Sheffield Council upgrades housing stock fire alarm protection

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Sheffield City Council has decided to upgrade the fire alarm systems across its entire housing stock as part of a major electrical upgrade programme.

Phase 1 of this work will see over 20,000 properties upgraded from category LD3 to the higher level of protection, LD2, using Aico 3000 Series alarms. 

Domestic fire alarm installation is guided by BS 5839-6 which clearly identifies both grades of alarm system to use and categories of protection. Grade D is the most common and requires one or more interlinked mains powered alarms, each with an integral stand-by supply. LD3 category, which is a low level of protection, was the minimum requirement, but Sheffield City Council decided to move to the next level up, LD2, in anticipation of changes to the British Standard, which were released at the end of April. 

Jill Hurst, head of housing investment and repairs said, “We take safety seriously. Trying to anticipate the forthcoming Part 6 [BS 5839-6:2013] revision, we decided to install a more comprehensive Category LD2 system instead of the minimum requirement. Our aim is to help customers keep safe, to better manage our housing stock and protect this vital and scarce resource. Early detection of a fire can, in many cases, mean that fire spread is prevented and property damage is limited – this could also apply to adjoining property damage. Scottish and Northern Ireland standards now have LD2 as mandatory, including owner occupied properties. Installation during our electrical upgrade programme was an excellent chance to undertake this work in advance of England catching up.”

Sheffield City Council, through its principal contractors, is installing mains powered 3000 Series for this upgrade, using the Ei3024 and Ei3028 Multi-Sensors. The Ei3024 features optical and heat sensors which constantly monitor and analyse smoke and heat levels, providing the best response to all fire types and reduced false alarms. Designed specifically for use in kitchens, the Ei3028 is Aico’s first heat and carbon monoxide alarm, providing protection from both fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. 

In line with LD2, the council is fitting mains powered smoke alarms in every circulation space on each storey (i.e. hallways and landings), in the principal habitable rooms and in every access room serving an inner room, plus a heat alarm in the kitchen. All 3000 Series alarms within a property are being hardwired together or, where this is not practical, wirelessly interconnected using Aico SmartLINK RF technology.

In addition, the Ei3018 carbon monoxide alarm is being installed in every room that has a fuel burning appliance. This sees Sheffield City Council going beyond the regulations, which only requires a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms with solid fuel burning appliances. Peter Marr from the council’s repairs policy and investment team stated: “Sheffield City Council believes that the best way to protect tenants from carbon monoxide poisoning is through the provision of an audible CO alarm, coupled with educating tenants on how to stay CO safe. Since the start of this programme, a small number of CO instances have been highlighted and acted upon which has evidenced the wisdom to install; furthermore, AudioLINK has proved an invaluable aid in these investigations. Coverage, therefore, is in every room with a fuel burning appliance (gas or solid fuel, open or room sealed, with or without flame shut-off features etc.)”

Sheffield City Council is running the alarm upgrade process alongside its fixed wire testing programme, to minimise access to property requirements, until 2021.