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Contents

Section 1 Specification of Alarm Systems

Section 2 Fire Detection and Alarm Equipment

Section 3 Design of Fire Detection and Alarm Installations

Section 4 Evaluation
                                             


 

Description:  The purpose of this unit is to enable you to produce and evaluate detailed designs for fire detection and alarm installations for complex buildings.

Author:  Gates MacBain Associates


Section 1  Specification of Alarm Systems


Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Discus the considerations relating to the specifications of an alarm system.


The requirements of an alarm system will depend on the type of building, its use and the likely threat. Consequently, a detailed knowledge is needed of these factors before any specification can be produced. This will entail the analyses of the architectural design and construction of the building and the materials used.
 
It will also need a detailed analyse of the work procedures and processes used within the building and the dangers that these pose.
 
A detailed assessment must also be made with regard the legislation that exists and its relevance to the building; as all specifications must adhere to the legislation. The constructionsite unit Statutory Requirements provides details of these.
 
A thorough understanding of the types of systems available and their use must be understood in order to ensure that the equipment specified is the most appropriate for the situation.
 
 
Performance Requirements
 
A specific requirement may be set by the client/specifier with regard to not only the installation detection requirements but also the installation itself, these may include:
 
• Compliance with regulatory requirements
• Multi-Protocol
• Modular concept
• Simple, robust design
• Intuitive to use
• Easy to maintain
• Low cost to maintain & hold spares
• Easy to expand
• Easy to install
• Easy to configure
 
This may result in specific system or manufacturers being specified and some organisations have a policy relating to their requirements as found in the document by Imperial College London which lays out their specifications (See web link).
 
The College has stipulated that future installations use as specific manufacturer and protocol as they consider:
 
• quality,
• user friendliness,
• guaranteed replacement parts and that
• software update are readily available.
 
 
A number of the manufacturers will provide details of their systems on their website, an example of which is the Siemens website below though you should obtain the names of other manufactures and visit their websites in order to compare the products available.
 
An excellent source of information on the design process can be found by using the Design Process link below. Another good source is the ‘Fire Safe’ website which is also linked to.
 
A good source of information relating to the installation and maintenance of fire detection systems can be found in the Red Book, this can be accessed on line from the web link below or downloaded from the site.
 


Websites


Constructionsite Units

  • Statutory Requirements
  • Legislation & Standards


Self-Assessment Task

  • List and explain the factors which need to be considered prior to the specification of an alarm system.




Section 2  Fire Detection and Alarm Equipment



Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Outline the options of fire detection and alarm equipment.


The detection system must be able to act whenever a threat is detected regardless of the circumstance, this means that a back-up system is required to allow the failure of given parts of a system, i.e. if the electricity supply is interrupted then a battery system will automatically take over.
 
The types of detectors available are looked at in the constructionsite unit Fire Fighting Installations and you should ensure that you are aware of the options available by visiting this unit. You can also ensure that you understand the basics by reading the appropriate Chapter of the Building Services Handbook.  A detailed assessment of the specification for each option will provide details as to their siting and the distance between each unit. Guidance on the systems available can be found by visiting manufactures websites, an example being Siemens linked to below.
 


Websites


Publications

  • Hall, F & Greeno, R (2009) Building Services Handbook; Elsevier: Oxford (Chapter 13)


Constructionsite Units


Self-Assessment Task

  • Assess the options of fire detection and alarm equipment which is available and state the situations where they could be used.





Section 3  Design of Fire Detection and Alarm Installations



Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • State the main factors which relate to the recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems.


The design of the installation should be considered at the design stage of the building and not as an afterthought once the building is designed. Consideration needs to be given to the environmental factors but also the way that it integrates into the building. If cables are used then routes need to be planned around the structure, which ensure the best possible routes and protection. Although greater use is being made of wire free systems and you should be aware of the circumstance where these can, and cannot be used.
 
Buildings contain a wide variety of environments and hazards and some, i.e. hospitals will have a number within the same building; each with their own specific hazards as well as more general considerations.   
 
BS 5839:1  provides recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in and around buildings, other than dwellings. It does not recommend whether or not a fire alarm system should be installed in any given premises. Recommendations for fire detection and alarm systems in dwellings are given in BS 5839-6.
 
The term fire detection and alarm systems, in BS 5839, includes systems that range from those comprising only one or two manual call points and sounders to complex networked systems that incorporate a large number of automatic fire detectors, manual call points and sounders, connected to numerous inter-communicating control and indicating panels. The term also includes systems that are capable of providing signals to initiate the operation of other fire protection systems and equipment (such as fire extinguishing systems, smoke control systems or automatic door release equipment) or safety measures (such as shut down of air handling systems, closing of oil or gas valves, or grounding of lifts). A guide to BS5839 can be found at the web link shown below.
 
BS EN 12845 specifies the requirements and gives recommendations for the design, installation and maintenance of fixed fire sprinkler systems in buildings and industrial plants. It states the requirements for the design of sprinkler systems and provides recommendations for any addition, extension, repair or other modification to a sprinkler system. They do not apply to water spray or deluge systems.

BS EN 12845 covers the classification of hazards, provision of water supplies, components to be used, installation and testing of the system, maintenance, and the extension of existing systems. It identifies construction details of buildings, which are the minimum necessary for satisfactory performance of sprinkler systems complying with this standard.

The Contents of BS EN 12845 covers the following which are important in the design of a system:

1.  Scope 
2.  Normative references 
3.  Terms and definitions 
4.  Contract planning and documentation 
5.  Extent of sprinkler protection 
6.  Classification of occupancies and fire hazards 
7.  Hydraulic design criteria 
8.  Water supplies
9.  Type of water supply 
10. Pumps
11. Installation type and size 
12. Spacing and location of sprinklers 
13. Pipe sizing and layout 
14. Sprinkler design characteristics and uses 
15. Valves 
16. Alarms and alarm devices 
17. Pipework 
18. Signs, notices, and information 
19. Commissioning
20. Maintenance
 
Guidance with regard to the design of a system can be found by visiting the Fire Design Guide website below.
 


Websites


Publications

  • Hall, F & Greeno, R (2009) Building Services Handbook; Elsevier: Oxford (Chapter 13)


Self-Assessment Task

  • List and discuss the main factors which relate to the recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems.





Section 4  Evaluation


Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Evaluate a fire detection and alarm system.


The evaluation of a system will look at it from a number of viewpoints:
  • Appropriateness – this will determine that the system design is suitable prior to installation and that it meets all the requirements with regard to the building structure, use and legislation requirements.
  • Commercial viability – will look at the installations and running costs
  • Evaluation of performance – this will be done by comprehensive tests on the completion of the installation and the ongoing assessment on how it is performing. 
Its’ objective is to ensure that the system is fit for purpose and that it is efficient and cost effective. This will mean that all aspects need to be assessed and tested. It also means ensuring that it reaches the minimum standards required, one way of do that is to confirm that it has the Kitemark.
 

Kitemark Certification Scheme
 
The Kitemark Certification Scheme applies to all fire detection systems and relates to companies who design, install, commission and maintain fire detection and alarm systems.
 
The kitemark is a quality certification mark which is owned and operated by The British Standards Institution details of this and its relevance to fire detection and alarm systems can be found by using the link below.
 


Websites


Self-Assessment Task

  • Produce a checklist and a plan which will enable you to evaluate a fire detection and alarm system.





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