Fire Industry Association has released guidance on maintenance-free connections for fire alarm systems


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Overview of the new technical bulletin

The Fire Industry Association (FIA) has published a critical guidance document addressing the use of maintenance-free connections in the installation of fire detection and fire alarm systems, ensuring adherence to the BS 5839-1 standards.

This publication provides clarity on frequently asked questions regarding the permissible use of such connections in non-domestic settings.

The guidance emphasises the importance of avoiding external joints in cable installations but allows for certain exceptions under specific conditions.

Key recommendations and industry misconceptions

According to the newly released bulletin, maintenance-free connectors may be used under certain conditions, such as within system components like manual call points or fire detectors.

However, the document also highlights common misconceptions in the industry, such as the unnecessary requirement for metal or galvanised boxes for external joints.

The FIA’s guidance specifies that the choice of material for the box is not mandated by BS 5839-1, but other factors, like isolation from true earth, may influence this decision.

Importance of adhering to fire-resistance standards

The guidance underlines the criticality of using connections that match the fire-resistance capabilities of the cables they join.

For external joints, terminals should be made of materials that can withstand similar temperatures and durations to the cables themselves.

It raises concerns about the suitability of maintenance-free connectors in critical signal paths due to their lower operating temperatures compared to the required fire-resistant standards for cables.

IFSJ Comment

The Fire Industry Association‘s latest guidance on maintenance-free connections offers valuable clarification for professionals in the fire safety sector.

By delineating the conditions under which these connectors can be used, the FIA helps ensure that fire detection and alarm systems remain effective and compliant with BS 5839-1 standards.

This guidance is particularly relevant as it addresses common misconceptions and provides a clear directive on maintaining the integrity of fire safety systems.

Adhering to these standards is crucial for the reliability of fire detection and alarm systems, ultimately safeguarding lives and property.

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