057 BP 0417

Building Products April 2017

ALARMING REALITY According to Gas Safe Register, 1.1 million gas jobs are carried out every year by illegal fitters, directly putting the lives of occupants at risk from gas leaks, fire, explosions and Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. As Martyn Walley states, it seems we are too trusting a nation and not willing to ask for credentials. In England and Wales, Building Regulations Document J requires a CO alarm to be fitted when any new or replacement solid-fuel appliance is installed. The alarms should be fitted in the same room as the appliance. Those living in Scotland and Northern Ireland are covered by Technical Handbook 2 and Technical Booklet L respectively. Both require a CO alarm to be fitted when any new or replacement fuel appliance is installed (except cookers). This covers any fuel burning appliance, including those that burn gas, oil, coal and wood. Alarms should be fitted in the room with the appliance or, if it is an enclosed boiler, just outside the enclosure, plus any room that has a flue running through it. In all cases, the CO alarms must be BS EN 50291 Kitemarked. They can be mains or battery powered although if the latter is the case the battery should last for the life of the alarm. Unlike fire alarms which come with different sensors to detect different types of fire, CO alarms have one sensor type. This makes alarm selection far simpler. The only decisions that need to be made are: is a CO alarm required?; the power source for the alarm; will the CO alarm be interconnected with other alarms or systems?; and which manufacturer should be selected? Let us start with the alarm power source. Mains powered CO alarms are the safest option as they provide added reliability as batteries do not need to be changed. In the event of mains failure, they have battery back-up and if you select ones with Lithium battery back-up you do not have the concern of someone ‘borrowing’ the battery for another device. However, if mains powered alarms are not a viable option there are now good quality battery powered CO alarms that come with sealed in Lithium batteries. Better quality CO alarms have the ability to be interconnected with each other (if you are fitting more than one CO alarm per property) and with other life safety systems, including BS5839 Part 1 and 6 smoke/heat alarms, telecare/warden call systems and sprinkler systems. In certain circumstances this provides added safety for occupants, especially the more vulnerable such as the elderly and those living in sheltered accommodation. SECURITY AND FIRE PROTECTION Interconnecting CO alarms with each other, or even with smoke/heat alarms in the property, increases audibility, giving occupants the best chance of exiting the property safely. When one unit goes into alarm, all the alarms interconnected on the system will sound. The use of wireless alarm interconnection is ideal here as it removes the need for hard wiring and so will minimise Continued on page 58 >>> APRIL 2017 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 57


Building Products April 2017
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