Author Topic: Fire Alarm Testing in Flats  (Read 340 times)

Offline K Lard

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Fire Alarm Testing in Flats
« on: April 08, 2019, 02:32:16 PM »
Scenario: Two storey flats provided with BS 5839 Part 1 System with detection in the common escape route, internal escape routes in flats and every risk room within in the flats. There is no 'Part 6' detection, the evacuation strategy is simultaneous. Is it reasonable for the fire alarm to be is tested monthly or should it be insisted that it is tested weekly?

Online AnthonyB

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Re: Fire Alarm Testing in Flats
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2019, 08:25:16 PM »
The benchmark is of course weekly and whilst deviation is possible if it can be justified look at it like this - the occupancy is at a higher risk than say an office (which tests weekly) so how can you justify a lesser standard of testing, especially as you are unlikely to get reliable daily panel checks for faults (as formed part of Sainsbury's case, backed up by lots of statistics on how most faults were discovered, namely daily panel inspections and engineer PPM visits, rarely weekly tests).

It's not impossible, the risk based regime is meant to have flexibility but you have to think of the possible consequences of deviating in your going along with this.

It's true it's easier to manage as some residential sites already accommodate monthly visits for general and emergency lighting checks and could easily slot in the alarm as well, but would struggle with the burden of weekly visits - but that alone isn't enough justification.
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Offline Dinnertime Dave

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Re: Fire Alarm Testing in Flats
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2019, 12:58:08 AM »
Scenario: Two storey flats provided with BS 5839 Part 1 System with detection in the common escape route, internal escape routes in flats and every risk room within in the flats. There is no 'Part 6' detection, the evacuation strategy is simultaneous. Is it reasonable for the fire alarm to be is tested monthly or should it be insisted that it is tested weekly?

It is pretty much standard practice to test monthly. Whether it is right or wrong is open to debate, but I'm not aware of monthly testing being challenged.

Online AnthonyB

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Re: Fire Alarm Testing in Flats
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2019, 07:59:27 PM »
I wonder if they'll update the benchmarks - no point in having them if they are never followed or enforced?

Of course how far back does the weekly testing go historically? The frequency seems to me to go back to the early days of fire certification, when fire alarm systems were far more basic (many being just a switch and a load of 3 core mains fed cable with call points and bells/sirens wired in) with no fault monitoring at all in many cases or really basic monitoring and the only way you know the system worked was testing from a call point.

Technology has advanced significantly since then - is there a case for a more general change to monthly backed up in the guidance?

Discuss!
Anthony Buck
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Offline colin todd

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Re: Fire Alarm Testing in Flats
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2019, 10:46:09 PM »
This was all discussed when BS 5839-1 was revised in 2017, when a specific proposal for monthly testing was debated at length.  The consensus was to stick to weekly testing.  Howeever, i take the point that, for bloakcs of fats, this could be regarded as unduly onerous.
Colin Todd, C S Todd & Associates

Offline Fishy

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Re: Fire Alarm Testing in Flats
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2019, 07:01:30 AM »
As a fat bloke, I take great exception to the fact that my safety in case of fire appears to have been taken so lightly.  I think a strongly-worded letter to the BSI committee FSH/12 is in order:

...for bloakcs of fats..."
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 11:42:13 AM by Fishy »