How often should I be servicing my fire detection and fire alarm system?

For non-automated systems (i.e. systems that do not communicate with an Alarm Receiving Centre) it is recommended a service by a competent provider is carried out every 12 months to comply with BS 5389-1 (the British Standard for Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings in non-domestic premises). BS 5389-1 outlines multiple recommendations for inspecting and testing these systems that all BAFE SP203-1 Registered Companies will be following.

The British Standard (BS 5839-1) states “It is essential that the system is subject to periodic inspection and servicing so that faults are identified, preventive measures can be taken to ensure the continued reliability of the system, false alarm problems are identified and suitably addressed, and the user is made aware of any changes to the building that affect the protection afforded by the system.

Periodic inspection and servicing needs to be carried out by a competent person with specialist knowledge of fire detection and fire alarm systems, including knowledge of the causes of false alarms, sufficient information regarding the system, and adequate access to spares.

This is normally an outside fire alarm servicing organization; care needs to be taken to ensure that, if, for example, in-house employees are used for this task, they have equivalent competence to the technicians of a typical fire alarm servicing organization. Competence of a fire alarm servicing organization can be assured by the use of organizations that are third-party certificated, by a UKAS-accredited certification body, to carry out inspection and servicing of fire alarm systems.

Routine servicing of a fire detection and fire alarm system does not constitute a fresh review of system design; it is a verification of the functionality and serviceability of the existing system. Accordingly, it is not necessarily the case that non-compliances with Section 2 of this standard will be identified at the time of routine servicing; in any case, the maintenance technician might not be aware as to whether an apparent non-compliance is, in fact, simply an agreed variation, particularly if the design certificate is not available. However, at their own prerogative, the maintenance organization can point out aspects of non-compliance with Section 2. Nevertheless, any such advice provided to the user by the maintenance organization cannot be regarded (by users, enforcing authorities or any other party) as an implication that the maintenance technician has identified, or has endeavoured to identify, all such areas of non-compliance, or that there has been any review of the original design.” – BS 5339-1 Clause 45.1, Commentary – Inspection and servicing.

If your fire detection and fire alarm system does include features for automatic monitoring that communicate with an alarm receiving centre (ARC), the periodic inspection and testing of the system should not exceed six months between servicing visits.

“The recommendations in this clause should be carried out by a competent person (see 3.12). The period between successive inspection and servicing visits should not exceed six months. If this recommendation is not implemented, it should be considered that the system is no longer compliant with this part of BS 5839.”  - BS 5339-1 Clause 45.3

Every effort is made to ensure that the information provided is accurate and up to date.

No legal responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions.