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Fire Safety

The fire alarm system chosen for a particular application must form part of an integrated system. The fire alarm system will not satisfy all elements of the fire protection strategy for premises, but it will contribute to it.

Modular certification scheme

The type of fire protection needed will depend on the nature of the fire risk presented. SSAIB operates a modular certification scheme for providers of fire alarm and detection system.

It is designed for providers involved in: system design, installation, commissioning and handover, and maintenance of systems. SSAIB operates this scheme under licence from BAFE, in accordance with its SP 203 standard.

These activities may all be undertaken by one provider or through a number of separate specialist providers at each level. This enables certification for the whole system to be issued, based on modular certification at each level.

It is important that you choose certificated providers at each level - from system designers, through installation and commissioning to maintenance. Each provider must identify the range of activities for which they are certificated.

The law applicable to fire safety underwent significant change in October 2006 - as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into effect at that time.

This legislation, commonly known as RR(FS)O - or simply RRO - replaced over 70 pieces of fire safety law and it applies to all non-domestic business premises in England and Wales.It applies to individuals who are:

  • Responsible for business premises.
  • An employer (or someone self-employed) with business premises.
  • Responsible for a part of a dwelling which is solely used for business.
  • A charity or voluntary organisation.
  • A contractor with a degree of control over any premises.

Such individuals are deemed the “responsible person” for the premises in question. The responsible person has a legal obligation to carry out a fire safety risk assessment on the premises and implement and maintain a fire management plan for the premises.

The responsible person may contract out the task of preparing the fire risk assessment, but they still remain responsible for it and also for implementing the actions needed to reduce or manage the risk.In general, the fire services no longer issue fire certificates to premises and existing fire certificates cease to have any legal status.

More on Fire Safety

Choosing System Providers

  • By using an SSAIB-certificated company, you are assured that the installer has been subject to a range of relevant checks - with respect to both technical competence and professional conduct.
  • Always agree a written specification with the installer. Listen to advice, but do not be ‘bamboozled’ by technical details. The installer should be able to explain - in layman’s terms - what your system will be able to do. If you are in doubt about a specification, contact the certification body the installers are registered with and ask them to clarify.
  • Ask for a written fixed price. If the installer cannot give a fixed price, get them to detail what contingencies might cause the price to rise and by how much.
  • Ascertain what call-out cover or repair cover is provided.
  • Contact a range - say three, for example - of installers and compare the costs. Ensure that you are given a Certificate of Conformity for the installed system. This confirms that the system has been installed to the relevant standard. This information is also held by the certification body - such as SSAIB - for information.
  • Confirm whether you have purchased or leased the system.
  • You should consider taking out a maintenance contract - as this will almost certainly be a condition of insurance and is mandatory for "Police calling" systems. Be sure you understand what is covered - ie the length of the contract, what is warrented, is both parts and labour included etc. Having your system maintained will reduce the potential for false alarms. A maintenance contract will also be required if you opt for a monitored system to gain a Police response.