Approval vs Compliance with Comelit-PAC

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Mandy Bowden, Comelit-PAC Fire Manager delves into the difference between approval and compliance when it comes to life safety

When choosing a life safety system, every detail matters.

It is the responsibility of today’s life safety manufacturers to ensure users receive all the relevant information about products, from component approval to compliance with the latest legislation.

2023 has been a year of action when it comes to fire safety.

There’s been so much change in expectations for fire safety professionals to be understood quickly, and adopted in line with daily operations.

This not only refers to the latest legislation with ambitions to make fire safety procedures accountable and clearly communicated but also increased scrutiny of products in line with approved standards.

Whilst the differences between the two are often misconstrued, there is a need to understand the importance and expectations of both to ensure complete fire safety protection.

The stamp of validation

Approval, in the context of fire safety, refers to the process of obtaining official recognition for a specific fire safety product, system, or design to identify the constancy of performance.

 This typically comes from regulatory authorities, certification bodies, or fire safety organisations.

When a product or system receives approval, it signifies it meets the required standards, codes, and specifications set forth by these authorities.

In essence, approval serves as a stamp of validation, assuring that the product or system is fit for its intended purpose.

Key elements of approval

To attain approval, fire safety products and systems must undergo rigorous independent testing and evaluation by accredited laboratories or certification agencies.

These tests, based on strict criteria assess various aspects such as durability, effectiveness, and compliance with relevant standards.

Approval is closely tied to adherence to specific regulations and standards established by local, national, or international authorities.

These standards are designed to ensure that every element of fire safety products and systems meet minimum safety requirements.

The approval process often requires manufacturers or designers to provide comprehensive documentation detailing the product’s specifications, test results, and installation instructions.

This documentation helps authorities assess the product’s suitability for use.

Approved products and systems are subject to periodic reviews and retesting to ensure they continue to meet the required standards.

This ongoing scrutiny helps maintain the integrity of fire safety approvals.

Adhering to regulations

Compliance focuses on ensuring buildings, facilities, and fire safety systems adhere to the established Government fire safety regulations, codes, and standards.

These include the influx of legislation following the devastating Grenfell tragedy and the ongoing inquiry that is unlikely to be concluded until 2024.

 The introduction of the Fire Safety Act 2021 (phase one) and The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (phase 2) was followed in October 2023, with Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) as phase 3.

These will ensure all responsible persons must make a record of a fire risk assessment.

It’s a collective example of how compliance is a broader concept that encompasses not only the approval of individual products but also the overall adherence to fire safety requirements within a given environment.

Compliance is about implementing, maintaining, and monitoring fire safety measures by the law, with severe penalties, often financial, for non-compliance.

The need for compliance

Compliance begins with an understanding of local building codes, regulations, and national fire safety standards.

These codes are legally binding and outline the minimum requirements for fire safety in structures

Regular inspections and maintenance of fire safety systems, including alarms, sprinklers, extinguishers, and emergency exits, are essential to ensure that they are functional and ready to respond in the event of a fire.

 Ensuring that building occupants and staff are well-trained in fire safety procedures, evacuation plans, and the proper use of fire safety equipment is a fundamental aspect of compliance.

Compliance often requires meticulous record-keeping of fire safety-related activities, such as inspections, maintenance, and training.

Approval and compliance

Approval and compliance are interrelated in the broader context of fire safety.

Approval refers to individual components and systems used for fire safety that meet the required standards and are safe for use.

Compliance ensures that approved components are correctly integrated into the built environment and are used by the law.

Consider a scenario where a fire safety system, consisting of approved fire alarms, sprinklers, and extinguishers, is installed in a commercial building.

The approval process guarantees each component is effective and reliable.

Compliance ensures these components are installed correctly, inspected regularly, and used as intended, creating a safe environment for occupants.

Responsible manufacturers

Fire safety standards and regulations are subject to change and updates.

Staying current with these changes and ensuring ongoing compliance can be demanding for building owners and operators.

Comelit-PAC understands its responsibility is not only to the project user of the fire safety systems but also to its products such as LogiFire that are approved to the latest European and British standards, including EN54-2, EN54 – 3, EN54- 4, EN54-13 and EN54 – 17.

The installation of products is governed by careful technical training that ensures it can accommodate the requirements of the site in which it will be installed.

 This continues with installation and fault-finding courses provided by our experts to ensure systems are maintained in compliance with the latest standards.

The evolution of the Comelit-PAC fire safety range to enable monitoring and management via cloud technology and operate with the app, allows users to log, manage and administrate the commissioning, servicing, maintenance, testing, performance and day-to-day use of the connected fire alarm systems.

 Again this ensures future-proof compliance to legislation.

LogiFire is just one example of how Comelit-PAC is constantly looking to develop its product portfolio to ensure our customers can manage systems faster and more efficiently.


In the realm of fire safety, approval and compliance are two distinct but interconnected aspects that play vital roles in safeguarding lives and property.

Approval ensures individual fire safety products and systems meet established standards, while compliance ensures these approved components are correctly implemented and maintained within the built environment.

Building owners, facility managers, and individuals responsible for fire safety must recognise the importance of both.

It is Comelit-PAC’s duty of care to offer support, guidance, and a general understanding together with the necessary installation training to ensure the right balance between these two elements.

A comprehensive fire safety strategy can be established together using the latest cloud technology, minimising the risk of fire-related incidents and their potentially devastating consequences.

It is the synergy between approval and compliance that fosters a safer environment.

This article was originally published in the October 2023 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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