Almost all types of building need some type of fire alarm system

Activate fire safety can provide design packages to suit the customers’ requirements, ranging from simple fire alarm and emergency lighting schemes through to complex mechanical and electrical systems design with fire safety interfaces.  We work in association with a Telford based building services design consultancy (SJH Design & Consultancy Ltd). This partnering company shares the same philosophy as Activate Fire which is to deliver high quality, cost effective, reliable services and design solutions.

Fire Alarms

Fire alarms in the UK are typically designed to the BS 5839 series of documents. BS5839-1 recommends that a fire detection system is designed by a competent person, who takes responsibility for completing the design and signing off with a ‘Design certificate’. There are a range of levels of fire alarm types and system design options available. It is essential to ensure that the appropriate fire alarm detection and warning system is specified to ensure the building is adequately protected and the regulations are satisfied.  A structured design approach will provide the customer with a tailored, cost effective solution which can be offered for approval prior to the site works stage. This will reduce the risk of late changes having to be made to an installation and the associated cost and time implications.

BS 5839 Part 1 2013 is the standard for Fire Detection and Alarm Systems in Buildings, this standard is the code of practice for system design, installation and servicing.
It is important that any installation engineer, or electrical contractor undertaking this type of work is fully conversant with BS5839, which covers systems from simple manual installations to fully automatic fire alarm and detection systems.


The importance of design planning cannot be overstated as many parties are likely to have an interest in the fire detection and alarm system.

Those who should be consulted before the design is finalised may include:

  • The System Installer/Contractor
  • The Local Fire Authority (Fire Officer)
  • Consulting Engineers or Building Services Engineers
  • Architects and Engineers
  • The Building Control Officer
  • The Fire Insurer

The consideration prior to design, which should also be detailed within the system specifications, may include:

  • The purpose of the system
  • Typical Fire Service attendance time
  • Occupant escape times
  • Other actions to be taken in the event of a fire
  • Other occupants (particularly for multiple-occupancy)
  • Service and maintenance requirements
  • System operation requirements

Fire alarm systems are installed for many different reasons they may be installed for the protection of life, or the protection of property, or a mixture of both. Most buildings that are intended to be occupied by people, will need both life and property protection to differing degrees.