The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Fire Detection & Alarm Systems – Part 162

December 11, 2023 12:08 pm

LWF’s Fire Safety Engineering blog series is written for Architects, building designers and others in the construction industry to highlight and promote discussion on all topics around fire engineering. In part 161, LWF discussed beam detectors and flame detectors. In part 162, we talk about ceiling height limits before considering control equipment.

Ceiling Height Limits

In order for detectors for fire alarm systems to function as they were intended, certain restrictions are necessary as to the placement of detectors. The maximum height at which they may be placed in order for them to function varies with the type of detection chosen for a space.

BS 5839-1:2017 – Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings – Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises gives guidance on the maximum ceiling height possible for protection for each detector type.

Generally, the maximum heights applicable are as follows:

Heat detection – 7.5 m to 9.0 m (BS EN 54-5)

Point smoke detection – 10.5 m (BS EN 54-7)

Carbon monoxide detection – 10.5 m (BS EN 54-26)

Optical beam detection – 25.0 m to 40.0 m (BS EN 54-12)

Aspirating detection – 10.5 m to 40.0 m (BS EN 54-20)

BSI have a page which provides links to all the BS EN 54 parts, which is most useful when working with fire detection and fire alarm systems.

Control Equipment

The control panel is the part of a fire alarm system dealing with the location of a fire. It indicates faults and provides the user with control over the alarm sounders and other signalling devices. The panel should comply with BS EN 54-2 in countries where British Standards are/may be used, or the equivalent standards in that country.

A control panel is sometimes referred to as control and indicating equipment, or CIE.

The siting of the control panel is of the utmost importance. It should be placed where staff on the premises can easily see the indications shown on the panel. The panel should also preferably be located on the ground floor of the building (or the floor of pedestrian access) and in immediate vicinity of the entrance to the building most likely to be used by the fire brigade.

The control panel should be accompanied by a zone designation chart or a diagrammatic plan showing the zone locations.

In part 163 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will talk about audible and visual alarms. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients since 1986 to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact the LWF office on 0800 410 1130.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

Share this post