BSI Launch Updated Guidance: BS 5839-6:2019 Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems for Buildings.

17th May 2019

BSI (British Standards Institution) has launched its guidance updated from 2013, ‘BS 5839-6: 2019 Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems for Buildings; code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises’.  The guidance is aimed at a range of stakeholders, such as: architects and other building professionals; enforcing authorities; installers and those responsible for implementing fire precautions in domestic premises.

The standard gives recommendations on planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises, and applies to both new and existing domestic premises.

Changes since the 2013 edition include: new recommendations for fire detection in supported housing; new recommendations on communal fire systems and new information on testing and servicing by grade, and revised grades.

Of the new recommendations within this updated guidance, one outlines that communal fire alarm systems should not normally be installed in purpose-built blocks of flats, as the degree of compartmentation between occupancies within a building is normally sufficient to ensure that fire is contained within an individual dwelling for a period of time.  It is understood that following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London in 2017, temporary fire alarm systems have been installed in blocks of flats where external cladding does not satisfy building regulation requirements.  These systems are therefore only seen as temporary measures, awaiting the removal of the cladding; and as a result, these temporary systems fall outside of the scope of BS 5839.

This standard has been principally developed to cover systems which detect fire and fire alarm systems installed for the purpose of maintaining life safety. However, recommendations are given for systems that are also intended to protect property.

For further advice or guidance on this code of practice or any fire regulation issues, please contact our specialist fire safety team. The S2 Partnership has a dedicated team of fire safety experts, providing fire risk assessments, training, guidance, fire engineering and fire safety management systems to a range of organisations to meet legal obligations. The S2 Partnership works with clients to develop robust fire safety solutions, providing just the right support to each individual organisation to protect lives, buildings and businesses. For further information, please contact us.