Close Icon
ClearView Icon
fire fighters

Fire Alarm Maintenance

The Importance of Fire Alarm Servicing and Maintenance

Fire Alarm maintenance is critical to fire safety; it is written into the statutory law in the UK. We know how important it is to keep your staff, assets, and premises safe from fire outbreaks for any business. Maintaining your fire alarm system is paramount and ensures it is fit for purpose should a fire occur.

FPA Protection Association Member 2021
Fire Alarm System Maintenance

Why You Need Fire Alarm Maintenance

Current UK fire alarm regulations state that all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’. The fire alarm system must be serviceable to alert the building’s occupants in the event of a fire. If not adequately serviced and maintained, the fire alarm system may not work as designed in an emergency, which will put lives and property at risk in the event of a fire. Moreover, the responsible person has a statutory duty of care to ensure that a “suitable system of maintenance” is in place to safeguard people to prevent loss of life.

Another reason for fire alarm servicing is to prevent needless false alarms that stretch the fire service and prevent them from attending to actual incidents and emergencies. Financial penalties can be levied against persistent offenders that have regular false alarms.

Fire alarm maintenance accreditation
Fire Alarm System Maintenance
Fire Alarm Maintenance Benefits

Our fire alarm maintenance packages include:

  • Complete reliability as your fire systems will always work when you need them to
  • Highly trained engineers ensuring you get a fast response
  • Excellent first-time fix rate – because we come prepared
  • Fully compliant, meeting your legal and insurance obligations
  • Regular fire alarm maintenance inspections putting your mind at ease
  • Free support hot-line, preventing unnecessary call-outs, saving you both time and money
  • 24/7 response

fire alarm service checks

fire alarm maintenance quote
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
Fire Alarm Maintenance Frequency

British Standards for Fire Alarm Maintenance

The British Standard BS 5839 states that Periodic inspection and servicing (every six months as per BS 5839-1) need to be carried out by competent persons with specialist knowledge of fire alarm systems every six months.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

UK Statutory regulations state that fire alarms must have suitable maintenance:

(1) Where necessary to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices are provided in respect of the premises under this Order. Subject to paragraph (6), under any other enactment, including any enactment repealed or revoked by this Order, are subject to a suitable maintenance system and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and good repair.

fire alarm checks

Fire Safety Regulations
Fire Alarm Maintenance Company - ClearView
Fire Alarm Servicing by a Competent Person

Fire alarm servicing should be carried out by an accredited and competent organisation to maintain fire alarms and fire detection systems.

Quality Service

You can rely on ClearView to ensure your building is safe and compliant for all fire safety works, including fire alarm installation, fire alarm repair, and fire alarm maintenance. Quality assurance is at the forefront of all our repair, installation, and maintenance services.

Highest Level of fire Industry Certifications

As a BAFE certified and NSI Gold accredited company, we must maintain excellent standards.  ClearView can install and maintain all aspects of life safety systems, including fire alarm design and commissioning, fire extinguishers, and fire risk assessments.

Passive Fire Protection Experts

ClearView is also certified by the International Fire Consultants (IFC) for passive fire protection, including fire stopping and fire door installation and maintenance.

Excellent Fire Engineers

bafe fire safety

ClearView’s expert fire alarm engineers are fully trained to maintain fire systems, ensuring they are always fully functional.

Compliance With Statutory Regulations

The following guidelines will help you ensure that your fire alarm systems are adequately maintained to work as designed in an emergency and comply with UK statutory regulations.

  • Fire alarm systems should be maintained at least six months or more frequently, depending on the fire risk assessment requirements.
  • Suppose a fire risk assessment requires frequent fire alarm inspections and service visits. In that case, all interested parties should agree on the appropriate inspection schedule because the systems may be no longer compliant with British Standards.
  • The fire safety manual/logbook should maintain a record of all tests and checks, and any defects remedied should be kept in the fire safety manual/logbook.

The Competent Person (Fire Engineer)

  • All tests on equipment and trigger devices should be recorded in the logbook.
  • The competent person should carry out all fire alarm maintenance tasks following current Statutory requirements, regulations and the manufacturers’ recommendations.
  • The competent person should make a visual inspection to check whether structural or occupancy changes have affected the system’s compliance with the recommendations of this standard for the siting of manual call points, automatic fire detectors and fire alarm devices.
  • Check all manual call points remain unobstructed and conspicuous.
  • Check that all manual call points are fitted with a protective cover to access the frangible element.
  • Check if any new exits have been created without the provision of an adjacent manual call point; any new or relocated partitions have been erected within 500mm horizontally of any automatic fire detector.
  • Ensure that no storage encroaches within 300mm of ceilings; a clear space of 500mm is maintained below each automatic fire detector, and that the ability of the smoke detector to receive the stimulus that it has been designed to detect has not been impeded by other means.
  • Check if any changes to the use or occupancy of an area make the existing types of automatic fire detectors unsuitable for detection of fire or prone to unwanted fire alarms.
  • Check any building alterations or extensions that require additional fire detection and fire alarm equipment.
  • The building occupier should inform the alarm maintenance engineer of any structural or occupancy changes that might affect the detector’s siting or operation.
  • After any testing, the system should be left fully operational, including resetting any interlocks with plants and devices.
  • A competent person should check the records of false alarms under current British Standards. The rate of false alarms during the previous 12 months should be recorded and reviewed.

Summary

The above is an essential guide, but due to the nature of the varying specifications of fire alarm systems and their various components and devices, the competent person must carry out several further tasks to ensure that the fire system is fit for purpose.

Fire alarm maintenance regs

Fire Alarm Accreditations
The responsible person must carry out fire risk assessments for fire safety
Fire Alarm Maintenance for Different Fire Alarm Systems

It is vitally important that the correct fire alarm system is specified to ensure that it is fit for purpose and installed in accordance with UK statutory regulations to the relevant British standards as recommended in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. All non-domestic buildings are covered in the act.

Meaning of “responsible person.”

“In this Order “responsible person” means—
(a)in relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control;
(b)in relation to any premises not falling within paragraph (a)—
(i)the person in control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertakings (for profit or not); or
(ii)the owner, where the person controlling the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertakings”.

Essentially, the responsible person, as defined under the act, must conduct a fire risk assessment to ascertain what fire protection systems are required to meet statutory law. However, UK legislation does not provide detailed information on how and what fire alarm and detection systems should be installed but will quote relevant British standards such as BS 5839. All fire alarm systems in the UK should be installed and maintained to BS 5839, which is the British Standard for Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems for Buildings. The standard provides recommendations on fire alarm design, installation, planning, commissioning and maintenance of fire alarms and fire detection systems.

fire detection maintenance

Fire Alarm Systems
Fire Alarm System Servicing
Conventional, Addressable and Wireless Systems

A competent person must ensure the following:

  • The System Logbook Examined. Have all recorded faults received the appropriate attention?
  • Do all manual call points remain unobstructed and conspicuous?
  • Do all exits, including any new exits, have an adjacent manual call point?
  • Have any new or relocated partitions been erected within 500mm horizontally of any automatic fire detector?
  • Does any storage encroach within 300mm of ceilings as to obviate compliance?
  • Is a clear space of 500mm maintained below each automatic fire detector, and that the ability of the detector to receive the stimulus it has been designed to detect has not been impeded by other means?
  • Have any changes of use or occupancy of areas maintained the existing types of automatic fire detector suitable for detection of fire or prone to unwanted alarms?
  • Has there been any new building alterations or extensions which will require additional fire detection and fire alarm equipment to be installed?
  • Of False Alarms (Gain information from client logbook and ARC if monitored)
  • Rate of False Alarms (Calculation: Number of detectors (x), Number of False Alarms in past 12 months (y), Rate of False alarms per 100 detectors (z) = 100 x (x/y)
  • Action taken in respect of false alarms recorded complies with recommendations of 30.2j
  • Is the battery charge voltage with the mains on steady and within the manufacturer’s recommendations? (Ensure that the standby batteries are disconnected, and the alarm activated and that the power supply output voltage is checked and appears close to the nominal voltage)
  • Have the batteries been load tested with the mains disconnected (other than those within devices such as manual call points, detectors, and fire alarm sounders of a radio-linked system), to ensure that they are in good serviceable condition and not likely to fail before the next service visit.
  • Have the fire alarm functions of the CIE been checked? (Checked by the operation of at least one detector or manual call point on each circuit.
  • Do all of the controls and visual indicators at the CIE operate correctly?
  • Check the facilities for automatic transmission of fire and fault signals to an ARC operate correctly. (if dual path signalling then both path need to be checked)
  • Do all ancillary functions of the CIE operate correctly?
  • Do all fault indicators and monitoring of their circuits operates correctly? (Where practicable, by simulation of fault conditions.)
  • Have all printers been checked to ensure that they operate correctly and that the characters are legible?
  • Have all the radio systems been serviced in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer?
  • Have the checks and tests (recommended by the manufacturer of the CIE and other components of the system) been carried out
  • If there are outstanding defects are found, these must be logged in to the client’s logbook. Has this been completed if necessary?
  • Has every manual call point been tested, either by removal of a frangible element, insertion of a test key or operation of the device as it would be operated in the event of fire? (12 monthly check only)
  • Have all automatic fire detectors and remote detectors been examined (so far as reasonably practicable) to ensure that they have not been damaged, painted? (12 monthly check only)
  • Has every detector been functionally tested (including heat detectors, point smoke detectors, carbon monoxide fire detectors, flame detectors and multi-sensor detectors) To prove that the detectors are connected to the system. Are they operational and capable of responding to the phenomena they are designed to detect? (12 monthly check only)
  • Where fitted, have the detector remote indicators been checked for correct operation? (12 monthly check only)
  • For fire detection systems that enable analogue values to be determined at the CIE. Has each analogue value been checked and is within the range specified by the manufacturer? (12 monthly check only)
  • Do all of the fire alarm devices (sounders, visual devices) operate correctly? (12 monthly check)
  • All visual fire alarm devices are not obstructed from view and that their lenses are clean (12 monthly check only)
  • Have the radio signal strengths in radio-linked systems been checked for adequacy and the results recorded? (12 monthly check only)
  • Have all readily accessible cable fixings been visually inspected to ensure they are secure and free from damage? (12 monthly check only)
  • Has the cause and effect programme been confirmed as being correct by activating at least one cause and observing the operation of effects? (12 monthly check only)
  • Has the standby power supply capacity been checked to establish that it remains suitable for continued service? (12 monthly check only)
  • Is a suitable zone plan in place, on or adjacent to, all CIE and repeat indicating equipment? (12 monthly check only)
  • Is there any works that could not be completed for reasons beyond the control of the company?

fire alarm system maintenance

Conventional Fire Alarm Installation
Regular Servicing Checks
Aspirating Smoke Detection Maintenance

Maintenance obligations, such as frequency and methods, should be considered per the manufacturer’s guidelines during system design. 

ASD systems, such as VESDA, Xtralis, Stratos and ICAM, all have a detector that samples the air conditions, looking for any smoke particles. The aspirating detector will pull the air through the pipework, circulating it to test for any smoke particles, indicating the event of a fire. ASD’s that do not clean the pipes during the maintenance run the risk of their fire alarm system generating false alarms or faults as the dust and dirt particles will block the sampling holes within the pipework and obstruct the filter. 

The pipes will have to be cleaned throughout the fire alarm maintenance visit to prevent this from taking place. An example of aspirating smoke detector maintenance checks include:  

  • Airflow reading during maintenance should be checked as ± 20% of the values calculated at commissioning.
  • Measurements of transportation time from the furthest sampling point (or dedicated maintenance test point) throughout maintenance should be confirmed to be inside + 15% or + 3 seconds, whichever is superior, of the exact measurement taken at commissioning.

fire alarm servicing

Aspirating Fire Alarm System
Servicing and Maintenance Checks
Beam Detection

As a build-up of dust develops within a beam detector’s optical mechanisms, the sensitivity will increase and become more susceptible to false alarms. Most modern beam detectors include algorithms to compensate for this gradual build-up of dirt whilst retaining constant sensitivity to avoid false alarms. The beam detector lenses and reflector will still require periodic inspections and regular cleaning. Whilst legislation (BS5839-1) highlights the minimum servicing and maintenance visits required, the site’s conditions may determine the need for more frequent servicing.

Following the Manufacturers’ directions for cleaning methods is essential. A typical maintenance technique is to clean the detector lenses and reflector with a damp delicate cloth and a mild soap solution, generally avoiding all solvents.

Beam Detection System
Servicing and Maintenance Checks
Linear Heat Detection

Regular servicing and maintenance inspections must be carried out to ensure the Linear Heat Detection cable is not faulty and will function correctly in the event of a fire. Visual inspections ensure all support brackets and other fire alarm system components are compliant. The cable should be regularly checked for damage to the outer or inner core, as well as ensuring the neoprene insulators are installed correctly around the cable in the clips. Any junction boxes and created joints should be checked to guarantee they are reliable and correctly installed.

Electrical tests are required to verify that the circuit produced by the conductors is working. A linear heat detection system can not be checked using heat as this will damage the cabling. Therefore electrical tests are required to carry out the servicing and maintenance.

Linear Heat Detection maintenance

Linear Heat Detection
Inspection and servicing visits
False Alarm Management

In accordance with BS5839-1

False alarms must be investigated so that actions can be implemented to minimise the chance of it happening again. Responsibility for the reduction of false alarms sits with every party who is involved with the specification, design, installation, commissioning, management at the operational level and maintenance of the fire alarm system. 

38,000 false alarms in London

In 2017, the London Fire Brigade attended 38,000 false alarms. This poses a serious problem as it’s a drain on the fire and rescue service and diverts them away from real emergencies. 

Once a fire alarm system has been installed and handed over to the client, the user must ensure that the building is managed to avoid unnecessary false alarms. This includes recording the following information for each false alarm:

    1. Date and time of the false alarm 
    2. Identification/location of the device at fault (if known)
    3. Category of the false alarm (if known)
    4. Reason for the false alarm (if known)
    5. Activity within the area (if the reason for the false alarm is unknown)
    6. Action taken on the cause of the alarm
    7. Whether the fire and rescue service were called and whether they attended 
    8. The name of the person responsible for recording the information

Periodic Inspections

As part of our fire alarm system maintenance checks and in accordance with BS5839-1, we will also carry out periodic inspections on the frequency of recorded false alarms and the reasoning behind why they occurred. This is to identify any faults within the system and correct these to avoid them happening again. 

Following the inspection and servicing visits, we will inform you of the outcome of the investigation with any recommendations on remedial works to minimise false alarms. 

false alarms

Fire Extinguishers
Fire Alarm Sounder Testing
Decibel level of fire alarm sounders

As part of the fire alarm maintenance, we will ensure that the sound level of the alarms is tested. Fire alarm sounders should be evenly installed throughout the premises to provide a sound pressure of 65 dB (decibels). This level is generally the minimum acceptable sound pressure level for fire alarm systems. To prevent any disorientation or hearing damage, installing a more significant number of quieter sounders is preferable to installing a few very loud sounders.

For wireless fire alarm systems, batteries must be tested and regularly replaced as they are utilised within the power supply for the sounders. Should a building suffer from false alarms when the premises are unoccupied, this can exhaust the batteries and leave the building with no operational fire alarm system.

fire alarm testing

Fire Risk Assessment
Fire Alarm Servicing with reactive call outs
Fire Alarm Maintenance Contracts (24-hour helpdesk)

We offer flexible servicing and maintenance packages to provide urgent callout responses on your fire alarm system should it develop a fault. We aim to repair defects whilst on-site for the callout. This ensures a quick resolution for the customer and keeps the system working correctly.
We offer a 24 hours a day, seven days a week service helpdesk to support your premises.

fire alarm system maintenance

Service and Support
Bespoke fire alarm and security maintenance at affordable prices
Synergy Fire & Security maintenance

ClearView offers you an excellent maintenance service for your fire detection equipment. Alternatively, if you have other fire and security equipment, you can save time and money by combining the cover all at once with our bespoke Synergy security service and maintenance package for a monthly fixed fee.

Synergy fire alarm Maintenance

Interested in service and maintenance for your fire alarm System? Book your free site survey, alternatively, call 01245 214104 to speak to a member of our team.

Get a quote
Fully Accredited

Peace of mind through certification to the highest industry standards.

Experienced

Over 25 years providing bespoke CCTV, Fire Protection & Access Control security solutions from our 2,000m² HQ in Essex.

Security Specialists

Complete fire & security service with rapid response 24/7, 365 days a year.