BAFE DS301 Domestic Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Webinar Q&A

Questions answered from the domestic fire detection and fire alarm webinar (24/08/2021)

Please find below questions answered from the Fire Safety Matters hosted webinar Domestic fire detection and fire alarm systems - Doing them right 24/08/2021 (in collaboration with NAPIT). To watch a recording of this please visit: (you will be given access to the video once you register).

What are the casualties and fire deaths in non-alarmed dwellings?

From 2010/11 to 2020/2021 the Home Office have information available on incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services. As of October 2021, from 2010/11 to 2020/2021 according to the document FIRE0702: Primary fires, fatalities and non-fatal casualties by presence and operation of smoke alarms (in England) there has been:

65,456 non-fatal casualties

For non-fatal casualties:

  • 30,066 had an alarm present and raised the alarm
  • 9,137 had an alarm present but did not raise the alarm
  • 11,085 had an alarm present but did not operate
  • 15,168 had no alarm (alarm absent)

2,405 fatalities

For fatalities:

  • 647 had an alarm present and raised the alarm
  • 533 had an alarm present but did not raise the alarm
  • 451 had an alarm present but did not operate
  • 774 had no alarm (alarm absent)

Source: FIRE0702: Primary fires, fatalities and non-fatal casualties by presence and operation of smoke alarms

What are the typical costs for BAFE DS301 registration and the ongoing costs?

The BAFE Registration costs are included within the Certification Body assessment costs, therefore nothing will be paid directly to BAFE. Please contact NAPIT (who are currently the sole Certification Body delivering BAFE DS301 assessment) regarding assessment costs. Ongoing costs will be in annual re-assessment and generation of Certificates of Compliance issued (again this will be charged for via the Certification Body, so please contact NAPIT for further information).

How will I be able to issue certificates for the BAFE DS301 scheme?

Certificates of Compliance and Modular Certificates will be generated via the Certification Body you achieve BAFE DS301 Third Party Certification with (please contact NAPIT, who are currently the sole Certification Body delivering BAFE DS301 assessment, for further information).

What level of detection is covered in Grade D?

Grade D systems cover the following:

“Grade D1: A system of one or more mains-powered detectors, each with a tamper-proof standby supply consisting of a battery or batteries.

Grade D2: A system of one or more mains-powered detectors, each with an integral standby supply consisting of a user-replaceable battery or batteries.

In the case of Grade D and Grade F systems, where more than one smoke alarm is installed, the smoke alarms normally need to be interlinked. Any heat alarms also need to be interlinked with the smoke alarms.”

Source: BS 5389-6: 7. Grades of system

Can the DS301 Scheme be applied to grade C and grade F systems?

Whilst Grade C and Grade F systems are covered under BS 5839-6, the BAFE DS301 Scheme currently exclusively covers Grade D systems (D1/D2). Grade C (and Grade A) systems require additional requirements, such as central control equipment which ideally would be addressed by a BAFE SP203-1 Registered Company, with additional assessment to BS 5839-6 which would demonstrate understanding of domestic building requirements. Grade F systems (F1/F2) are the lowest/minimal requirement in some existing owner-occupied buildings. All new or materially altered premises require category Grade D or higher.

How long is each BAFE DS301 module?

The BAFE DS301 Scheme is not a training course. Modules represent the different areas of competence required to complete the entire process (design, installation, commissioning, maintenance). These modules are outlined within the BAFE DS301 Scheme Document and will be used to assess your organisation’s competency and management system to deliver one or more of these areas.

Is the BAFE DS301 Scheme more tailored for Contractors rather than consultants? Is there any point for a fire protection consultant to undertake the course?

The BAFE DS301 Scheme is suitable for any organisation who is involved in the design, installation, commissioning and/or maintenance of grade D fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises. This will on most occasions be electrical contractors but could extend to other organisations and building management.

The BAFE DS301 Scheme is not a training course. This is a thorough assessment of your organisation’s ability to fulfil the work noted above to determine your competency and provide quality evidence of this.

Is this DS301 Scheme only ran by NAPIT? There are other electrical Certification Bodies, who have domestic only contractors which this scheme is aiming at.

Currently NAPIT are the sole UKAS Accredited Certification Body that are BAFE licensed to deliver BAFE DS301 Scheme assessment. As with all the BAFE Schemes however, the BAFE DS301 Scheme is available to any UKAS Accredited Certification Body who wishes to add this to their scope of certification.

Will there be a fast track application process for those wishing to apply to the scheme if they already hold SP203-1?

At present only NAPIT deliver BAFE DS301 Scheme assessment, and an assessment will still be required to determine competency and a quality management system to deliver domestic fire detection and fire alarm system work. If an organisation already holds Third Party Certification for the BAFE SP203-1 Scheme (with additional specified certification towards BS 5839-6) this should help in demonstrating your ability to deliver this service.

If I have satisfied competence requirements for SP203-1, will I be competent to operate in the domestic scheme?

Not necessarily. The BAFE SP203-1 Scheme does note you can be assessed towards your understanding of BS 5839-6, but this is only performed on specific request with your chosen Certification Body. The BAFE DS301 Scheme adds further stipulations and persons responsible to this understanding and the management systems used to perform Grade D domestic fire detection and fire alarm system works.

As a homeowner with a fully compliant BS 5839-6 class D System installed are you required to have the system maintained? Or is it just a recommendation?

For owner occupied premises, this is down to your discretion. BS 5839-6 specifically recommends maintenance should be performed by a competent person every “12 months for sheltered housing scheme and dispersed telecare-enabled fire detection and fire alarm systems; otherwise not applicable.”

Source: BS 5839-6: Table 3 - Testing and servicing by grade

Please kindly clarify on design of fire alarm in a block of flats, location of manual call points. do we really need them on each floor?

Questions such as these highlight the necessity for competent organisations to be available to fulfil fire detection and fire alarm system work. For a large block of flats, it would most likely be a Grade A system complying with the recommendations of BS 5839-1 for the communal parts of blocks of flats. This work can be completed by a BAFE SP203-1 Registered Organisation. These organisations can be found on the BAFE Fire Safety Register who will be able to assess the building appropriately.

Do Organisations have any training in doing Fire Safety Inspections in order to identify potential sources of Fire Hazard and advise on their mitigation or removal? For example, overloaded electrics.

Electrical and electrotechnical organisations will most likely be able to perform a safety check of your building for any electrical hazards that require attention. This in turn would highlight any potential fire hazards relating to electrical systems within the building. However, this is a much larger issue. The BAFE DS301 Scheme will only cover the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of Grade D fire detection and fire alarm systems. During the initial assessment of the building for this system however, other electrical issues may be highlighted.

The Domestic systems are very basic systems and nothing near as complex as BS5839-1 Systems. If as a company, you have Electrically qualified C&G 7671/BS5839-1 certified personnel and are in house trained on BS5839-6 by the qualified supervisor. As a maintenance company surely BS5839-1 Maintenance is sufficient to maintain basic domestic systems, is the BAFE scheme legally required just to maintain the systems?

It must be made clear that training and qualifications alone to BS 7671, BS 5839-1 or BS5839-6 are not evidence of competency and are not UKAS Accredited Third-Party Certification. Training (and associated qualifications) provide contractors with the appropriate knowledge at the time the training/exam takes place. Third-Party Certification is crucial to demonstrate evidence of competency, which is usually assessed on an annual basis.

At present however, the BAFE DS301 Scheme is not a mandatory requirement. Third Party Certification to the scope of BAFE DS301 allows you to establish quality evidence of competency to deliver work regarding Grade D fire detection and fire alarm systems (assessed on an annual basis).

It must be noted however that non-domestic and domestic systems have different levels of criteria required and the appropriate standards and best practice should be followed. If you can evidence your competency towards BS 5839-6 for Grade D domestic fire detection and fire alarm systems, this will not be an issue.

Would this scheme cover installation of compensatory interlinked heat detectors for those premises where there may be issues with external wall systems?

If the interlinked detectors are part of a grade D fire detection and fire alarm system, this would fall under the scope of the BAFE DS301 Scheme.

Can a BS 5839 part 6 system be connected to operate fire dampers within a flat?

This would depend on the risk assessment, fire strategy and type of system used. Further information would be required to answer this question properly. In theory, a BS 5839-6 system could be connected to operate fire dampers within a flat.

Does this scheme give rise to domestic electricians conducting works out of their scope as HMO, Sheltered housing detail Grade A systems within communal areas?

No, the BAFE DS301 Scheme only covers Grade D systems to BS 5839-6. If a Grade A System is required, this work would clearly be out of scope for the contractor with only DS301 registration (BAFE SP203-1 should be specified for Grade A systems).

How to differentiate between domestic and systems installed in supported living schemes where staff may be visiting domestic settings to provide support during the day only or over 24-hour period?

The appropriate fire detection and fire alarm system can be determined by an assessment of the building by a suitable fire safety service provider. In this instance, is the building owner occupied or sheltered accommodation? This will affect what type of system should be installed according to BS 5389-6.

In Scotland, Fire Safety Legislation is making interlinked for alarms/smoke detectors compulsory in all homes from Feb 2022, surely this is almost unenforceable? How will the new Scottish regulations be policed?

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) will be responsible for this and recommend you contact them directly for better understanding on enforcement. BAFE cannot comment on behalf of SFRS.

If there is a person with a hearing and visual impairment, how are the safety procedures in the building? [in relation to domestic fire detection and fire alarm systems]

In a situation where there is hearing and visual impairment there can be visual warning indicators for fire detection systems such as strobe/flashing lights. For individuals with both impairments further action may be required.

This would need to be determined by building management and any associated risk assessment performed. For further advice on this issue, it is recommended to contact your local Fire and Rescue Service.

Are electrical/fire alarms installers qualifications required to install a fire alarm in a non-domestic property?

While there are no mandatory requirements for fire or electrical qualifications to install in domestic or non-domestic properties to BS 5839-1 or BS 5839-6 or BS 7671 for fire alarm systems it is a legal requirement to comply with Electricity at Work Regulations for any electrical work which covers being competent to carry out the work.

You should be competent to install a Grade D fire alarm to BS 5839-6 and for the associated electrical installation to BS 7671 in a domestic property. The BAFE DS301 Scheme requires the Installation Organisation to be CPS registered and operate a suitable and effective management system, in addition to the other Scheme requirements. Furthermore, the Qualified Supervisor is required to have various qualifications (BS 5839-6 & BS 7671) and have suitable experience and responsibility for fire detection and fire alarm work related to Grade D systems. Ultimately, regardless of qualifications and experience, the Qualified Supervisor is individually assessed [within the DS301 organisation assessment] by the Third Party Certification Body to determine this competence on an annual basis.

If I’m not Registered to the BAFE DS301 Scheme and I’m doing a full rewire, would I have to get someone in just to wire in the fire alarm?

Yes - if your client requires a BAFE DS301 Certificate of Compliance. The Design, Installation and Commissioning of the fire detection and alarm system could be undertaken by a suitable BAFE DS301 Contractor.

Because of this I won’t ever be able to issue a new EIC?

An EIC or Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate would be issued by the BAFE DS301 Contractor responsible for the electrical installation work related to the fire alarms. The rest of the electrical installation (rewire) would be covered by another EIC, issued by the other electrical contractor, clearly detailing what they were responsible for.

Every effort is made to ensure that the information provided is accurate at time of publishing (22/10/2021). No legal responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions.