LPS1014 Fire Alarms & Smoke Detection systems for Corporate & Public Sectors - London, Middlesex, UK
Fire Alarms and Smoke Detection Systems are designed to protect life and property by giving an early warning of fire to the occupants of a building.
A pre-planned emergency procedure must be initiated including the summoning of a fire-fighting team and/or emergency services, either manually or automatically via an alarm receiving centre.
Fire Alarm & Smoke Detection System Installations
PEL Services specialise in working with customers to fulfill stringent legal requirements, including fire alarm and smoke detection installations, fire telephone systems and fire extinguishing equipment.
PEL are BAFE and LPCB compliant and hold a ‘Certificate of Conformity’ to undertake single point responsibility for services and commissioning of Fire Detection & Alarm Systems, meeting the requirements of LPS 1014: Requirements for Certificated Fire Detection and Alarm System Firms, the highest accreditation in the industry. More can be found on Fire Regulations here.
A really good system will be carefully designed to put safety first, but also minimise potential for false alarms, best-practice we demonstrated when PEL was selected to design and install the Fire Detection and Alarm system at the Building Research Establishment in Hertfordshire.
The BRE has produced this useful white paper on 'Causes of false alarms in buildings'.
Our FIA trained engineers ensure requirements are met by assigning a qualified Engineer to be the customer’s first point of contact, guiding them through the design, installation and commissioning stages. Upon project completion our dedicated service department will provide ongoing support for the lifetime of the system.
PEL are versatile solution-providers, so we can survey your existing system and avoid unnecessary disruption, but we will not risk performance or reliability for short-sighted cost saving. We use control panels and devices from selected manufacturers including Apollo, Advanced, Hochiki and Morley.
What types of Fire Alarm Systems and Smoke Detectors are available?
Many types of fire detection & smoke alarm systems exist on the market, from basic to the most complex:
Conventional Fire Detection & Alarm Systems
This is a cost-effective solution for small and simple building designs:
- Control panel provides hard-wired detection zones to which conventional detection devices are connected
- Layout and size of zones are governed by the building’s fire compartments and search times for any given zone’s area of coverage
- Specific details and requirements are provided in BS5839 pt.1: 2013
- Conventional systems can provide an economical solution to satisfy a simple emergency plan
Analogue Addressable Fire Detection & Alarm Systems
Analogue Addressable Systems enable every device to be identified by type and location. Each device is allocated an alpha-numeric label or ‘address’, directly related to its physical location. The devices connected to an analogue addressable system provide an analogue value directly related to phenomena sensed within its physical environment.
Control panel benefits include:
- Programmable to take action at pre-set thresholds before a full fire alarm condition is reached
- “Cause and effect” programming allowing any group of inputs from monitoring devices to operate any group of outputs, at different times of the day
- Programmable time delays to allow a full investigation before signalling a full evacuation
- Built-in redundancy, as circuits are cabled in loop configurations with both-way monitoring
- Significant reductions in overall cost of larger installations due to less cabling used
Wireless Fire Detection & Alarm System
Wireless fire detection & alarm systems (similar functionality to the analogue addressable range) have obvious benefits where the installation of cables is difficult, undesirable or simply not possible.
When specifying it is important to conduct a radio survey to ensure proposed systems will be operating within acceptable parameters recommended by the system manufacturer.
Wireless systems typically operate with a battery life expectancy of five to seven years. Battery life can be dramatically effected by distance, signal attenuation and temperature fluctuations / extremes. For continued trouble-free detection, a programme of battery replacement can be implemented during selected service visits.
Hybrid systems can provide the best solution where a proportion of the system can be easily hard wired and the difficult areas served by wireless devices.
Fire Alarms and Smoke Detection
While some fires are caused by deliberate acts or unsafe, risky behaviour, many fires develop due to an accidental overload or malfunction of unmonitored equipment/wiring, or when buildings are unoccupied.
Some such fires may be at extremes on a scale - either initially presenting directly and/or subsequently developing very rapidly, or otherwise they can initially be smouldering opportunities for prevention of conflagration, if detected in time.
Types of smoke and heat detection devices
Current and developing fire and smoke detection devices, therefore, use several very different technologies to detect the presenting characteristics of various early-stage fires, originating from a wide range of possible risk circumstances.
- Heat detectors operate when the temperature at the detector exceeds a pre-determined value that indicates a fire. A rate-of-rise detector may be used where rapid temperature fluctuations are not normal.
- Ionisation smoke detectors respond to small particles of smoke in a wide range of settings and are most sensitive to hot, fast-burning fires. However they are dependent upon the smoke remaining sufficiently concentrated, not dispersed by draughts or ventilation. Due to their sensitivity they can trigger false alarms if near cooking areas.
- Photo-electric smoke detectors (often called optical or photo-optical detectors) measure scattered light affected by smoke particles. These are most sensitive to larger, cooler smoke particles produced by smouldering fires, such as plastics. These types of detectors will be susceptible to false alarms in areas where steam can occur.
- Linear beam smoke detectors are particularly useful for detection challenges in large spaces where other types of detectors cannot be positioned and accessed for maintenance. These measure the intensity of a beam of light between two elements, a reduction being likely caused by a wide range of types of smoke particles. These require extremely careful installation and maintenance.
Devices in combination
As fire and smoke detection technologies move forward, the opportunities to use them appropriately call for design ingenuity, in relation to the opportunities within the individual circumstances of a building and its uses. The right design combinations, positioning and installation can mean the difference between early intervention and a total loss.
- CO (Carbon Monoxide) detectors - These can be useful in combinations, where damage to carbon-based materials is a key risk. CO is produced during smouldering or slow burning fires, due to incomplete combustion.
- Aspirated smoke detectors (VESDA Systems) - Aspiring (breathing) type detection systems can be more effective than combinations of fixed positional detectors in certain applications, particularly where pollution, smoking and dust particles may be causing false alarms.
PEL have helped many customers fulfill their fire protection responsibilities, including: City Academy, Harrow Civic Centre, Oxford Health NHS Trust, NHS Hertfordshire, Housing & Care 21, Cotswold Leisure Centre, Access Self Storage, WH Smith, Hugo Boss, Early Learning Centre, Debenhams, Cranbury College and Lombok.