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Building Products January 2018

FIRE PROTECTION AND SECURITY REDUCING THE RISK ONSITE Fires on construction sites are more common than many people realise, with Home Office statistics reporting 104,000 each year. Here Paul Henson, sales and marketing director at Ramtech Electronics, offers guidance on the best type of fire alarm system to ensure the safety of workers and assets on-site The increasing complexity of modern construction sites, with multiple trades and the presence of a wide range of flammable materials, as well as a greater focus on health and safety and insurance, means that it is now generally accepted that a technology based fire alarm system should be in place. Add to this the increasing number of high rise and timber framed structures and you can see why relying on a person actually seeing the fire and then raising the alarm has its limitations. While fire evacuation procedures are used onsite, all too often, implementation is haphazard rather than strategic. For instance, it is still common for hand bells or manual horns to be used to sound the alarm. These have a number of limitations with the most obvious one being a danger that the alarm isn’t heard by everyone present on site. 60 BUILDING PRODUCTS | JANUARY 2018 In our experience, construction managers are frequently inundated with different messages about what constitutes a fire alarm system. The problem is that they are presented with different, often conflicting information, ranging from: ‘a fire alarm system is not required on a construction site because it isn’t a completed building’ (not so), through to those offering a fire alarm system that doesn’t fully comply with relevant legislation. In order to clarify these areas, we’ve listed a number of pointers below that site managers and their health and safety teams can follow in order to minimise the risks of fire on site: 1. Check you fire alarm system meets EN54 A fire alarm system for a construction site should comply with the relevant sections of EN54 and therefore the new Construction Products Regulation (CPR). For example, EN 54 part 3 deals specifically with standards for sounders and part 25 with those for radio links. EN54 is a mandatory standard that specifies requirements and laboratory testing for every component of a fire detection and fire alarm system. Leading UK insurance firms such as Zurich and Aviva now have an ‘expectation’ that an EN54 compliant fire alarm system is used. This important standard applies to all buildings, including those undergoing construction, demolition or refurbishment, as well as site welfare cabins. 2. A fire alarm system should be CE marked If the fire alarm system you are thinking of specifying for a construction site has been tested to EN54 by a notified body, you’ll see a four digit test centre number after the CE mark. To be absolutely sure, ask your supplier for their


Building Products January 2018
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