BS5839-1:2017 the code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises commentary states:
“Conformity of an individual component to a recognized standard does not necessarily ensure that it will operate satisfactorily in conjunction with another component that conforms to the relevant standard for that component. It is essential that compatibility between components is taken into account by the designer of the system. BS EN 54-13 can be used to confirm system compatibility”.
To understand why this is significant and for those who may be from a different field it is worth remembering, Standards for fire alarm detection and alarm systems come under the EN 54 series of standards. These standards specify requirements, test methods and performance criteria required by various individual components making up a fire detection and alarm system (FDAS). However, they are also individual product standards, for example:
- EN 54-2 specifies the requirements for the control and indicating equipment
- EN 54-7 specifies the requirements for point type smoke detectors
In total, there are 23 of these product standards currently in use.
EN 54-13 differs from these product standards in that it considers the ability of all the individual components to work together as a fire detection and alarm system. As such EN 54-13 is intended to demonstrate the compatibility and connectability of components even if some components may not be defined by EN 54 standards. Within the standard two component types are defined Type 1 and Type 2.
In general, Type 1 components are any component covered by an EN 54 standard. These components are assessed for compatibility. I.e. their ability to operate with other Type 1 components of the FDAS, within the limits specified for each device. And specified limits defined by the relevant EN 54 and within the specified configuration of the system.
Type 2 component requirements differ in that they are assessed for connectability to the FDAS. These are components such as printers, Building Management Systems (BMS) etc. These components are assessed for their ability to operate without jeopardizing the performance of the FDAS.
As the complexity of fire detection and alarm systems increases with systems being designed with connectivity to systems such as BMS, access control and other systems; it is highly unlikely that a single manufacturer will design and manufacture all the components within a FDAS, thereby ensuring compatibility of components.
BS5839-1:2017 the code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises recognize this complexity and advise:
“It’s essential that compatibility between components is taken into account by the designer of the system. BS EN 54-13 can be used to confirm system compatibility”.
Although EN 54-13 is not a harmonized standard under the construction products regulations, an increasing number of authorities, specifiers, installers and end users are requesting EN 54-13 compliance. This provides a means of demonstrating that individual components and other systems connecting with an FDAS design are compatible and operate as intended.
Author: Wasantha Hunukumbure
Certification Manager – Fire, EMEA