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Use RF interlinked fire alarms without the need for a control panel


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There has been a recent Fire Risk Assessment with a declared deficiency, which is described below:

 

Property:

Victorian terraced building that has been converted into 3 private single dwelling one-bedroom flats, one on each floor. Each flat is self contained with single occupancy. Each Flat leads directly to the communal area that comprises an entrance hallway, stairs with a landing on the first floor. The communal area is also the fire escape route.

 

Fire Risk Assessment deficiency:

"Recommendation is made to install an automatic fire alarm system for purpose-built flats and buildings converted into self-contained flats to a standard not in compliance with the Building Regulations 1991 or later.

It is recommended that an automatic fire detection and warning system designed, installed and maintained to the details given in British Standard 5839-part 1 and part 6 is provided.

 

Minimum system type for a three to six-storey building:

A mixed system as described in the Lacors – Housing Fire Safety Guidance;

Grade A: LD2 coverage in the common areas and a heat alarm in each flat in the room/lobby opening onto the escape route (interlinked); and

Grade 😧 LD3 coverage in each flat (non-interlinked smoke alarm in the room/lobby opening onto the escape route) to protect the sleeping occupants of the flat."

 

Proposed solution:

The objective of the systems is to effect the required simultaneous evacuation of all areas in the event of a fire in any flat or the escape route consisting of a single stairway and hall. To achieve this, the communal area requires mains operated with battery backup ‘smoke detection and alarm’ units that are interlinked, one on each landing and one in the hall. No separate electrical circuits are required; they can be wired into an existing lighting circuit and utilise in-built RF linking. In addition, these communal units also need to be interlinked with ‘heat detection and alarm’ units installed in the ceilings behind the flats’ entrance fire doors. This is because the flats’ fire-doors and intumescent strips form a fire and smoke barrier to the hall that would delay alerting the occupants of the other flats in event of a fire. Note, the use of the ‘heat detection and alarm’ units in the flats reduces the number of false alarms within the interlinked system, e.g. detection of burnt toast.

 

Purchase and install:

3 x KE1SFWRF Ionisation Smoke Alarms in communal area/escape route, and

3 x KE3SFWRF Heat Alarm - in each flat.

 

Question:

Does this arrangement satisfy the FRA deficiency?

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No as it is asking for a Grade A system in the common areas, which is one using commercial equipment (control panel, break glass points, etc) not Grade D domestic smoke/heat alarms.

The requirement reflects current benchmarks for this type of premises (LACORS guide and BS5839-6)

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Thanks for the quick reply. It does seem excessive for a terraced house conversion. I haven't seen this Grade A set up in other terraced house conversions. I was hoping to avoid the installation of a control panel. Any suggestions?

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Just another point, I understand that the Lacors Fire safety guidance states "22.4 BS 5839: part 6, The design, installation and servicing of fire detection and alarm systems in dwellings, is not a prescriptive standard, but is based on the principles of fire risk assessment. It should be treated with flexibility. The standards recommended... are to be regarded as base guidelines."  This presumably means there is room for practical discretion?

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