Fire safety is one of the key sections within the Building Regulations, which outline the requirements needed to provide an early warning of fire, escape routes, preventing the spread of fire, and providing access to firefighting facilities for the Fire and Rescue Services.
Across the UK there are different Fire Building Regulations which draw from different documents and require varying levels of protection. All of the regulations cover a wide range of safety fire safety requirements as detailed in this blog.
New build sites face numerous challenges during the construction phase of build. This blog will discuss the common challenges faced and how the FireAngel range offers a solution to the needs of all types of installations.
Smoke alarm positioning to meet Building Regulations
Building Regulations vary throughout the UK, and so when specifying and installing the different levels of fire safety should always be considered. Please refer to:
- England and Wales - Building Regulations Document B
- Scotland - Fire Technical Handbook – Domestic
- Northern Ireland - Technical Handbook E
Leading by example, Scotland has implemented a change in the law for fire and smoke alarms following the Grenfell tragedy in June 2017. This aims to instate a high standard of protection for all Scottish homes, not just the private rental sector. Further details about the upcoming change to Scottish legislation can be found here. The UK is expected to follow in Scotland's footsteps and also increase fire safety within UK homes within the coming year.
Currently all Building Regulations recommend:
- Fire detection systems should be provided in accordance with the relevant recommendations of BS 5839-6.
- All alarms should be interlinked to ensure audibility throughout property.
- (As outlined in BS 5839-6) smoke alarms positioned in circulation areas should be of optical type (or Multi-Sensor type incorporating an optical sensor).
The British Standards Institution updated Part 6 of BS 5839:6 in 2019 – this applies to architects, building professionals, installers and enforcing authorities to ensure constant compliance when specifying, installing and maintaining fire detection systems in domestic properties. Click here to read an overview advising of 2019 changes to BS 5839-6.
Minimum Grade and Category of Fire Detection and Fire Alarm System
Latest revisions include new minimum grades and categories of systems split by new build or existing property. 2019 updates have been made to reflect current types of living conditions, see summary table below*:
* This information should be considered as guidance only, for further advice please refer to the BS 5839:6-2019 standard.
Mains Powered Alarms
Building regulations stipulate that mains alarms are fitted. The FireAngel product range offers a complete choice of mains smoke, heat and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms with either 9V battery back-up or 10 year lithium battery back-up to suit all types of installation projects. FireAngel's optical and Multi-Sensor smoke alarms both meet the required standards of the building regulations. Further details on the different types of sensing technology can be found here. FireAngel's Multi-Sensor technology is in fact used and trusted by over 90% of the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services and offers a faster reaction to all fire types.
By using FireAngel, contractors for new build properties are able to cost-effectively fit high-quality fire safety solutions to meet the required standards.
Mains Range with 9v Battery Backup
We understand that cost can be a huge factor for new build projects, our competitively priced mains range with a 9V battery back-up offers a cost effective solution without compromising on quality. A Push2Fit base is included with every mains alarm to ensure secure and speedy connection of the alarm to the base unit saving time and money on installations.
These alarms can also be wirelessly interlinked using an RF interlink base.
The RF-BW-T interlink base is quick to install and link, ensuring greater output and savings. Ideal when refurbishing or extending an existing properly as there is no messy chasing or trunking to worry about.
Common challenges faced by new build sites:
- Reliable Performance - Some new build properties can be prone to power surges when located on sites where there is an inconsistent power supply. Our FireAngel mains range with 9V battery back-up has a greater resistance to these power surges offering reliable performance.
- Easy Fitting and Simple Installation - Each alarm from the FireAngel mains range with 9V battery backup includes a Push2Fit base. Push2Fit has been specifically designed to ensure a quick and easy method of fitting in 3 steps - saving contractors time and money on installations.
- Modern Look – Not only do our range of alarms perform well whilst remaining cost-effective, we offer up-to-date sleek designs which are aesthetically pleasing designs to compliment contemporary building interiors. Fire safety needn’t be unattractive and can look good whilst ensuring it protects against fires!
The Price of Fitting Recommended Technology:
The launch of our mains range with 9V battery back-up demonstrates FireAngel's move away from outdated ionisation technology with it's high potential for false alarms. The UK Fire and Rescue Service no longer advocate fitting ionisation technology due to it's high potential for false alarms along with storage and disposal issues relating to radioactive materials. Ionisation technology is now also illegal in many European countries. However ionisation alarms are the cheapest alarms available to contractors and are often installed in new build projects.
We are supporting Fire and Rescue Service recommendations and have now phased out all ionisation alarms from the FireAngel range. As outlined by Mark Hazelton, National Fire Chiefs Council Lead:
“We’ve moved away from ionisation detectors (normally the cheapest detectors sold). Whilst these alarms are still sensitive to smoke and will detect fires, they can be over-sensitive, causing spurious (false) alarms when toast is burnt”
You can read more of Mark’s interview here.
In April 2018, we launched a new FireAngel range of mains with 9V battery back-up powered alarms, which offers the benefits of optical sensing technology for the price of ionisation. This new range of mains smoke alarms offers optical sensing technology as recommended in the British Standard BS 5839-6 for installation in circulation areas such as hallways and landings.
Ultimate Protection for New Builds with Multi-Sensor Alarms (Grade D1)
The FireAngel Specification range of mains alarms offers smoke and heat alarms with 10 year lithium battery back-up. The SM-SN-1 smoke alarm has a Multi-Sensor as standard which is the sensing technology of choice for over 90% of the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services.
As fire safety technology continues to advance, Multi-Sensor alarms (those monitoring for more than one indication of fire e.g. smoke and heat) are becoming increasingly available and affordable. UK Fire and Rescue services now recommend fitting Multi-Sensor smoke alarms to enhance fire safety protection within the home.
Whilst offering enhanced protection, Multi-Sensor alarms provide a quicker, more reliable, response to all types of fire - so giving occupants more time to escape - and also reduce the risks of false alarms. You can find out more about Multi-Sensor technology in blog ‘What Is FireAngel Multi-Sensor Technology?’.
FireAngel Specification alarms can also be interlinked wirelessly by fitting a Smart RF wireless module into the head of the smoke or heat alarm. FireAngel Specification alarms are also compatible with FireAngel Connect for remote monitoring.
Interlinking Alarms and Mixed System Capabilities
Smart RF Technology
FireAngel Smart RF technology provides flexible wireless solutions for both hard-wired and battery systems. Up to 50 Smart RF devices including smoke, heat or carbon monoxide alarms, can be interlinked in a network for maximum coverage.
There are 3 main ways to interlink smoke alarms:
- Hardwired interlinked
- Interlinked via wireless Smart RF radio-frequency
- Mixed systems - a hybrid system of hard-wired and Smart RF. This provides contractors with system flexibility. Additional smoke, heat, CO and specialised products such as wireless alarm control units and/or strobes and pads designed for the deaf and hard of hearing can easily be wirelessly added or removed.
Click here to read more about interlinking alarms, the different ways to interlink including flexible solutions for mixed system installations.
With a complete choice of sensor and battery back-up types the FireAngel range of mains alarms offer a fire safety solution to suit all types of installation projects and budgets and can tackle many of the common challenges faced by new build sites.
To find out more about the FireAngel range of mains alarms contact your local specification manager.
- Your guide for smoke positioning to meet building regulations – click here to read the blog.
- Find out all about Multi-Sensor technology here.
- Click here to read our interview with National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) lead, Mark Hazelton and find out why the Fire and Rescue services are moving away from ionisation technology.
- See Ian Ballinger’s grades and categories of system blog for more information on this.