Fire Detection and Alarm Systems (FDAS)

For too long FDAS installations have been treated as ‘necessary evils’ and simply a major cause of false alarms. Part of the cause of this attitude and the resulting system inadequacies, is the result of very poor understanding of FDAS systems by many associated parties – not only Users but also Designers; Installers; Commissioning and Service/Maintenance Companies. The amount of seriously flawed FDAS installations in Ireland is frightening.

As a result of this, many Users who consider that their systems are adequately designed, installed and serviced are completely unaware of their FDAS system deficiencies and the subsequent lack of protection to their staff; visitors; users; etc. In addition, such faulty or flawed systems will not offer the facility in which they are installed, a proper level of protection to property. While secondary to the protection of Life, this is still a very important consideration.

Flawed installations, aside from being potentially dangerous, are completely unnecessary. A proper design carried out by parties with the relevant competence and expertise, coupled with competent system service and maintenance in accordance with the National Standard and manufacturer recommendations is all that is required to bring systems up to date. Too often, those employed are assumed, incorrectly, to have such competence. Often a desire for ‘apparent’ cost savings by Users who many times trust their advisers too readily and/or who do not understand the importance and necessity of FDAS installations, leads to systems that will totally fail to meet their objectives.

Not known by many is the fact that the National Standards and, more importantly from a legal liability point of view, applicable Legislation also, require that all parties involved in the design, installation, commissioning, service/maintenance and User activities MUST be Competent and furthermore must be able to demonstrate such competence when required to do so.

A very onerous – and perhaps unfair – legal requirement is that the Client is the party that is ultimately responsible for determining the competence of all parties contracted to carry out works relating to Life Safety projects and where compliance with Safety Health & Welfare at Work (SHWW) Legislation is applicable. This responsibility and by extension, the legal exposure for inadequate compliance in this regard lies both at corporate and individual level.

Present Health and Safety Legislation dictates that Clients (Users) are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of all FDAS Installations. False Alarms are unwanted, unnecessary and in most instances can be eliminated. There are many actions that will achieve this and the responsibilities lie with ALL parties involved in the FDAS process – from Design through to Service.

Having been involved in FDAS design for since 1974 and with the specialist knowledge gained through work on the NSAI Standards Committee, PCCE has an extensive knowledge of FDAS design and implementation. For this reason we have developed a series of FDAS Education and Training Courses and these are detailed on the PCCE Training pages of this website.

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