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6 Reasons why fire alarms fail to meet the standards – Understanding Fire Regulations!
Understanding Fire Regulations!
Members of the BAFE SP203 modular scheme are required to fully meet the requirements of BS5839:2002 and are inspected continually to ensure this is achieved. The industry has seen a rise in non-approved installers, electricians and intruder alarm installers supplying systems and astonishingly have no fire accreditations.
Here at Keybury we often takeover existing fire systems as a requirement of the independent insurer, during the takeover we often find many areas of non-compliance with the standards which are typically fitted by non-approved installers.
Here are the 6 most common variations from the standard:
- 1. Let’s talk contracts! There is no maintenance contract in place. Systems must be serviced at six-monthly intervals as a minimum as a requirement of BS5839:2002 Pt 1. Occasionally we find that some systems are in fact under a maintenance regime, but their service intervals are too long and may be serviced at 12 monthly intervals.
- 2. The power of a power supply! On a regular basis, we have found that the 230v mains spur-point does not meet the regulations. We have found that this is because it is a standard spur which is wired in a non-fireproof cable, or that the mains point is fed from a local circuit instead of its own dedicated supply.
- 3. Picking the right cable! Alarmingly non fire-proof cable has been used many a time. We also often find that systems have been wired in conventional mains twin and earth cable. Sometimes we discover systems where the zone cabling is mains, and the sounder wiring is fireproof – this was the required standard until 1998. However many systems are still installed to this standard!
- 4. The plastic V metal dispute! Possibly the most common failing is incorrect cable fixings. Cables are frequently secured with plastic clips rather than metal fireproof fastenings – An easily rectified issue! The current standard requires the ‘critical signalling path’ to be fixed with fire-proof fixings spaced out every 30cm horizontally and 40cm vertically, a standard which is rarely met. It is really time consuming to ensure the standards are met by drilling and screwing metal fixings every 30cm, because of this it has become apparent that non-approved installers cut their labour cost by using hammer-in-plastic clips at non-standard spacing.
- 5. Get in the zone! No zone schematic adjacent to the control panel. We frequently find a list stating the zone and the room in which it relates to. Unfortunately a list like this is not useful to a fire fighter who would be attending a call and has no knowledge of the building layout. It is a requirement to have a zone drawing complete with a ‘you are here’ marker.
- 6. No one likes tests, But that is no excuse! A system should be tested weekly.
UK fire legislation requires the ‘Responsible Person’ in your organisation to use ‘competent people to maintain your fire precautions ultimately you are responsible. The government advises that the easiest way to prove competence is to use a third-party approved installer (e.g. BAFE approved).
If you would like a free consultation and review of your safety systems to ensure you’re on the right side of the law then contact us.