FIRE ALARM & FIRE DETECTION BIM4HOUSING ROUNDTABLES 26-06-2023

RICHARD …for the guidance we did 18 months ago on 12 fire critical assets. We're going to be doing things slightly differently today from the way we've done them before. We’ve got a lot of new people in the meetings, probably half the people in all of the meetings we had so far are actually new, so now I’m going to ask George just to do a quick contextualising piece so that everybody knows where we're starting at and where we’ve been in the past and where the where we're looking to head to in the future.

GEORGE (shares screen). When we took over BIM4Housing 3 years ago what we wanted to do was to move it away from BIM being considered 3D modelling to being about better information management, which is far more inclusive. To that effect we wanted to understand what was important in terms of improving information management for the different stakeholder groups within a process. So, for example, what could make it easier for the construction firms if the client was perhaps a bit clearer in terms of what they want. What we then did, these groups meet now every couple of months, so we have sessions with them (which you can join) and we identify what information would make a difference to them and then we set up work streams to address that.

So, for example, we’ve got a data workstream which has produced standardised data templates and requirements, we’ve done the same with process, we’ve done the same with fire safety, and that’s what we’re going through today and the next couple of weeks, the 12 safety critical asset types. We’re doing a lot on sustainability and also on digital records. So, that’s the landscape, and one of the interesting things with it is that whoever you talk to, even the people on this call, you all have different perspectives in terms of what information you need. And as a result of that what we need to do is focus on how we the present that information and the levels of detail and how can we make it so that the information is easily managed. What we’re identifying, obviously if we could get everything in a machine-readable format that would be fantastic, but in practice that’s a massive job.

And if something isn’t likely to change, maybe it’s a data sheet or something of that nature, then a PDF of that, as long as it’s relevant to that particular asset, is acceptable. But some of the information is variable, it’s going to change, it needs updating, so therefore one of the things we’re trying to do is identify what data, what information, is likely to change. The same with the safety case reports and the fire risk assessments, they’re correct at the time and are an opinion, but they’re going to need to change, so what’s going to need to change and therefore how can we then make sure that v is recorded against an asset so that we can then record that information, for example, against a door. We can then automatically test to see if information that should be provided, like fire rating, or has been provided, but it’s also possible to have that in product libraries and data sheets and also the locations of things.

So, one of the challenges, in many ways the golden thread has been more successful than we may have expected, but we’re ending up with dozens of golden threads, individual data sets which are actually driving silos. So we want to make it so that all of this information relates back to an asset or a system or a space, so therefore irrespective of whether that’s being collected in Plan Radar or Riskbase or Hilti or Civica, or one of the many other excellent applications that are out there, it’s all relating back to a single version of events. The reason we need some of this information in a machine-readable form is that there are thousands of documents produced for projects and you don’t know whether the information is going to be on the data sheet, and also somebody has got to manually interpret it. So some of the key information, that data sheet is probably perfect in terms of dimensions and things like that, but you’d probably want the fire rating to be machine-readable, and this isn’t.

So there, for, example, the fire rating for that door or that door or that door, they’re all described in a completely different way. So, it’s always going to need humans to read it. So, one of the exercises that we want to try and get to, and we’re not going to crack this today, is identify for alarms and detection systems what is it that we actually need that should be machine-readable. A part of this exercise, we’ve been working on this now for certainly 2 years with HACT and some of the other big players, to basically create reusable libraries that can then be used to populate whatever software application that’s being used, and this is part of that exercise. So we identified 250 asset types, and you’ll see here that we’ve created them with an agreed name, the classification system, both Uniclass and also IFC, and also a description against it so that people will know what it is.

The other thing is we often find that people will call the same thing something different which from a data perspective is challenging. So what we do is use synonyms, so an Automatic Opening Vent might be called an AOV or a smoke vent, it doesn’t matter as long as we’ve got both examples. We’ve got 71 fire related assets and 152 overall for safety and also in terms of what information are we collecting, in most cases the principle thing that we want to know is manufacturer, model number, etc, and that’s going to be common for any type of product. But if it’s an AOV we’ll want different information that is AOV specific or is a fire alarm specific or is a smoke detector specific set of information that we also want to collect. I don’t know what that is, that/s where you subject matter experts come in.

One of the challenges is that you might think BIM would have this information, but it hasn’t. The Building Smart data dictionary is the BIM standard is one source of information, but there’s also CIBSE, the Chartered and Building Services Engineers, they’ve got data templates. You’ve got RICS who’ve got cost management information, and wholesalers have got classification systems. So, just looking at the BIM standards here for an AOV you’ll see we’ve got a lot of attribute information here that probably a designer would want to know, but does the asset manager need to know wind load rating, probably not, that’s probably OK being on a data sheet. So we’re trying to sort out the wood for the trees and work out what information is actually practically useful. And if we know that we can then procure that information and provide data templates to collect it, so it doesn’t have to go into a BIM model, it can still be part of the BIM process if we’ve got schedules that have got the right information.

So, what is that right information? We were asked to lead the Asset and Information Survey Group for the Golden Thread Initiative and part of that exercise was to say to people like you what information do we actually need about smoke alarms, and the answer typically we got back was ‘it depends’. And everything refers back to building regs, unfortunately building regs are very complex and require a great degree of interpretation, so therefore what we’ve tried to do is focus on those 250 asset types and get people like you to try and give us more definition of what that information needs to be, for different purposes. So, the exercise that we went through, we’ve got 12 key asset types and this is an example for fire doors. So here we’ve got an explanation of what a fire door comprises, and also provide a context of asking questions.

So, a fire breaks out in this kitchen area and what we want to know is what measures are in place to protect against it, it might be compartmentation. So we need to know good information about the fire doors, but also things like fire dampers, smoke dampers, penetration seals, because if any one of those fails the whole point about having the asset there is compromised. Also, it might not just be one system that’s making that protection. You’ve got the smoke control system and the alarm system, so all of those need to be working in concert to keep the tenants safe. The HSE briefed us that what we needed to do was look at assets from a point of view of what is it that they’re actually doing. This is the exercise that we’re going to be going through now. Also, what do people do to the asset to stop it from working and then what information do we actually need to ensure that it’s going to perform as needed.

So with regard to detection systems, for example, do we need to know where the censors are? We would think so. And what spaces are they protecting and how do they work as a system to perform that task, that’s from a specification point of view. Then we’ve got construction, installation, so we’ll go through that. Also, we’ve then got how is that asset going to be installed and commissioned and maintained. What levels of competency are needed and also how should product changes be recorded. So, if we can get all of that together we can then start to look at things in a more joined up and machine-readable way so we cans hold the data about an asset in the database and we can then apply it to all of the detectors or all of the alarm network that needs that information. So here, for example, it means that we can then use the technology, so we’re not overwhelming everybody with too much information, but when new stuff comes through (like the new BS8644, we can then make sense of it and relate it so that any application that’s being used can do it.

JEAN-MARC TSHIKAYA …it was regarding on what level things are actually captured on this system.

GEORGE This isn’t a system, what we’r doing is trying to understand what all of the systems that might be used need in terms of information.

JEAN-MARC TSHIKAYA Yeah, what I mean is in terms of how things will be captured, because you’re showing us kind of a spatial way of capturing things in terms of assets on a space and I just wanted to know whether we will consider capturing things on a floor level.

GEORGE No, absolutely, I think that information should be captured at a space level, a floor level and a building level. i think having things, at the bare minimum, at a space level, is really important because otherwise how can you demonstrate that that particular asset has been checked.

JEAN-MARC TSHIKAYA Absolutely, I agree, because we’re having an issue with the asset management system that we’re using, all our housing system that we’re currently using because we’ve got things on a hierarchical level i.e. you’ve got your property, you’ve got your block, you’ve got your estate then you’ve got your district and the owner who is Camden, but we’er finding that when we’re looking at doors, for instance, so you may have a block of 20 floors with potentially 150-200 cross-corridor doors and because of the way we capture all of our data we’re not actually able to have all these entries for all of these doors. And so you have 200 doors in one block and once you change one you don’t know how to capture them because you’ve only got one line against that particular type of asset. Whereas when you capture things on a floor level, or on a spatial level, it kind of gives you an overview where you can have multiples of those doors and the example you were showing there where there was a search that could be linked directly to that asset that would be linked directly to that set…

RICHARD Jean-Marc, where are you from?

JEAN-MARC TSHIKAYA I’m from Camden.

RICHARD We really need to move forward. I’m going to try and have 10 minutes at the end for any other business, so anything that isn’t directly related to the questions well park into any other business. Your point is very interesting, we’re just not going to be able to finish otherwise.

Question 1: What are the component elements of fire detection and fire alarm systems?

GEORGE This was done by a couple of subject matter experts who wen through it, so we think that this is probably quite good.

DEANE SALES There probably are some changes you need to make to that, slightly.

RICHARD Let’s start at the top and we’ll go through. So, what are the component elements?

DEANE SALES I think most of those are fine, but air sampling systems are not part of a fire alarm system, they are standalone, it’s like a separate system. It’s underneath where it says optical multi-detector. What I think might be worth doing is maybe having another line, you know like you’ve got fire alarm devices, that says interfaced equipment, because things like air sampling, linear heat, and some beam detectors, they are interfacing with the fire alarm.

GEORGE I think Deane is suggesting we have a heading there before it says aspirating…that actually says ‘interfacing devices’.

DEANE SALES Yeah, if you put another heading saying ‘interfaced systems’ then things like air sampling and linear heat can go underneath that and also that should be video smoke detection rather than video detectors. Move beam detectors underneath where it says optical multi-detector, actually bring that in an indent because that is part of a fire alarm. I would take beacons out of interface systems because that should go where it says fire alarm devices because it’s an indication device rather than…Voice alarm system should go under interface systems.

RICHARD Paul Cartwright is saying should MCP be in the interface equipment too?

DEANE SALES No, because a call point will sit on a fire alarm system, so whether it’s a loop or a conventional radial circuit. What I was getting at is if you’ve got a fire alarm system, but then you might have air sampling or you might have a voice alarm, they will kind of all work in tandem, but obviously they’re interfacing with those other systems, so they are two independent systems, but linked via interfaces. So, I’d say that interface needs to go at the top, so put it in as another section underneath beam detectors, maybe. I’d take out evacuation alert systems because they’re absolutely nothing to do with a fire alarm. I’d take out public address as well because you’ll capture that with PA…you know where it says voice alarm systems, change that to PA/VA, that way then it captures both voice alarm and PA systems. And I would probably take out that fitting of protected covers because you’ve got to put one in with a call point regardless.

RICHARD OK, are there any dependencies on other systems?

DEANE SALES When you say dependencies, are we saying that these systems are dependent on the fire alarm, or the fire alarm is dependent on these systems?

GEORGE I think ti could be either.

JOHN FENNAH Could we confer the dampers then? Because they're basically triggered by the fire alarm system and controlled by the fire system.

GEORGE Yeah, definitely.

DEANE SALES So, in order to keep Paul happy, you might want to put smoke control systems and then fire dampers.

LAURA SMITH I would change sprinklers to say automatic suppression systems cause then it will include your ? 26mins 57secs systems as well.

DEANE SALES Would it be worth putting in brackets, because as Laura said you’ve got gas suppression, but you’ve also got sprinklers, water mist as well. You’ve got gas and you’ve got wet systems.

LAURA SMITH I’d have that in brackets rather than an ‘and’ because automatic suppression is the overall terminology for all of them.

JOHN FENNAH Industry does tend to go to suppression as gaseous suppression now, I’d be careful of it.

DEANE SALES I’d probably put sprinklers and water mists as a separate line then because I think, as John said, if you ask people in the industry automatic suppression tends to point you towards gas rather than wet systems. I’d probably add it things like MCC panels, Mechanical Control panels, and BMS systems. If I’m honest, there probably are a hell of a lot more, but buildings now are becoming a lot smarter so what you tend to find now is you’ve got even fire alarms being interfaced in with ATS systems, wet and dry riser monitoring systems. If it makes it easier, I’ve actually got a relatively exhaustive list of the interfacing requirements that you generally find on life safety. I could email that over to you.

RICHARD Question 1a: What risks does a fire detection and fire alarm system mitigate? We’ve got 4: failure to detect fire early, panic and confusion allowing early safe evacuation, property loss, loss of life.

GEORGE Adequate. You don’t need to have more, I think that’s probably enough.

RICHARD Question 1b: To what risks are fire detection and fire alarm systems themselves susceptible?

LAURA SMITH Have we not repeated, so we’ve got on there change of layout use without modification of detector to location, but just above you've got changes to layout as well. Are we not just saying the same point twice? And then it’s also got mention and cause and effect at two separate points as well. So there’s two bullet points, a poorly designed cause and effect and then cause and effects are not well documented. Should that not just all come under the same bullet point?

GEORGE Yes, I think you’re right.

DEANE SALES I’d take out where it says overcrowded corridors because that’s not a consequence of a fire alarm system. Occupancy levels of a building, that doesn’t…fire alarm systems aren’t designed on occupancy levels. One thing I’m thinking do we put in there, but I’m open to criticism, is something to do with the use of non-competent or non-accredited installation.

RICHARD We’ll be coming down to that, I think you’ll find that’s covered. Question 2: what information is needed about fire detection and fire alarm systems to ensure they perform as required. Now, as I mentioned at the top we’re doing this question slightly differently this time.

GEORGE (shares screen). We’re going to be looking for some volunteers who are into the data side of things to maybe spend an hour or so with some other people that are similarly afflicted to actually help with this. What we’re trying to do, all of those questions here have been put into a spreadsheet and one of the things that we’re trying to do is assign who’s responsible for that particular location and interfaces, who’s accountable, who needs to be consulted and who needs to be kept informed, because if we can understand that it means that we can limit the amount of overwhelming information that is being presented to people. So, that's an aspect. So if you're interested in going down to this level of detail then please put your mane in the chat with the term ‘data’ against it. Actually there’s 3 elements to this: One is data, another is process, and finally application, so how, for example, would that information be applied.

So for example the point that John was making earlier was it’s all very well knowing this information about a detector, but if you don’t know what space it’s in and your asset management system can’t interpret that then it’s pointless collecting it, or we need to change the way the asset management system reads the data. The final bit on this is to actually look at each of these to say which information is static and which is likely to change. For example, the manufacturer and the model number is probably going to be consistent, whereas the commissioning information will be different on a project-by-project basis. So the other thing we’re going to be asking you to do is to identify which information is static and which is active or likely to change, variable.

RICHARD Question 2: What information is needed about fire detection and fire alarm systems to ensure they perform as required?

DEANE SALES Where it says location of Deaf Alerter systems, you probably want to change that to paging systems, there are a lot of different types out there and if someone sees that and thinks dead alerter and someone’s got a different manufacturer…Just take out deaf alerter and put paging.

JOHN FENNAH Deaf Alerter is a brand.

DEANE SALES It’s a bit like Vesda, people talk about Vesda being air sampling, even though there’s loads of different manufacturers, Deaf Alerter is similar. It might be worth putting another line underneath, putting in there location of any DDA…anything like vibrating pillows, supplementary systems that help people who’ve got hard or hearing or deaf. It’s covered in the one above, but paging systems are not always there for that function because you can have a vibrating pillow without a pager system.

GEORGE Obviously in this group a lot of people are probably a bit like me and would like at this and say, right, that’s an overwhelming list of information and it might well be that for 80% of the people you don’t need all that information, but the 20% of people that do need ti will need it. What we’re trying to avoid is people collecting information and holding it separately, so the purpose of this is to really enable us to capture all of the information that anybody might need to see, but the software applications that are being used can then filter out the information that you don’t need to see. SO I think that’s an important thing to put over, that what we’re trying to do is be comprehensive, but not overwhelm people. The key thing is to ensure that there is enough there for people to do it going forward.

DEANE SAL:ES There’s a lot of information in there that is all about design elements, so things like riser strategy, if I’m honest they could probably all come out because it should only be what is the design philosophy of that system.

GEORGE I’m not sure I agree with you because there are different there are different stakeholders who probably do want that information.

DEANE SALES I know, but you wouldn’t get a riser strategy as part of a fire alarm system O&M. A riser strategy would be part of a fire strategy which is a completely separate document. If we’re designing a life safety system we’re basing that on documentation we’ve received from other stakeholders, whether that be fire risk assessments, fire strategies, all manner of different bits, and that would give us the prerequisites that we need to design the system.I get the purpose, but I don’t think you would find that information in a fire alarm O&M, it would be in a fire strategy.

GEORGE And what if it isn’t?

DEANE SALES If it isn’t then your relying of the designers knowledge of a) the standards, because a riser strategy would only become viable depending on the layout of the riser whether it’s compartmented and other bits, but that comes from knowledge of the building and doing your due diligence. I think it depends on the project, new build will tend to come with all of those documents.

GEORGE Well, I can assure you, working on brand new projects that often that information isn’t available. It should be, under Regulation 38, but it often isn’t. This is about what information is needed, not how is it going to be provided.

LAURA SMITH Further to Dean’s point, would it not be easier to sum up some of these bullet points by stating, we’ve got fire strategy there which is including position of extinguishers, I feel that might just be copy and pasted from somewhere else in regards to the extinguishers and fire detection. But would it not be worth having a bullet point, fire strategy detailing the design philosophy of the fire alarm system including a riser strategy, have it as one bullet point rather that multiples?

GEORGE I agree.

DEANE SALES That’s what I was saying in a roundabout way, Laura’s done it in a much more eloquent way than I did.

RICHARD Right, we’re taking out the fire strategy bullet point.

DEANE SALES I think that bottom one should be a modification, a model verification certificate, that should be used…I think that needs to come out because that reference to that particular element references BAFE SP203. The problem is if you’re an LPS 1014 accredited installer you don’t have a verification certificate, so if there is an expectation of that then if you’ve got a company that’s LPS they will never issue a verification certificate. So, it might be in that section just change relevant certifications associated to accreditation board, and then in brackets BAFE SP203/LPS 1014.

RICHARD Question 3: what tasks are required to ensure fire detection and fire alarms are installed, commissioned, inspected and properly maintained? We’ll start with installation. Is there anything that needs to be added on there or amended?

DEANE SALES Would it be worth, where it says the standards, the problem is let’s say you review this document consistently, the standards may well change. So would it be worth rather than putting the relevant  2019 +A1 2020…I’m thinking if it makes sense to put current.

RICHARD The idea is that we review this and if that changes we change it. We’re doing this now 18 months later, but over the last 18 months it has been amended and note and we’ve had comments. We want to be as granular as we can, as George said, without being stupid.

DEANE SALES It might be worth then where it says that +A1 2020 moving that above and putting it in front of the 2019, that’s obviously the correct standards.

JOHN FIELD I’m slightly confused, in the beginning I was reading this as 5839 Part 1 cause everything you've mentioned to me is 5839 Part 1 and now all of a sudden you’re mentioning in Part 6. Is there a reason for that? Because obviously Part 1 is commercial premises, Part 6 is domestic premises and you have different types of fire alarm system in Part 6 in domestic.

RICHARD When you say domestic do you mean individual private homes or high-rise buildings?

JOHN FIELD Any kind of domestic premises, in essence normally it’s sort of houses where there’s more than one, perhaps, residence in a property, but Part 6 is domestic premises, whereas Part 1 is more commercial premises and that will have different requirements and so on.

RICHARD we’re BIM4Housing so I suppose we’d be domestic, would that cover high-rise buildings?

JOHN FIELD Throughout you’ve been talking about Part 1 in my mind, from what I’ve been reading generally.

GEORGE OK, there’s obviously some experts on the call, can anybody advise us on that?

DEANE SALES I think you need to mention both…I get where John’s coming from, it is a bit confusing. You probably need to be clear that these requirements, whether it’s Part 6 or Part 1, if you’re doing a Grade A LD1 system which in theory ultimately is a commercial system, the documentation you’ve got to provide is still the same. If you’re installing a Grade D within a residential apartment obviously the documentation isn’t as in depth as what you would with a commercial system, so maybe there does need to be some reference that when you talk about Part 6 that you also want to talk about Part 1 because there are references to Part 1. For arguments sake, the maintenance regimes all come under Part 1 and they’re the same for Part 6 in certain aspects, and unless you’re going to create 2 separate documents `i think you’d probably need to reference both of them really.

JOHN FIELD This is what I was thinking, whether you wanted 2 separate documents or what. Because later on you sort of mention L1 to 5, with regards to the life safety systems, and I think you mention P 1&2, but you don’t mention the domestic systems that  you can get.

RICHARD So, up to now have we referenced something that we need to add in domestic or commercial to?

GEORGE John, could we ask you to take a look at this and comment for us. Im just concerned that you’re an expert, Deane’s an expert and there’s probably other experts on the call.

DEANE SALES I’m just putting in the chat what that should probably read.

RICHARD Right, move down to commissioned. Tested the full cause and effect sound pressure levels recorded in all areas.User training and system handover completed. Entire system should conform to the requirements. Here we go again. BS7671 issued Certificate of Compliance and completion. Anything else that needs to be added into there?

JOHN FIELD Does it mention zone plans or the plans that need to be stuck on the wall by the panel. Would that be needed here?

DEANES SALES It might be worth putting in there maybe in compliance with the standards because obviously that outlines what you’re supposed to provide and I suppose the commissioning certificate outlines.

RICHARD It says here the entire system should conform to requirements of BS7671. Does that cover that?

DEANE SALES I think you need to change that, it needs to be conformed to the requirements of what you put up above the BS5839 Part 1, Part 6 and BS7671. You need to keep that and put that one at the end.

RICHARD OK, maintenance.

DEANE SALES You’re missing false alarm records. Where it says the user should record all faults and damage, put another line underneath, it should be false alarm records. So obviously if a building is having consistent false alarms then the maintainer is supposed to undertake a review of the device location, device types and so on.

RICHARD Absolutely. We’ve got SFG20 underneath for fire alarms.

DEANE SALES Just on that it might be worth just noting that obviously the SFG20 does require you to undertake certain checks that are not a requirement of 5839, so it’s like over and above the standards. Not everybody or every organisation works for that SFG20. A lot of our housing clients do.

GEORGE It’s there really as an illustration of the sort of format, because people in many cases don’t really understand what a work instruction actually looks like. So, if you’ve got a better one, a good work instruction, then that would be…

DEANE SALES I suppose what I was getting at is obviously there is, if you look at BS5839 Part 1or Part 6 it’s very clear what the requirements are of the standard in order to maintain the system. SFG20 is really good, but what it does do is ask you to do other elements that aren’t requirements of the standard. I’m just being facetious, pay no attention to me.

RICHARD I think we need to make clear, George, on this that this is an example. Jiss, above industry standard maintenance instructions put ‘by way of an example’. That’s clearer now. We’re on to competency: What level of competency training needs to be in place for installation.

RICHARD MICHAEL The comment on including any subsequent amendments was relating to the British standards, they were mentioned just above in the chat. I think they’d been left on a line on their own, so they need to go after the British standards that are mentioned.

DEANE SALES So the first one that I would probably mention would be where it says BAFE SP203. I think that needs to be BAFE SP203 or LPS 1014 because they're both acceptable. And i don’t think you need to put commercial fire alarms because those accreditations are valid for both commercial and residential. The other one I’ve seen, SP207 for evacuation alert needs to come out, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with fire alarm systems. Where it says Aico expert installer training, it’s a great course, but do we need to make sure that we are being impartial?

RICHARD Absolutely, yes. To be honest I wouldn’t even know what that was but an expert put it in there so I took it as being instead of a generic level course.

DEANE SALES You can leave it in there, I would just say…

RICHARD If that’s just one of an option of qualifications. Let’s put expert installer training such as…

DEANE SALES I’d actually put expert manufacturer installer training because that way it keeps it very generic, but I think like Paul said in his chat it needs to be manufacturer installer training.

RICHARD In that case take out ‘such as’. Anything else on there? Maintenance.

JOHN FIELD Can I ask where the term building safety managers has come from? Is this part of the Building Safety Act because they got rid of that term.

GEORGE No, I don’t think they’ve got rid of it, I think there’s a few people on the call that are building safety managers. I think it was just that it was taken out as being a legal requirement.

JOHN FIELD Right, so should we have it in there?

GEORGE Yeah, because there’s still a role for building safety managers, that would be my view.

DEANE SALES Obviously that element in that bullet point would be rally applicable to a lot of people, not just building safety managers.

LAURA SMITH That’s a very residential term, building safety managers, would it not be better to put in a different term because even though it’s not a legal requirement those roles might not be getting filed. The duties required of the building safety management might not be getting filled by a building safety manager.

GEORGE Could you think of a better term, Laura? It’s not really accountable people, is it?

LAURA SMITH No.

DEANE SALES That’s a tough one.

PAUL CARTWRIGHT Just lose the title.

DEANE SALES Just take it out, yeah. There are some good ones in there, I like that training for operational team, that’s an interesting one.

RICHARD Let’s go down to testing.

DEANE SALES I’m not sure about the voice alarm one. It’s right, it should be tested weekly, so should we change that to include audibility tests should be carried out weekly in line with BS5839 Part 1. That way then it captures both voice alarm and if you’ve got sounders or bells. Where it says operate one manual call point, you need to put in there operate one manual call point to be alternated weekly because some people will just go and do the same one because it’s right next to their desk.

JOHN FIELD A couple of lines down it does say different MCP each week.

DEANE SALES Ah right, I didn’t see that.

RICHARD Question 5: How are changes from one product to another recorded? How should they be recorded?

DEANE SALES So, if we’ve got a fire alarm system in a building and that building goes through a renovation, refurbishment, upgrade, whatever you want to call it, and whoever is doing the works replaces that with a new system, is that what we’re talking about here?

GEORGE I think there are three levels: one is, for a new build, under the Building Safety Act, at the gateways (particularly gateway 2) if somebody changes what has been proposed for an alternative solution then that has to go through quite a rigorous assessment to actually pick up what’s been changed. Now, I think at an alarm system level I imagine that will get picked up in a fairly straightforward way, hopefully anyway. If, for example, somebody swapped out some Aico smoke detectors for Apollo smoke detectors of the same spec, would that get picked up? So, that’s one level on new build. The second is when it’s all been handed over, maybe during the defect period or after that when things fail, or when they need to be replaced for life cycle reasons, what information is needed to manage that change process from one to another. So, that’s what this is about. And that second one would cover the example that you used, Deane.

DEANE SALES I think the second one that you said, George, was about if you’ve got an existing asset in a building and that asset needs to be changed for whatever reason, obviously if you’re replacing a detector you can only change if for the same manufacturer depending on the system that you’ve got. So, there’s no real requirement there to go through any kind of process to get sign off or anything like that because if you’ve got a fire alarm system that has got an advanced panel and Apollo detection and you’ve got to change a load of devices you’re just changing like for like. You might change the type, and that’s probably a valid point in that if you are going from…you’ve got an area where there’s a change of use of that area and as a result of that you’ve got to change the type of detector that’s in that room, then there probably should be a process for that, but generally ti will be like for like.

I think when it comes to the second one where the building is going through a refurbishment or end of life as such then really that comes down to, potentially, who’s best at selling their system. It becomes a bit of a battle then between what the client requirements are in terms of longevity, cost effectiveness and the capability to do the job that it’s there to do against the manufacturers who are all fighting agains each other saying that our system does this better than what your system does. it’s quite a complicated question, that one actually.

GEORGE Absolutely. And it’s one that everybody’s got some challenges over. The key thing from my point of view is making sure that the product that was installed is actually recorded along with the specification which determined what the product should perform.

DEANE SALES Obviously you’ve got new build and then you’ve got existing buildings, is it worth maybe splitting that list up, because new build at that stage will have a lot of requirements than potentially an existing building, unless that building then goes through a complete refurbishment which in theory then should put it in line with what’s required from a new build.

GEORGE Yes, I think that’s one for the process team.

DEANE SALES (referring to a graphic displayed on screen). That’s the RIBA stage of works. I get that the RIBA stage of works definitely has a part to play in procurement of fire alarm systems, but I can’t really see what that… One of the challenges I have is that procurement tends to happen for fire alarm systems at stage 4, even stage 5 sometimes, whereas I’ve been banging on for a long time now that procurement of life safety needs to be undertaken at stage 2 and then becomes part of the developed design. A bit like you build a building and normally the lifts are the first thing that gets procured because once you’ve built that shaft you can’t change it because someone’s decided they’re going to put in a bigger or smaller lift.

RICHARD George, do you see any value in that graphic.

JOHN FENNAH I think it's over complicated for what we're talking about.

GEORGE I don’t know who put that it, so I think probably Andy put it in, so you can take that out.

JOHN FENNAH I think it’s also good to reference that when you’re talking about procurement that not all detectors are the same, even though people say there’s an optical and a heat and whatever, multi-sensor. They’re not all the same. So, it’s the application provided for the project, or just on a procurement of the lowest price because we’re back to the ? 1hr 15mins 46secs alarm issue and basically the procurement buys the cheapest and then you just roll into the same old problems as we have done for 35 years.

GEORGE I think that’s a good point, John, and there’s another graphic that is actually more complex than that, but with the RIBA plan of work on it that illustrates the early selection of systems, in other words before design work is complete should be encouraged (and in fact actually enforced). That's what we're trying to push for.

RICHARD So we've basically got to the end of the document, unless anybody's got anything they want to add to what's been said already on the document. So we can move on to any other business for 10 minutes. I’m just thinking the conversation that George was having with Jean-Marc earlier might be possibly the first choice, unless anybody else has got anything they want to bring up?

JOHN FIELD It’s just kind of my point where you’ve got appendix 5, in essence you’ve detailed the 5839 Part 1 fife alarm systems but not the Part 6 elements. You’ve gone through the categories L4, L3, L2, L1, L5, but not gone into the different types of system you have within domestic premises.

RICHARD If you put a note of that on the chat then we can rectify that.

GEORGE Just to pick up on the point that Jean-Marc was making right at the beginning and that is one of the challenges he’s come across is that the estates management system that they’re using doesn’t facilitate them having spaces defined, the lowest level that it goes to is floors. He was making the point that that isn’t really adequate. I’d agree it’s not adequate and in most cases it’s not actually a function of the software, it’s a function of the way the hierarchy has been set up in the application, but it doesn’t need to be an issue in that it can be defined in another tool which can then feed that locational information, it can integrate with the property management system. Because the property management system of most social landlords is doing a lot of different things: It’s managing tenant information, finances, a whole range of different things, and therefore it’s probably a bit over ambitious to ask it to do everything.

We do have either, with my other hat on as Active Plan, we’re able to hold it down to the individual asset information down to which, if there’s smoke detectors in a room we can hold that and integrate with the other systems, and there are other applications that can do the same. So, I don’t think it is a limitation, if you want to see how that’s done, if it is something that you’re interested in, I think the location of things in buildings is particularly important, then let me know and we can show you. Is anybody experiencing what Jean-Marc was talking about because I think it’s an important area, it’s one that I’ve heard quite a lot about, but if it is something that we’re interested in we could set up a little working group to discuss it. No, everybody else has got that sorted. OK.

RICHARD Has anybody else got anything they want to raise? Either something from the meeting today or something adjacent that effects what we’re doing. John Fennah, has this meeting helped alleviate some of your issues (without obviously going into them)?

JOHN FENNAH To a degree. I’m an older guy who’s been in the industry for 36 years working for three worldwide detector manufacturers and I think it’s important we do draw back to what the purpose of a fire detection system is, what it’s there for, and how do we get people to believe in them again. I think we’ve lost our focus, we’re too nicely, we’re a bit too commercial, and I’m not sitting here with a commercial head on because I’m going to be very cynical about my own industry that we’ve just done so much for pounds, shillings and pence and not supported the public with having systems that actually do the job as prescribed. I’ll get off my pedestal now.

RICHARD No, it’s good to hear, and it’s good to hear people from within the industry looking at it from a non-commercial view and passionately.

DEANE SALES Can I just elaborate or, in theory, support what John said. I’ve worked for integrators so I’ve been the one that ultimately will go to clients and say this is what you need to do, this is the system you need to have installed, and I think the problem is that we’ve become very commercialised in that it’s all about selling a system. I think this industry is changing, it’s slow but it’s happening, and it’s all about the right system for the right application. There’s a lot of financial incentives with manufacturers, not all but some, for fire alarm integrators to put their systems in because they get it cheaper, they get a rebate at the end of the year if they hit their target, it’s all commercially driven.

Obviously I’m a consultant now so I’m now looking at this form a different head, it’s all about the right system for the right application, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s open, closed, managed, whatever, as long as…John mentioned it earlier, about not every single detector works the same. Every product is different, they have different characteristics, different things that you can achieve, so it’s about having very much an open mind and trying to get away from that commercial kind of view point.

RICHARD So, thank you all very much for that. A number of you I know will be coming to future meetings over the next week or so. Can I suggest if you've already heard the introduction two or three times, feel free to join the meeting a quarter of an hour late, come in at 15 minutes after the normal start time, that’s absolutely fine. There won't really problems with that. We’ll send you a link of the video to the meeting and also send you through the highpoints document which goes through the chat as well as the meeting minutes.

ADDENDUM

CHAT

Richard Michael

Beacons

Paul Cartwright

Should MCP be in the interface equipment too?

Richard Michael

Back-up power supply

Cable disconnection or system damage during works

Dust covers left on detection devices during work.

Laura Smith

Fire Strategy which includes the design requirements of the system and includes a riser strategy with suitable compartmentation drawings to supplement the document.

Deane Sales

Associated certification required in line with appropriate certification authority (BAFE SP-203 or LPS1014)

use this BS5839-1:2017 & BS5839-6:2019+A1:2020

Richard Michael

including any subsequent amendments

Battery replacement dates

Paul Cartwright

Agree on the Aico reference, think it needs to be mfr training. Could other examples of training courses be added, such as City & Guilds

Patrick Achief

is not a legal requirement anymore. I am a Building Safety Mgr

Fire Safety Manager

Paul Cartwright

Reference to Occupant testing of domestic systems

Evidence of procured product meeting appropriate British manufacturing standards.

EN54 standards list, should include pt6 product standards too, including specific standards for sensors within Multisensor devices.

Field, John K.

Would there be any merit in how the systems operate. Simultaneous and Phased.

43.3 Action in the event of pre-alarms... Should this include the time limit allowed?