Fire suppression systems are a fundamental element in addressing fire risk to buildings and their occupants. Working alongside fire prevention and protection methods, fire suppression systems respond in an active way to prevent the spread of fire. In this post, we outline the latest fire suppression standards and offer some advice on how to ensure complete compliance with fire safety regulations.
What are fire suppression systems?
Fire suppression systems are designed to extinguish fires through the use of concentrated substances including carbon dioxide, inert gas, and a variety of dry chemical agents. These systems are responsible for quickly detecting the presence of flames and smoke, triggering an alarm, and extinguishing or controlling the fire as early as possible.
UK standards for fire suppression systems
Fire suppression standards in the UK do not legally require buildings to be equipped with fire suppression systems, though both commercial and residential property owners are responsible for conducting fire risk assessments on their buildings. The only requirement of the assessor is that he or she is ‘competent’. This means that they’re able to:
- Identify fire hazards
- Identify people at risk
- Evaluate measures currently in place to address fire risks
- Review the arrangements for the management of fire safety
- Record findings and keep documentation up to date.
If there is any doubt as to whether an individual is capable of carrying out the above, a professional fire risk assessor will be required.
Fire suppression regulations
The most relevant regulations regarding fire suppression systems can be found in Approved Document B which covers fire safety in and around buildings in the UK . Requirement B3 of this document, which relates to the internal spread of fire, is the most pertinent to fire suppression systems, stating:
“Where reasonably necessary to inhibit the spread of fire within the building, measures shall be taken, to an extent appropriate to the size and intended use of the building, comprising either or both of the following:
- Subdivision of the building with fire-resisting construction;
- Installation of suitable automatic fire suppression systems;”
Furthermore, based on these guidelines, any building or block of flats that is over 11 metres in height should be installed with a sprinkler system throughout the structure. It’s worth noting, however, that there are specific fire suppression system standards for different types of buildings; residential buildings follow Document BS 9251 while non-residential buildings follow BS EN 12845.
How often should fire suppression systems be inspected and maintained?
In order to ensure that your fire suppression system will respond reliably in the event of a fire, inspections and maintenance are necessary. Your fire suppression system will need regular servicing, although the timing in between servicings will vary based on factors such as system-type and environment. Fire suppression standards suggest a basic service every 12 months, in line with a regular Fire Risk Assessment (FRA).
CLM Fireproofing is the UK’s leading passive fire protection and fire stopping specialist. With 34 years of experience, our experts are able to accurately assess fire risk in your buildings, and install measures to ensure full compliance with current regulations. If you’d like to know more, get in touch with CLM Fireproofing today – we’re here to help.
Disclaimer: This post is intended for educational use only, and should not be relied upon for compliance purposes.