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Guest Richardswee

How often do fire alarms need to be tested?

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Guest Richardswee

Could you please let me know if a new legislation is in force ? I live in a block of flats only six flats with in the block, they where built in 2007.they use to get checked quarterly or more than , but have been told it needs to be checked once a week due to new legislation .

Richard

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It always been once a week.

But saying that you don't test everything once a week, you pick a random call point and activate it, then next time you should pick a different call point. (In reality its often the same one) But you must make sure all sounders activate.

I think you are confusing servicing a fire alarm with testing a fire alarm. Servicing is every quarter, testing should be every week. (At the same time so people know it is only a test)

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Very sorry Harry, I believe you will find that a fire alarm should be serviced every 3 months, Often they will check 25% of the alarm, each service, so by the time 12 months have passed everything will have been checked, That is also why is some places you will see devices with small coloured dots stuck on them. its so they know which device was tested in which quarter.

Intruder alarms are tested once every six months.

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Hi Green-Foam

The new BS5839 Pt1 2013 states: 'The recommended period between successive inspection and servicing visits should not exceed six month.' (pg 122 chapter 45.3)

There is also a reference later on to say that annual tasks should be broken down into two or more visits.

So, while more visits are of course possible, only two are the minimum as required by the relevant British Standard (exception: vented battery systems)

Harry

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Guest KimPark

If a fire alarm is fitted in a communal area of residential purpose built block of flats is there a legal requirment to test it 6 monthly?

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Guest Olwyn

Hello, can you tell me if the 6 monthly testing should be 6 months or less? I ask because I live in a purpose build block of flats and we have not had a test for at least 7.5 months. Will this invalidate our insurance? The property manager said the 6 months is not cast in stone!

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I am assuming the property manager has conducted a fire risk assessment and considers a fire alarm is necessary, also has to maintain it in good working order. He/she is using BS 5839 as good practise which states the maintenance should be a minimum of 6 months but it is only guidance and if things went pear shaped he/she would have to explain to the enforcing authority why they had varied from the guidance, but as they have said its not cast in stone its all about risk assessment. I wouldn't think this would invalidate your insurance but you need to speak to the insurance company to get a definitive answer.

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Guest NormanRans

What is the legal requirement for fire alarm testing frequency in lease hold flats. We do not have an onsite warden, just a weekly visit from another estate manager

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It depends on which grade of fire alarm installed for the common areas and the smoke or heat detectors in each flat should be tested weekly which is the tenants responsibility.

BS 5839 part 6 2013. All Grades of system need to be tested periodically to ensure that there has not been any major failure. This does not require any specialist knowledge, and can normally be carried out, quite easily, by the occupier of the premises, who will, however, need simple instructions in how to do so.

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Guest Hunt

I am looking for guidance on the testing frequency of sound levels for audible devices. We carry out wekly tests and report on any sound issues. We test the function i,e, the sound levels on an annual basis as well as at commissioning. I have a maintenance manager that states this is not required and that operation only is required.Where can I find this defined.

Regards

Sean

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I am assuming when you say "testing frequency of sound levels for audible devices" you are referring to a fire alarm system sounders. Your manager is correct you only require to do sound levels when commissioning the system or when conducting the weekly test. If it is reported that somebody did not hear the alarm, you need to investigate, and you may need to check sound levels in particular areas. The standard is BS 5839 Part 1 AMD 2013.

Check out http://www.firesafe.org.uk/fire-alarms/

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Guest Stan

Does the weekly test log book need to be on display for all residents to view within a residential block consisting of 5 flats? What are the consequences if we miss a week test?

Stan

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If you are an employer you are required to keep your employees informed of certain items regarding fire safety in your workplace but as a landlord you have no such requirement regarding tenants. You should make every effort to complete your tests when required but the occasional foul up is not going to make a significant difference and I doubt any fire and rescue service inspecting officer would take you to task over it, other than a slap on the wrist.

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Guest DanielTa

Hi,

I'm curious who you'd recommend I get in touch with with regards to the fire alarms not working in my residential building? I live in a nine story apartment building and have been informed that the alarms do not work above the third floor and have not been checked in at least six months.

Kind regards,

Daniel

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Guest Maurice44

Hello,

i live in a converted house. There are 4 flats. Two on the ground floor. One on the first floor and one on the top floor.

there is a communal stairwell to access the flats on first and top floor but ground floor flats have individual and separate entrance. They do however have a door to access the stairwell to retrieve mail from post boxes on ground floor.

there are breakers on each floor( 3 in total) plus smoke alarm sensors on each floor.

we are attempting to arrange servicing but do not know how often it should be carried out. We have been told twice by one contractor and three times by another.

each flat also has individual smoke alarms. Can you help?

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You need to state which grade of fire alarm we are discussing and you say "there are breakers on each floor" what are breakers? In the flats it is likely to be a grade D, E or F in the common areas it could be any.

Check out http://www.cieh.org/policy/fire_safety_existing_housing.html section 22 page 23 for information.

http://www.safelincs.co.uk/pages/bs5839-6.html

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Here are two standards BS 5839 part 1 for non-domestic premises and BS 5839 part 6 for domestic dwellings.

Part 1 has only one grade so it is irrelevant but does have three categories, further split detailing the coverage (M, L1 to L5, and P1 to P3). Part 6 has 6 grades A to F and two categories further split detailing the coverage (LD1 to LD3, PD1 to PD2).

Part 1 has only one testing and maintenance requirements check out http://www.firesafe.org.uk/fire-alarms/  Part 6 is a little more complicated.

Part 6 Testing.

All Grades should periodically be tested to ensure that there has been no major failure. This does not require any specialist knowledge, and can normally be carried out by the occupants, with some simple instructions how to.

Grade A systems should be tested every week in accordance with the recommendations contained in BS 5839-1.

All systems, other than Grade A systems, should be tested at least every week by operating the fire detectors in the premises. In the case of smoke alarms and any heat alarms, the weekly test may be carried out by use of a test button.

If the dwelling has been unoccupied for a long period of time, the occupier should check immediately on reoccupying the dwelling that the system is still operating.

Maintenance                                                                                                                                       

It is essential that the system is subject to periodic inspection, to ensure the reliability of the system.

In dwellings in which a Grade A system is provided, periodic inspection and servicing needs to be carried out competent service engineer.

Grade A systems should be inspected and serviced at periods not exceeding six months in accordance with the recommendations of BS 5839-1. Batteries in any radio-linked devices should be changed by the service engineer before the low battery warning condition is likely to be given.

Grade B and Grade C systems should be serviced every six months in accordance with the supplier’s instructions.

Smoke alarms in Grade D, Grade E and Grade F systems should be cleaned periodically in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, in more dusty locations more frequent cleaning and the fire detectors should be replaced approximately every ten years.

Check out http://www.firesafe.org.uk/fire-alarms/ for details on testing and maintenance of a grade A system.

Check out your user instructions that accompany your fire detectors for D to F grades.

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Guest Brian C

To clarify - I am asking about system TESTS, not the regular maintenance or servicing

The Gov.uk website states there must be "regular checks" and most people I have asked say this should be weekly. However I understand this is a recommendation not a legal requirement. Is that correct?

Essentially we have a brand new system and I want to provide monthly tests. Of course, this is about managing risk, but would a monthly test be a legal problem?

Brian

 

 

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Your fire risk assessment would have to justify why deviating from the benchmark of weekly testing would not lower the standard of life safety of the relevant persons.

It's possible, that's the point of risk assessment, but you need to back it up as enforcers will initially look for weekly tests unless you convince them why monthly is OK

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