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[ Technical: FAQs ]

when using this type of cable. Equipment, cables, containment and clips should under no circumstances be stuck to the surfaces on which they are mounted or run. Nylon cable ties should not be used to support fi re alarm cables.

Q|Does any type of dwelling come under are HMOs and blocks of fl ats.

A|The only dwellings that are directly covered by the Fire Safety Order 2005

installed in one continuous length. If jointing is unavoidable, then a fi re resistant box containing ceramic connectors should be used and labelled as fi re alarm.

Q|Can you joint fi re alarm cables? A|It is not good practice to join fi re

resistant cables. They should be Q|Can I use nylon glands for the fi re alarm cables?

Q|Is BS 5839-1 a legal document, and recommendations?

am I forced by law to implement its

standing. BS 5839-1 is one way of complying with the Building Regulations and, to some extent, it is accepted as the best way to achieve compliance. If a project specifi cation calls for BS 5839-1 and a contract is placed for the work to be carried out to this standard, BS 5839-1 becomes enshrined in the contract and therefore becomes a legal requirement under contract law.

A|Firstly, BS 5839-1 is only a code of practice and on its own it has no legal

Q|Domestic smoke alarms – can they buildings?

be used in commercial and industrial

fl oor lock-up shop offi ce or workroom, and depending on the fi re exit route layout, the fi re risk assessment could require that some form of smoke detection should be installed, to alert the occupants, in which case a domestic smoke alarm could be considered.

A|Generally, the answer would be no. However, If the building is a small single

assessment under the law, provided that they can be regarded as a competent person. This is a person with suffi cient training, knowledge and experience, and other qualities as specifi ed within the Fire Safety Order 2005. Unless you are a person who meets these

Q|Can I carry out a fi re risk assessment A|Anyone can carry out a fi re risk

for my customer? 66 ECA Today May 2011

criteria, we would recommend that you do not undertake any form of risk assessment.

Q|Do all BS 5839-1 systems need to be wired in fi re resistant cable?

clips and terminations. Some domestic (BS 5839-6) systems need to comply with BS 5839-1. These are Grades A and B systems. These systems also require fi re resistant wiring.

A|Yes, all these systems need to be wired in fi re resistant cable, junction boxes,

Q|Does BS 5839-1 say that, for reasons of electrical safety, the mains supply

to all parts of the fi re alarm system should be supplied via an isolating protective device (such as an isolator or circuit-breaker)?

requirements of BS 5839-1 also state that local isolation is required for the servicing engineers. There have been incidences where fi re alarm engineers have received electric shocks while servicing fi re alarm systems; a recent incident resulted in the death of the engineer. Thus, there is a recommendation for the use of a local double pole isolating device, lockable in the on and off positions, for those who are servicing the system. This means that an un-switched fuse spur does not comply with the regulations.

A|An MCB may be used as an isolator

Q|Do the supporting clip and fi xings have installed using fi re resistant cables.

to be fi re resistant? Fire resistant clips and supports are required A|All BS 5839-1 systems should be for a fi re alarm system. However, the steel glands may be used as alternatives. Q|Does fi re cable require segregation?

it is screened. However, BS5839-1 does not allow any fi re alarm cable to be installed in the same conduit or common trunking (unless in its own compartment) as any other cables. The fi re alarm equipment manufacturer may also recommend separation of cables to minimise electromagnetic interference.

A|Fire alarm cable may generally be

an insulation resistance tester when doing a periodic inspection?

installed. As they are wired in fi re resistant cable and continuously monitored by the panel for faults, there is no need to test. The only part of a fi re alarm system that would fall under the scope of a periodic inspection would be the mains supply to the panel, which should be treated as any other circuit.

A|There is no recommendation in BS 5839 for testing of the cables once

Any questions?

If you have any questions you’d like answered by ECA Technical Services, or if you require any further information on issues raised here, please contact Will Lloyd or Giuliano Digilio at the ECA Technical Services department. Call 020 7313 4850, or email or

Q|Should I test the fi re alarm cables with installed alongside other cables, since

A|Yes, as long as the nylon glands are recommended for fi re alarms. Brass or

the Fire Safety Order (FSO) and FSSR?

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