Is this the correct way to install a Wireless Fire Alarm?
You read stories of high levels of fire alarm false alarms and there are debates about having an open market where anyone who is deemed competent is entitled to design, install and commission a fire alarm system. However, is it acceptable for anyone purchasing fire alarm equipment from outlets such as an online shop?
Who is legally responsible for designing a fire alarm?
Is designing and purchasing equipment in this way is it contributing factor to the problems we currently face with so many false alarms?
Who will be legally responsible should a fire alarm system fail to operate or function as laid out in the fire code BS5839-1?
The video above provides a typical example of what is currently available online. However, is not designing and purchasing a fire alarm in this manner goes against the principle of The Fire-Safety Order 2005, that states the designer, installer and commissioning personnel must be competent to perform the task involved.
The correct approach would be for a fire risk assessment to have taken place and within the assessment, a category would be specified based on the risk involved. The assessment would be passed on to the fire alarm designer who would have a good understanding of the fire code BS5839-1:2013 and relevant product codes; he would survey the building and produced a fire alarm design.
This design would then be passed on to the installer and commissioning engineer and the system would be installed to the specification.
However, with the online example in the video, what we have is a procedure that is advocating that no knowledge or the standards or legislation is required. Who will be held responsible should the person purchasing such equipment make an error in the design?
The person who would be legally responsible for installing a system that did not function due to the incompetence of the designer and installer would be the person identified in the Fire Safety Order. This would usually be the employer, building owner, or the person responsible for managing the property.
In certain parts of Europe and America, this type of purchasing and designing fire alarms is not allowed. Their view of fire safety equipment is one that appreciates that this equipment is there to save lives and therefore, should only be designed and installed by true professionals. When are we in England and Wales going to wake up and treat fire protection with the respect it deserves?