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BS 5839 Codes:

Applicable Codes
Part 1; Part 6; Part 8
By Don Scott

Unfortunately both BS 5839 Part 6 and 8 are still not yet
completed and are work in progress as we speak

They should be finalized shortly but too late for this

Perhaps their changes may be communicated in the form of
a Fact File at a later date
BS 5839 Part 8 Summary of Proposed Changes

Clause 20: Cables, reduction in cable diameter for suitability for
higher data transfer rates used for distributed voice alarm systems

Revision to take into account and cross referencing new ENs
(54 -23 and 54 25)

Clause 40: testing of emergency voice messages now monthly

Annex C: removal of restriction caused by the assumption of 50%
amplifier efficiency (class AB). This will lead to the use of smaller
power supplies in cases where high efficiency amplifiers are used.

Removal of Responsible Person to Premises Management
Reasons for Revision

1. Findings from the Rose Park Fire

2. As a result of the research carried out by BRE regarding high
ceiling detection

3. Up-date references to reflect latest versions and new
BS 5839 Part 1 : 2013

This new edition of the CoP is not a full revision but technical
and nomenclature changes

A full revision will follow in due course
Nomenclature Changes

Old Terminology New Terminology

care home residential care premises

fire service fire and rescue service

responsible person premises management
New Title to Better Reflect Scope and Content

BS 5839, Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings
Part 1: Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning
and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises
Requirement for Accurate & Unambiguous Information
as to the Location of a Fire in Certain Applications

Clause 4 Need for a fire detection and fire alarm system and type
of system

4.2 Recommendations:
c) Where occupants of a building are going to need assistance
from staff to evacuate the building (e.g. in residential care homes
and hospitals), the fire detection and fire alarm system should be
addressable if the building has facilities for more than ten people
to sleep.

Zone Plan: Definition, Guidance and Recommendations

Clause 3 Terms and definitions

3.67 zone plan

diagrammatic representation of a building, showing specific
topographic information and the division of the building into
detection zones

It is now recognized that the provision of a Zone plan is of benefit
to life safety and as such its provision has now been greatly
Zone Plan: Definition, Guidance and Recommendations

It is now required to have a zone plan adjacent to all CIE

The absence of a zone plan is to be regarded as a Major Variation
to the standard

The provision of the zone plan is now a required tick box on the
Acceptance Certificate

It is the responsibility of the premises management to ensure
that the zone plan is kept up to date, especially if it references
areas by name, such as shops etc.
Recording of Agreed Variations

Clause 7 Variations from the recommendations of this standard

Major non-compliances to the standard that are classed as
agreed variations should be clearly recorded in the log book so
that they are readily available for future reference by
maintenance companies and any other interested parties.
Visual Alarm Devices

Clause 3 Terms and definitions

3.64 visual alarm device

fire alarm device incorporating a flashing light

Clause 11 System components

11.2 Recommendations

m) Visual alarm devices should conform to BS EN 54-23
Visual Alarm Devices

Annex F (informative)

Visual alarm device illumination characteristics

This annex contains information extracted from LPCB CoP 0001
with regards to the illumination requirements, patterns and the
minimum rating required or achieved for the various mounting

Ceiling Height Limits

Firstly, the concept (confusion?) of rapid attendance has been
dropped so Table 4 has been deleted
Limits of ceiling height (Category P systems and five minute fire and
rescue service attendance)

Table 3 has been amended in the light of the results from the BRE
research project (supported by the FIA and ASD manufacturers and
presented at the 2011 conference):

Bringing ASD and beam height limits into line
Recognising the benefits of integrating type detection technologies
in such applications
Strongly suggesting (in notes to the table) the use of supplementary
detection (at an intermediate level) unless the risk of smoke
stratification is minimal

Ceiling Heights intermediate height detection

For ASD systems Clause 22.7 c)

For beams detectors - Clause - 22.5 d)

Automatic Transmission of Fire Alarm Signals

In residential care homes, facilities should be provided for
automatic transmission of alarm signals to an alarm receiving

In residential care homes, a staff alarm should not incorporate
any delay in summoning of the fire and rescue service when the
fire alarm system operates, but there may be a delay in the
general alarm signal, provided all staff are made aware of the fire
alarm signal

Delay in Summoning the Fire and Rescue Service

Ensure that any ARC used has transmission of fire alarm signals in
their scope

Alarms from heat detectors or sprinkler systems are now
included along with manual call points as the type of alarms
which generally do not initiate staff alarms

False Alarm Management

Clause 35 Measures to limit false alarms

35.2.7 Filtering measures Commentary

Where an investigation period is employed, the fire and rescue
service ought not to be called until the outcome of the investigation
is known (except in residential care homes where it is necessary to
summon the fire and rescue service as soon as the fire alarm system

False Alarm Management

Alarms from heat detectors or sprinkler systems are now included
along with manual call points as the type of alarms which are
excluded from Filtering Measures

Filtering measures should NOT be applied to signals from fire alarm
systems in residential care homes
Beam Detector Coverage


Clause 45 Inspection and servicing

As the service engineer would probably not be aware of any
agreed variations he cannot therefore be expected to comment
on any non-compliances found during service

If he does refer to a non-compliance this cannot then be
assumed that he has reviewed the whole system and highlighted
all non-compliances

A service is only to verify the operation of the system as it is
presently installed
Normative References and Annex

Annex C has been changed from an Informative to an
normative annex

Clause 2 Normative references

List has been updated to include new or latest versions of
references or publications
Other Amendments

Clause 3 Terms and definitions

3.9 coincidence

arrangement designed so that an output is obtained only when
at least two independent input triggering signals are present at
the same time

NOTE This is not be mistaken for double knock, which is a
colloquial term often used for an arrangement whereby an
output is given only when two successive signals are received
from the same device.
Other Amendments cont.

Clause 3 Terms and definitions

3.9 premises management

persons having day-to-day control of the premises, the fire
detection and fire alarm system(s) and implementation of the
fire procedures

Other Amendments cont.

Clause 11 System components

Reference is made to third party certification as a means of
ensuring components are fit for purpose and that BS EN 54 Part 13
can be used to ensure system compatibility
Other Amendments cont.

Clause 11 System components

k) CIE should conform to BS EN 54-2

NOTE 1 BS EN 54-2 contains optional performance characteristics
which are not necessarily provided in all CIE, even if third party
certificated against BS EN 54-2. It needs to be ensured that the
CIE provided has appropriate facilities to enable compliance with
all the recommendations of this British Standard.
Other Amendments cont.

Clause 22 Spacing and siting of automatic fire detectors

Recommendations are given as to the use of in-rack detection for
racks containing high value, high risk materials or are higher than
Other Amendments cont.

Clause 22 Spacing and siting of automatic fire detectors

An optical beam smoke detector may be installed at an angle from the
horizontal, pointing down from the ceiling, in order to provide
supplementary detection [i.e. in addition to beams located at or near
the ceiling] to detect of a stratified smoke layer within a high space.

Other Amendments cont.

Clause 22 Spacing and siting of automatic fire detectors

Where an aspirating smoke detection system is used to protect
spaces with high ceilings (>25m) and there is a risk that the smoke
could stratify before reaching the ceiling, sampling should be
provided at multiple levels using drop-pipe arrangements at the
wall and, where practical, within the main space.
Other Amendments cont.

Clause 25 Power supplies

The installer of the 230V mains supply is responsible for ensuring
suitable double pole isolation devices, according to BS7671:2008
are utilized for the fire alarm system