Smoke alarms, Fire detection and Alarm systems in dwelling
BS 5839-6:2004 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Code of practice for the design, installation and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in dwellings
These regulations have serious impact on architects, system designers, installers and landlords in the private or public sector, all of whom were required to familiarise themselves with these important recommendations. Landlords in particular needed to abide by these recommendations, as legal liability with regard to ‘duty of care’ would undoubtedly become a serious issue should a fire occur in an inadequately protected property.
In short, BS 5839: Pt.6 2004 is essential to providing adequate fire protection in all dwelling types.
Important Criteria: -
- Special design requirements for fire detection and fire alarm systems in dwellings
- Recommendations on domestic smoke alarms
- New technologies including multi-sensor detection, carbon monoxide detection and heat detectors
- Fire warning systems for those with impaired hearing
- Recommendations for limiting false alarms by appropriate system design, system management and improved technology
- An informative annex on how to approach risk assessment and determine system design
- The Document Itself
It is also pointed out that compliance with a British Standard cannot automatically provide legal immunity. However, for a landlord or installer, compliance with the latest Code is obviously the best line of defence in any claim made against them.
The new 2004 Code further takes into consideration “changes in technology, custom and practice, and changes in guidance that supports national building regulations” since 1995.
BS 5839: Pt.6 also covers almost every conceivable type of premises, including:
- Multi-storey houses
- Individual flats
- Individual maisonettes
- Mobile homes
- Individual sheltered accommodation
- Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
- NHS housing in the community
Both new and existing dwellings are covered.
Communal parts of flats, maisonettes, sheltered accommodation and hostels are not included; neither are caravans.
The Grade System
Relates to system engineering, not level of protection.
BS 5839: Pt.6 grades fire detection systems from Grade F up to Grade A. Generally speaking, the greater the fire risk and the more demanding the application, the more comprehensive the system needs to be.
Grade F – Battery powered smoke alarms
Grade E - Interlinked mains powered smoke alarms with NO standby battery supply
Grade D – Interlinked mains powered smoke alarms with WITH integral standby battery supply
Grade C – Detectors and sounder with a central control system ( Linked to a main control System)
Grade B – Detectors and sounder with in compliance with BS5839 Pt1, with the exception of the control panel
Grade A – Fire Detection and Alarm System installed to BS 5839: Pt.1
A question remains for landlords - can they be sure that their tenants are paying their electricity bills? Given that many tenants may have low incomes (in many local authorities, 70% or more of all tenants are on subsidised incomes), they may well experience periods of disconnection - and yet the landlord could well be liable if the alarm fails to sound because the tenant has not paid his or her bills! Unfair or not, as the law stands, it obviously makes good commercial sense to ensure that a reliable, high quality back-up battery facility is in place.
Levels of Protection - Categories of System
This was previously referred to as ‘type’ of system. It relates to the level of protection afforded by the system.
LD1 - A system installed throughout the dwelling, incorporating detectors in all circulation spaces that form part of the escape routes from the dwelling, and in all rooms and areas in which fire might start, other than toilets, bathrooms and shower rooms
LD2 - A system incorporating detectors in all circulation spaces that form part of the escape routes from the dwelling, and in all rooms or areas that present a high risk of fire
LD3 - A system incorporating detectors in all circulation spaces that form part of the escape routes from the dwelling
For further advise please contact Century 21 who hold Full BAFE SP203-1 accreditation for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of Fire Detection and Alarm Systems.
The certificates century 21 can offer ensure and provide proof that YOU the purchaser or end user are compliant with the government Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) by choosing a competent Contractor, that is audited and inspected by a Third Party Governing Body
Century 21: -