detection and fire alarm devices for dwellings - Part 2: Specification for heat alarms. BS Fire detection and fire alarm devices for dwellings - Part 3: Specification for smoke alarms for deaf and hard of hearing people. BS : :2008 BS 5979 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings - Part 1: Code of practice for system design, installation, commissioning and maintenance. Code of practice for remote centres receiving signals from security systems. BS 7671 Requirements for electrical installations - IEE Wiring Regulations - Seventeenth edition. BS EN 54-2 Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 2: Control and indicating equipment. BS EN 54-3 Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 3: Fire alarm devices - Sounders. Required for Part P of the Building Regulations Required for Part P for mains supplies taken from an existing lighting circuit where there is a head detector in the kitchen *Companies logos may be used on the certificates, depending on the member s requirements BE EN 54-4 Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 4: Power supply equipment. BS EN 54-5 Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 5: Heat detectors - Point detectors. BS 9999:2008 Fire Safety in the Design, Management and Use of Buildings

15 BS EN 54-7 Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 7: Smoke detectors - Point detectors using scattered light, transmitted light or ionization. BS EN Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 11: Manual call points. BS EN Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 12: Smoke detectors - Optical beam detectors. BS EN ISO Fire safety - Vocabulary. LPS 1265: Issue 1.0 Requirements and testing procedures for the LPCB approval and listing of carbon monoxide fire detectors using electrochemical cells. Garston: Building Research Establishment, LCORS Guide 2008 Local uthorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services - Housing ct 2000 and Fire Safety Order National Guidance on Fire Safety Standards in Existing Residential ccommodation. FSO Guidance Doc. Fire Risk ssessment - Sleeping ccommodation. 19. FS Training Courses ccredited training courses for the design, commissioning, installation and maintenance of fire detection and alarm systems are available from the FS on from its Education and Training Department. Course details on application: Course T Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance of Fire Detection and larm Systems in Dwellings 20. Frequently sked uestions I am rewiring two houses one of which has a number of flats. Both have batteryonly smoke alarms at the top of the stairs. Do I have to add additional units, supply them from the mains and link them together? To answer the question we need to deal with these as separate functional buildings although they belong to the same person. One is the single-family dwelling of the owner of both dwellings and the other is a small two-floor rented HMO containing four flats. With the single-family dwelling it is the occupier who will dictate the system grade or category of any rewired smoke alarm system. He has no legal obligation to have any form of smoke alarm in his dwelling but may wish to purchase an upgrade if only for his own sense of safety. Since this is an existing house a BS Grade F LD3 system would be acceptable. Please refer to the section on Grades and Categories relating to Grade F LD3 systems. Where the structural fire precautions are of a lower standard a Grade D LD2 system should be recommended. Remember, all decisions on what is to be installed are the occupier s. In considering the two-storey house, HMO, with the four rented flats, this will be subject to a fire risk assessment provided by the landlord (the responsible person). The landlord has a legal duty of care to his tenants to ensure that they are kept safe from harm due to the effects of fire within the rented property. In this existing building the minimum would be subject to the outcome of the fire risk assessment, a Grade D LD3 system in the common areas, and if there are two or more rooms in the flats a Grade D LD3 system in each flat. In existing HMOs where the structural fire precautions are of a lower standard, the fire risk assessment should call for Grade D LD2 systems in both the communal areas and each flat. In the event that the flats have only one room, then there is no requirement in BS for a smoke alarm. However, it would be prudent to recommend to the landlord, that as a minimum, a battery or mains-powered smoke alarm should be installed in the room to cover the sleeping risk. These do not need to be connected to the communal system. Is BS a legal document and am I forced by law to implement its recommendations? Firstly, BS is only a Code of Practice and on its own it has no legal standing. BS is one way of complying with the Building Regulations and to some extent it is accepted as the best way to achieve compliance. If a project specification calls for BS and a contract is placed for the work to be carried out to this standard, BS becomes enshrined in the contract and therefore becomes a legal requirement under contract law. BS recommends that detectors should not be sited less than 500mm from walls and beams and BS recommends that they should not be sited less than 300mm. Which one is right? BS was written before BS when it was realised that where some corridors were less than 1m wide, 500mm from the wall would not be workable. Since BS 5839 permits detectors to be mounted on the wall, the 500mm quoted in BS 5839 is irrelevant. 300mm is acceptable. Battery-powered detectors - can they be used in new and materially altered buildings? No, these are listed as Grade F systems in BS They are there in order to recognise the existence of these units for use by owner-occupiers of existing singlestorey dwellings. There are warning provisos regarding the use of Grade F systems. Do Grades C, D and E systems need to be wired in fire-resistant cable? These grades of system need only to be provided with general cables, which are suitable for the voltage and current being used by the system. Only Grades and B require fire-resistant cables

16 BS says that for reasons of electrical safety, the mains supply to all parts of the fire alarm system should be supplied via an isolating protective device (such as a circuit-breaker). BS on the other hand, says that the circuit serving the fire detection and alarm system should preferably not be protected by any residual current device (RCD). Which is right? Dedicated circuits are required for Grades, B and C systems, so the use of an RCD does not present a problem. With the introduction of the 17th edition of BS IEE Wiring Regulations, all new dwellings will be required to have RCD units. Where Grades D and E smoke alarms are supplied from a frequently used lighting circuit, it is likely that by default, this will be provided with an RCD unit. In certain circumstances, there is a risk that the unit could trip out. BS states that fire alarm and detection systems should preferably not be protected by an RCD. However, this recommendation would be satisfied if a time delayed 100m RCD served the entire electrical installation including the smoke alarms. BS th Edition will change this. Now new and altered domestic installations, which include fire systems, will be required to have 30m RCD protection throughout. Careful consideration needs to be given to the possibility of accidental trip-out incidents when considering using the lighting circuits as the source of the mains supply. The use of a separate dedicated circuit is a means of ensuring that the risk of trip-out due to other equipment is reduced. Which Grades of system have to be wired in fire-resistant cable? Only systems which are covered by BS These are Grades and B systems. Do the supporting clips and fixings have to be fire-resistant? Fire-resistant clips and fixings are only required for Grades and B systems. ll other systems, Grades C, D and F, do not require fire-resistant cables, clips or fixings. Equipment, cables and clips should under no circumstances be simply stuck to the surfaces on which they are mounted or run. Does a dwelling come under the Fire Safety Order (FSO)? The only dwellings that are covered by the Fire Safety Order 2005 are Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO). These are houses that are occupied by persons who do not form a single household. Can I use a lighting circuit to power a Grade D system? Yes, but you need to be aware that a fluorescent light can affect the smoke alarm when the light is switched on and off. Reference should be made to the manufacturer s recommendations when using lighting circuits to power smoke alarms. When should remote transmission of signals be considered? Where occupants are at risk due to impaired mobility, or where occupants have speech impairment, which would stop them communicating by phone. Insurers will normally require remote transmission connections for category P systems. Do I need smoke detectors in bedrooms? BS does not require this. It is therefore a question for the occupiers to assess their fire risk and to judge if they need additional protection over and above what is recommended in the standard. I have a loft conversion where Building Control requires a smoke detector in the extension. The smoke alarms on the ground and first floors are not interlinked. Do we need to interlink all the smoke alarms? It is important that smoke alarms are linked together so that, in a fire situation, all the integral sounders and warning devices operate at the same time. Do we need to install a heat detector in an integral garage? Integrated garages should be fire compartments in their own right. However, a fire risk assessment would normally recommend that, since the category of system is an LD1 or LD2, then a heat detector should be installed in the garage, particularly if there is an internal door opening into the dwelling. If the recommended category is defined as LD3 and there is no internal door then the installation of a heat detector in the garage would not normally be required. However, the client should be consulted regarding the wisdom of installing a heat detector in these areas. Which room is the principal room of habitation? ny room in a dwelling other than a kitchen, utility room, bathroom, dressing room or WC. It is normally the most frequently used room for general daytime living. Which grades of system require the circuits to be monitored? Only Grades, B and C systems, which are those that use a control and indication panel, can have their circuits monitored. While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this booklet, neither the author nor the publisher can accept any liability for any inaccuracies or omissions from the information provided or any loss or damage arising from or related to its use

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