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Standards & Regulations / Fire – Building Regulations

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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 requirements including escape routes, internal fire spread and access for the fire and rescue services.

 

England and Wales – Building Regulations Document B
(Volume 1)

These regulations cover new build properties, materially altered dwellings, loft conversations and certain building extensions for standard dwellings, and state that all dwellings should be provided with an alarm system to at least Grade D, Category LD3  the installation of mains powered alarms with an integral back-up power supply within the escape routes of the property (i.e. hallways and landings). There should be at least one smoke alarm on every storey.

In addition, the Building Regulations also require a heat alarm to be installed in any kitchen areas where the kitchen is not separated from the circulation space or stairway by a door.

Multi-sensor alarms are generally more suitable for installation in circulation areas (hallways and landings) next to kitchens. Heat alarms are recommended for placing directly in kitchens and in unconverted loft space. 

All alarms should be interlinked (either using hard wiring or wireless interlink) to ensure audibility throughout the property in the event of an alarm being activated.

However the Building Regulations also reference the British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 (also known as BS 5839: Pt. 6) and recommend that an alarm system is installed in-line with this.

BS 5839-6 advises that new build and materially altered premises should have a Grade D, Category LD2 alarm system with smoke alarms installed in escape routes and high risk areas e.g. hallways, landings and the principal habitable room such as the living room along with heat detectors in every kitchen.

Following the guidance of BS 5839-6:2013 new build properties and materially altered dwellings should therefore have a Grade D, Category LD2 alarm system installed.

 

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Scotland – Fire Technical Handbook – Domestic

The Scottish regulations cover new build properties, materially altered dwellings, loft conversions, certain building extensions and any work that requires a building warrant.

The handbook states that all dwellings should be provided with a Grade D alarm system installed as follows:

  • At least one smoke alarm in the main living space (commonly the living room)
  • At least one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey (such as hallways and landings)
  • At least one smoke alarm in every access room serving an inner room
  • At least one heat alarm installed in every kitchen

Optical or multi-sensor alarms are recommended for the main living space and all circulation areas whilst heat alarms are recommended for kitchens.

Depending on the specific layout of the property, the above generally equates to Category LD2.

All alarms should be interlinked (either using hard wiring or wireless interlink) to ensure audibility throughout the property in the event of an alarm being activated.

The Fire Technical Handbook also references the British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 and recommend that an alarm system is installed in-line with this.

 

LD2 - Medium Protection.jpg 

Northern Ireland – Technical Booklet E

These regulations cover new build properties, materially altered dwellings, loft conversions and certain building extensions.

The guidance in Northern Ireland maintains that all dwellings should provide an alarm system to at least Grade D, Category LD2 – meaning the installation of mains powered smoke alarms with an integral back-up power supply as follows:

  • At least one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey (such as hallways and landings)
  • At least one smoke alarm in the principal habitable room (generally the living room)
  • At least one heat alarm installed in every kitchen.

 

The Technical Booklet states that optical smoke alarms are generally more suitable for installation in circulation areas (hallways and landings) next to kitchens and that heat alarms are recommended for positioning within kitchens.

 

All alarms should be interlinked (either using hard wiring or wireless interlink) to ensure audibility throughout the property in the event of an alarm being activated.

The Technical Booklet also references the British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 and recommends that an alarm system is installed in-line with this.

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Please note that the above information is relevant to standard domestic properties up to three storeys with no individual floor level of over 200m². Further information can be found in Building Regulations Document B for England and Wales, Fire Technical Handbook – Domestic for Scotland and Technical Handbook E for Northern Ireland.

 

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