To be considered a fire alarm installer, you must have certain attributes, such as the hands-on skill of being able to install the containment, fire rated cable and fix the equipment, i.e., fire alarm control, detectors, sounders, etc.
Usually, within the construction industry or large systems, the installer may be unable to install everything in one phase and therefore, will have to plan the job over several visits.
The first visit, which will be the installation of containment and cables, is called the first fix. As the job progresses and the majority of the partitions and ceilings are in place, the installer will return to install the field equipment to the ceilings and walls, and this work is known as the second fix.
It is important that the installer has a complete set of hand tools, ranging from, screwdrivers, cutters, hammer, pliers; a good set of power tools, such as drills and saw, plus an electrical test meter.
The test meter will be required, as all installed cables will need to be subject to an insulation test of 500V d.c. However, before this test is carried out, it is imperative to ensure that there is no fire alarm equipment connected. Plus an earth and loop continuity are also required.
The installer must also be knowledgeable about Health and Safety, and will usually have to attend a site induction. However, while the installer must be capable on the practical side, it is important that they have a good understanding of the theory side of fire alarm systems.
They should know the fire alarm design code, which is:
BS 5839-1:2013 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises.
Section 37 Installation Practices and Workmanship
Section 38 Inspection and Testing of Wiring.
Plus the Electrical Wiring Regulations BS 7671.
When carrying out a fire alarm installation, the installer must conduct a series of tests which involve testing the installation and impedance at a voltage that can damage the equipment.
Therefore, it is advisable, that the cable tested before the equipment is connected.
Below is a list of the necessary test:
Installation resistance test
Loop Continuity Test
Earth Continuity Test
Manufactures Loop Resistance Test
A Fire Alarm Installation Certificate will need to be completed by the installer on completion of the works.
Fire Systems Ltd, has been involved in several large fire alarm installations see our Case Studies for Neasden Train Depot and London Underground