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Fire Safety - A revised BS 5839:6 for 2019, but has anything much changed?

When first introduced in 1995, the BS 5839:6 1995 Code of Practice became the most important set of recommendations ever made on fire safety in the home. It had an immediate impact on architects, system designers, installers and landlords in the private and public sector, all of whom were required to familiarise themselves with these important recommendations.

In September 2004, the Code of Practice was extensively revised, and most of us will be familiar with the LACORS – Fire Safety Guide, as many Local Authorities use it to guide, educate and aid enforcement decisions when it comes to the Hazard of Fire in private rented dwellings. When the LACORS guide was published in 2008, BS5839:6 2004 was current, and we all became familiar with the complexities of Grade A and D alarms, with LD2 or LD3 coverage.

Since then, the BS 5839 was revised again in 2013, and included for the first time the consideration of common areas in sheltered housing. Carbon monoxide detectors were also permitted as fire alarm sensors and the requirements for rented accommodation were tightened generally.

Now the BS has been revised again. All hail BS 5839:6 2019 ! launched in May 2019. But don’t panic, while there have been some changes to fire alarm Grades and Categories, many of the fundamental concepts relative to the LACORS guide remain the same.

The changes for 2019 include new Grades covering the different types of alarm system, with Grade C being redefined, Grade D being replaced by D1 and D2. Grade F is replaced by F1 and F2, but these relate to battery powered detection only.

• Grade A — Separate detectors, sounders and central control and indicating equipment with back-up power supply that conforms to British Standards BS EN 54.

• Grade C — Separate detectors and sounders that are mains powered with back-up power supply and central control equipment.

• Grade D1 — A system of one or more mains powered detectors, each with a tamperproof 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 userreplaceable battery or batteries

• Grade F1 — A system of one or more battery-powered detectors powered by a tamperproof primary battery or batteries.

• Grade F2 — A system of one or more battery-powered detectors powered by a userreplaceable primary battery or batteries.

There have also been notable changes to the category of protection recommended in dwellings. Changes include;

·         Owner occupied (new/materially altered) – Grade D2, LD2.


·         Rented (existing and new/materially altered) – Grade D1, LD2.


·         HMOs (new/materially altered) – Grade A, LD1.


These revisions mean most Local Authorities might want to update their ‘specifications of works’ and start to consider how far they will push landlords to meet the latest requirements.


To purchase the new BS document click here - https://shop.bsigroup.com/ProductDetail?pid=000000000030370704

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