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Fire – British Standard BS 5839-6:2013

What is the British Standard BS 5839-6:2013?

British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 covers specific recommendations for fire alarm systems in all dwellings and covers both new-build and existing properties. The standard contains a large amount of detail on all aspects relating to the design and installation of fire alarm systems but one area of it covers the type of alarm to install and the areas of the property to protect.

What type of alarm? The Grade

The Grade describes the type of alarm system using six Grades:

Grade A – Separate detectors, sounders and central control and indicating equipment with back-up power supply. Equipment must conform to other British Standards (BS EN 54)

Grade B – Separate detectors, sounders and central control and indicating equipment with back-up power supply

Grade C – Separate detectors and sounders (which can be combined in the form of alarms) that are mains powered with back-up power supply and central control equipment

Grade D – Mains powered alarms with an integral back-up power supply

Grade E – Mains powered alarms with no back-up supply

Grade F – Battery powered alarms

What areas should I protect? The Category

The standard states that the level of protection to the occupants needs to be directly related to the fire risk. However, it does list three Categories of system to describe the level of protection the systems provide. Where and how many alarms are installed will affect how quickly a fire is detected – generally the higher the Category of system the higher the level of protection

          British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 LD1            British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 LD2            British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 LD3

Across all Categories, alarms should not be installed within toilets, bathrooms or shower rooms.


What else should I consider?

The British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 recommends that optical smoke alarms or multi-sensor fire alarms containing an optical sensor (such as the Ei3024 Multi Sensor Fire Alarm) should be fitted into circulation areas, such as hallways and landings, and that heat alarms should be fitted in kitchens. This is represented by the colour coding of the rooms in the diagrams above. If you would like more advice on the alarm types available and how to site alarms effectively visit our pages on Alarm Sensor Types and Alarm Siting.

The BS 5839-6:2013 standard also states that alarms should be interconnected within a property to ensure audibility. In the case of Grade D systems (typical for standard domestic properties), this can be done by either hard-wiring the alarms together or using SmartLINKRadioLINK+ or RadioLINK wireless interconnection.

BS 5839-6:2013 also references be able to test the alarm system from floor height. This can be achieved using Alarm Controllers which are wall mounted units designed to offer simple testing and control of the alarm system.



Note: These recommendations are based on the British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 for standard dwellings with no floor larger than 200m2 and is provided a guidance only. A Fire Risk Assessment should be conducted to determine the Grade or Category of system required. If you would like more information please refer to the British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 or contact our Technical Team –

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