Harmony operative testing fire alarm

Fire Alarms – What are the Fire Safety Building Regulations in the UK?

There are different Fire Building Regulations across the UK, with England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all utilising different documents and requiring different levels of protection. 

Each set of regulations covers a wide range of safety requirements, including means of escape, internal fire spread and access for the fire and rescue service. 

In this blog, we’ll focus on fire alarms and explore the differences between the requirements across the UK. 

Harmony operative testing fire alarm

England and Wales – Building Regulations Document B (Volume 1)

These regulations cover new builds, materially altered dwellings, loft conversions and specific building extensions for standard dwellings. 

All dwellings should be provided with an alarm system to at least Grade D1/D2, Category LD3 – this means there must be an installation of mains-powered alarms with an essential backup power supply within the escape routes of the property (i.e. hallways and landings). The Regulations also require a heat alarm to be installed in kitchen areas where the kitchen is not separated from the circulation space or stairway by a door. 

The Regulations state that optical smoke alarms are usually better suited for installation in circulation areas (hallways and landings) adjacent to kitchens. For kitchens, the Regulations recommend heat alarms. 

All alarms should be interconnected to ensure individuals can hear them throughout the property if an alarm goes off. 

The Regulations refer to the British Standard BS 5839-6:2019 and suggest that an alarm system is installed in line with these standards. 

England and Wales Fire Alarm Regulations

Scotland – Technical Handbook (Domestic) – Fire

These regulations now cover all properties, including privately rented, social housing, new builds, materially altered dwellings, loft conversions, certain building extensions and any work that requires a building warrant.

All dwellings should be provided with a Grade D alarm system installed as follows:

  • At least one smoke alarm in the principal habitable room (commonly the living room)
  • At least one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey (i.e. hallways and landings)
  • At least one smoke alarm in every access room serving an inner room
  • At least one heat alarm should be installed in every kitchen.
  • Optical or Multi-Sensor alarms are recommended for the principal habitable room and all circulation areas. Heat alarms are recommended for kitchens. 

Depending upon the specific layout of the property, the above generally equates to Category LD2. 

All alarms should be interconnected to ensure individuals can hear them throughout the property if an alarm goes off. 

The Regulations refer to the British Standard BS 5839-6:2019 and suggest that an alarm system is installed in line with these standards.

Fire alarm regulations scotland

Northern Ireland – Technical Booklet E

These regulations cover new builds, materially altered drawings, loft conversions and certain building extensions. 

All dwellings should be provided with an alarm system to at least Grade D1/D2, Category LD2 – this means the installation of mains-powered alarms with an essential backup power supply within the escape routes of the property (i.e. hallways and landings), principal habitable rooms (generally the living room) and the kitchen. 

The Regulations state that optical smoke alarms are generally more suitable for installation in circulation areas (hallways and landings) adjacent to kitchens. Heat alarms are recommended for kitchens. 

All alarms should be interconnected to ensure individuals can hear them throughout the property if an alarm goes off. 

The Regulations refer to the British Standard BS 5839-6:2019 and suggest that an alarm system is installed in line with these standards.

Fire alarm regulations scotland

Note that the above information is relevant to standard domestic properties up to three storeys with no individual floor level of over 200m². You can find further information in Building Regulations Document B for England and Wales, Fire Technical Handbook – Domestic for Scotland and Technical Handbook E for Northern Ireland.

Additionally, you can contact our fire protection experts here if you would like to discuss your current fire alarm requirements or would like further guidance. 

 

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