Fire Safety, Smart Home

How changes to BS 5839:6 creates an opportunity to future-proof domestic properties

Following the BSI’s 2019 update of the domestic fire detection and alarm system standard, specifically Part 6 of BS 5839, Ian Ballinger, Certification Manager for FireAngel, outlines the current opportunity the industry has to not only comply with these regulations, but future proof domestic properties for years to come.

Notable changes have been made to the British Standard BS 5839-6 for fire detection in respect of rented, owner occupied and sheltered housing, whilst revised guidance on the installation of communal fire alarm systems in purpose-built blocks of flats has also been introduced. Currently, Fire Safety and Building Control Officers, amongst others, will be advising landlords of social, private and sheltered housing on the fire protection they should specify to meet these new requirements.

Whilst installing suitable systems that are reflective of these new minimum standards is the current priority, there is a wider opportunity for the industry to take a proactive approach to fire safety that ultimately future-proofs the property and its tenants. This can be achieved by stocking and recommending innovative fire protection systems that have the flexibility to be adapted at a later date. 

For example, it is recommended that smoke and heat alarms are replaced every 10 years. However, in the social rental and sheltered housing sectors, it’s possible the tenants within those properties may change within that 10 year period. By leaving the same alarm systems installed in the property for a decade, it poses the problem that the initial solutions installed may not meet the safety requirements required to protect the new individual or family now living in the property. This is particularly important for elderly or vulnerable individuals or people who might be considered to have an increased level of disability and are therefore a higher level of potential risk with regard to fire and carbon monoxide safety.

Installing solutions such as FireAngel’s Specification range, which is Smart RF compatible, provides social landlords with the flexibility to upgrade the system by installing a Smart RF radio module into the alarm in the future. The Smart RF radio module provides wireless interlinking of up to 50 alarms, with the opportunity to also access vital information including current status, alarm history, replacement dates and network health through the activation of FireAngel Connect. Social landlords can benefit from using this technology as it also offers remote monitoring of alarms and a desktop view of low and high risk trends that can proactively help to prevent fires.

This is particularly important for vulnerable tenants, such as those with dementia, who may be displaying high risk patterns of behaviour, including leaving the hob on after cooking a meal. The ‘FireAngel Connect Gateway’ uses a unique algorithm and features ‘FireAngel Predict®’ patented technology to identify and highlight dangerous patterns of behaviour. As it also features Smart RF technology, it can be wirelessly interlinked to the network at a later date to provide preventative fire safety notifications via remote monitoring of the alarms.

This information can be used to manage risk more accurately by property type and provides more accurate maintenance planning. This not only enables social and private landlords to adapt the technology to suit the needs of each individual tenant based on their level of risk when they move into the building, it also supports the future proofing of the property with tenancy changes and against any further legislative updates.

Additionally, this approach provides wholesalers and contractors with greater flexibility to support their customer needs as they have the opportunity to stock core alarms that can then be supported by a Smart RF wireless module.

Whilst achieving constant compliance in line with latest legislative updates will always take precedence within the industry at that current moment, landlords, contractors and wholesalers have the opportunity to take this protection one step further by installing ranges, like FireAngel Specification, that feature Smart RF technology to enhance the safety of individual tenants and property protection. Contact your local Specification Manager today to find out how you can ensure you stock, supply, fit or maintain products that provide maximum fire and CO Safety.

bs 5839-6:2019

Further Reading: 

– British Standards BS 5839-6:2019 – What’s changed? 

– BSI ‘Why we’ve updated the domestic fire detection and alarm systems standard’ – Click here

*Please note: British Standard 5839‑6 takes the form of guidance and recommendations. It should not be quoted as if it were a specification and particular care should be taken to ensure that claims of compliance are not misleading. Any user claiming compliance with this British Standard is expected to be able to justify any course of action that deviates from its recommendations. For more information or to read the standard in full, please visit the British Standards website.