All construction sites and commercial buildings are potentially exposed to fire outbreaks and it is your responsibility, as the business owner, to implement the necessary fire safety measures to protect your property and the people on the premises. The first step to ensuring your fire alarm systems meet the regulatory requirements and function reliably during emergency situations is to implement the industry best standards.
Today, we are looking at the BS EN54 – the group of standards derailing the minimum requirements for fire alarm systems in commercial buildings.
What is BS EN54?
The BS EN54 is the official collection of standards governing the essential components of fire alarm systems created by the Fire Industry Association (FIA).
Each design component of the fire alarm system falls under a different standard of BS, for example:
- Part 3 – Fire Alarm Devices: Sounders
- Part 4 – Power Supply Equipment
- Part 7 – Smoke Detectors
- Part 16 – Voice Alarm Control and Sound Equipment
- Part 24 – Components for Voice Alarm Systems: Loudspeakers
We will look at a few of the original parts to dissect what they mean and their intentions.
EN 54-16 specifies all of the standards that are applied to the installation of voice alarm controls and other supplementary equipment, such as amplifiers or mixers which are used to transmit voice alarms to speaker systems.
All components used to deliver voice alarms will likely be required to pass EN54-4, too. EN54-4 is the European standard detailing the requirements for power supply equipment.
EN54-24 stipulates the criteria and requirements relating to acoustics and the overall construction of loudspeakers designed to broadcast voice alarm messages during times of emergency.
EN 54-24 was codified to understand that the requirements relating to acoustics can differ, depending on the installation location, building layout, building composition and intended use of the location. Therefore, the legislation stipulates the minimum requirements of voice alarm loudspeakers, as well as a practical method for testing the real-world performance against the manufacturer-specified performance.
EN54-4 details the necessary requirements and methods for the testing and performance criteria for power supply equipment of fire alarm and detection systems.
Specifications in relation to design are stipulated to cover:
- Power sources
- Power supply
- Standby power source
- Design & manufacture
The testing processes covered by EN54-4 include:
- Functional tests
- Standby power source testing
- Damp heat testing
- Endurance testing
- Impact testing
- Cold environment testing
- Steady-state testing
It is important to note that EN54-4 does not cover any battery-powered parts of wireless detection/fire alarm systems, nor does it cover the power supply of any self-contained smoke alarms.
Very rarely will fire safety experts explicitly confirm that your fire alarm system is definitively compliant with BS EN54, if at all. Why is this? Well, in practice, it is because BS EN54 does not specify anything about how a fire alarm system should look. Instead, we use BS 5839-1 for this purpose, which cross-links with BS EN54.
What is BS5839-1?
BS5839-1 is the standard that specifies how you must bring BS EN54 components together in order to develop a compliant fire alarm system for use in commercial premises. Each category within the standard – such as M or L1 – will dictate specifically where automatic detection systems are to be situated within a building.
Additionally, it stipulates that components that comply with EN54 do not necessarily comply under BS 58391-1.
Will a BS EN54 Compliant Site Alarm Automatically be Better than a non-BS EN54 Site Alarm on a Construction Site?
Not necessarily. The reason for this is because BS EN54 is not written with the intent or background to encompass the specifics of a construction site. Components that are BS EN54 compliant aren’t specifically manufactured or designed to withstand the wear and tear of a construction site, and such components could be practically inadequate for use in similar rigorous conditions.
Fire Safety With Evacuator Alarms
Evacuator Alarms are fire safety experts with years of knowledge, servicing the commercial and residential sectors. We deliver fire safety and first aid systems and modular equipment, designed for residential and commercial environments alike. If you require help with designing and installing comprehensive fire alarm systems, give us a call today.
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