Wireless Fire Alarms – Residential Properties

Why would a wireless fire alarm be the preferred choice over a wired system for residential properties?

When considering a fire alarm system in a residential property, it is usually for one of the following applications:

  • HMO – House of Multiple Occupancy
  • Residential house over 3 stories
  • Housing converted into flats with poor fire compartmentation or deviation from Building Regulations.
  • Apartment blocks with Automatic Opening Vents (AOV’s)
  • Residential Care Homes

All of the above will usually require a fire alarm in accordance with BS5839 part 1 or part 6.


When considering the installation of a fire alarm in a residential property one of the most important points to consider is the aesthetics and how the installation will look once completed?
The two areas of concern will be within the resident or tenants flats and the communal areas.

Within the Flat

Depending on the type of property, you will find some tenants are not that bothered as to the appearance of the flat and have no objection as to how the fire alarm detection is to be installed; cables and white trunking throughout the flat is not an issue. However, there are many tenants who have kept their place in good condition and the place is well decorated, for these tenants the thought of having a wired detector installed in the flat lobby and sometimes a heat in the kitchen, is not going to happen. We have had situations where the resident has refused to have the required wired detection installed, as they are convinced that the completed installation will make their home look institutionalized and the white trunking containment will be an eyesore.

The simple solution to resolve the concerns mentioned is to install a wireless fire alarm. Opting for wireless means no cables or trunking within the tenants flat. We have never had any objections or been refused from carrying out our installation once the tenant is aware that the proposed detectors are wireless.

Communal Areas

Having you attended a residential property where a wired fire alarm has been installed in the communal areas? If you have, I am sure you would agree it looks terrible. At best the cables are concealed in neatly installed plastic white trunking, and at worse red fire rated cables are clipped to the building fabric.
Plus you may have other service wiring installed in this area, making the communal areas untidy with many unsightly cables and containment.

Many apartment blocks and residential premises that are concerned about the aesthetics and neatness of their communal areas have installed a wireless fire alarm system. Yes, the hardware is a bit more expensive, however, seeing the finished results more than makes up for the final look of the installation. You will usually find that when the communal areas are well decorated and look clean and neat, all involve including the tenants work together to keep it that way.

Arranging Access

Arranging access to the resident’s properties can be a challenge and requires careful planning. Not all the residents will be available during the installation period and therefore the works will be spread over several visits.

With a wired system, access can be a major issue. Firstly, if access is not granted at the time of the installation the installing engineer will leave a coil of cable above the flat door long enough to reach the proposed final location of the detector. This can be very unsightly for the residents during the installation period. Once access has been arranged, the resident or tenant will have to be in for a full morning or afternoon to ensure that all the installation works can be completed and tested. I have been to residential blocks many months after the proposed fire alarm installation was meant to have been completed, only to find a red coil of cable still above some of the doors.

However, with a wireless installation the all the programming works and testing can be carried out before access has been arranged. There are no unsightly cables coiled above any flat doors. Access is easier to arrange, as the tenant is much more willing to allow access once they know it is wireless and the engineer will only take up fifteen minutes of their time.

To conclude the two main points mentioned above clearly shows why when it comes to installing a fire alarm system in a residential property, it must be a wireless fire alarm system. See our videos on residential wireless systems.