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Aico TV: Episode 22

28th October 2021 | 2.00 - 3.00 pm

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Fire – Building Regulations

What are the Fire Building Regulations in the UK?

There are different Fire Building Regulations across the UK, with England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all drawing from different documents and requiring different levels of protection. All of the Regulations cover a wide range of safety requirements including means of escape, internal fire spread and access for the fire and rescue service, but this page will focus on the fire alarm system itself.

Building Regulations in England, Scotland and Wales

England and Wales – Building Regulations Document B (Volume 1)

These regulations cover new builds, materially altered dwellings, loft conversations and certain building extensions for standard dwellings.

All dwellings should be provided with an alarm system to at least Grade D1/D2, Category LD3 – this means the installation of mains powered alarms with an integral back-up power supply within the escape routes of the property (i.e. hallways and landings). In addition, the Regulations also require a heat alarm to be installed in any kitchen areas where the kitchen is not separated from the circulation space or stairway by a door.

The Regulations state that optical smoke alarms are generally more suitable for installation in circulation areas (hallways and landings) adjacent to kitchens. Heat alarms are recommended for kitchens.

All alarms should be interconnected to ensure audibility throughout the property in event of an alarm being triggered.

The Regulations also reference the British Standard BS 5839-6:2019 and recommend that an alarm system is installed in-line with this Standard.

Learn more about BS 5839-6:2019

Scotland – Technical Handbook (Domestic) – Fire

These regulations now cover all properties to include private rented, social housing, new builds, materially altered dwellings, loft conversions, certain building extensions and any work that requires a building warrant.

All dwellings should be provided with either a Grade D or a long-life Grade F alarm system installed as follows:

  • At least one smoke alarm in the principal habitable room (commonly the living room)
  • At least one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey (i.e. hallways and landings)
  • At least one smoke alarm in every access room serving an inner room
  • At least one heat alarm installed in every kitchen
  • Optical or Multi-Sensor alarms are recommended for the principle habitable room and all circulation areas. Heat alarms are recommended for kitchens

Depending upon the specific layout of the property, the above generally equates to Category LD2.

All alarms should be interconnected to ensure audibility throughout the property in event of an alarm being triggered.

The Regulations also reference the British Standard BS 5839-6:2019 and recommend that an alarm system is installed in-line with this Standard.

Learn more about BS 5839-6:2019

Northern Ireland – Technical Booklet E

These regulations cover new build, materially altered dwellings, loft conversions and certain building extensions.

All dwellings should be provided with an alarm system to at least Grade D1/D2, Category LD2 – this means the installation of mains powered alarms with an integral back-up power supply within the escape routes of the property (i.e. hallways and landings), principal habitable room (generally the living room) and the kitchen.

The Regulations state that optical smoke alarms are generally more suitable for installation in circulation areas (hallways and landings) adjacent to kitchens. Heat alarms are recommended for kitchens.

All alarms should be interconnected to ensure audibility throughout the property in event of an alarm being triggered.

The Regulations also reference the British Standard BS 5839-6:2019 and recommend that an alarm system is installed in-line with this Standard.

Learn more about BS 5839-6:2019

Advice and Guidance

Further information on Building Regulations

Note that the above information is relevant to standard domestic properties up to three storeys with no individual floor level of over 200m². Further information can be found in Building Regulations Document B for England and Wales, Fire Technical Handbook – Domestic for Scotland and Technical Handbook E for Northern Ireland.

Additionally you can contact our Technical Team – technical@aico.co.uk or your local Building Control Officer through your local Planning Authority.

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