Bedroom Sounder Levels
Installations carried out under I.S.3218:1989
In an attempt to get over the lack of clarity regarding provision of fire alarm sound levels in Apartment Bedrooms, some parties are suggesting that this was not required under the 1989 Code of Practice (I.S. 3218: 1989).
However, the requirement for sounders at the bedheads achieving a 75dB(A) level, has been in the Standard since 1989. Referencing I.S.3218:1989, Clause 9.4 – Audibility of Alarms, the wording is clear:
“If the fire routine for the premises requires the audible alarm to arouse sleeping persons then the minimum sound level should be 75dB(A) at the bedhead with all doors closed”.
PCCE’s opinion is that any ‘fire escape strategy’ for an Apartment complex will be dependent on waking persons asleep in an alarm situation. If this is accepted then any party who decides not to provide the recommended 75dB(A) accepts the responsibility for such a design decision.
In addition to this, the 1981 Fire Services Act and the 1997 Building Regulations provides a statutory basis for the requirement for Fire Detection and Alarm Systems in Buildings and reference the I.S.3218 code of practice (COP).
While the term ‘should’ (as opposed to ‘shall’) is used both in the COP and the Technical Guidance Document B (2006), the ‘intent’ of these specifications are quite clear. Where a party might try to justify a failing to achieve this recommended 75dB(A) level, it is PCCE’s opinion is, that in the event of any incident where this was a pertinent factor, this argument ‘would not’ (or ‘should not’!!) be acceptable in a court of law.