3-day Fire Detection and Alarm System, 3rd Party Certificate Course 

Incorporating the Irish National Standard I.S. 3218:2013


PCCE Course Reference (F2)

Latest Course revisions: This course is updated regularly. New sections are added and updated on a regular basis.

Recent updates:

  • Voice Evacuation
  • Tactile Devices
  • VADs and Strobes
  • Sound and Sounder design



This course is developed to take attendees through the Theory and Design of Fire Detection and Alarm Systems (FDAS). While it includes a thorough review of the National Standard the course extends well beyond a review of this Standard such that it will benefit persons with both limited knowledge and those with previous or extensive experience.

The Third-party Certified Theory/Design course (3 x 1 day sessions) is developed to NFQ Level 6 (Special Purpose) and will take participants to a stage where they have an in-depth knowledge of the process of Fire Detection and Alarm system design; correct installation methods and procedures; the commissioning and handover process; the responsibilities of all parties involved in the process; the User actions and the actions relating to the Service and Maintenance of Fire Alarm systems.

The course has now been updated to take account of the changes in the I.S.3218:2013 Standard which was released in December 2013.


Certificate Theory/Design Course Learning Objectives:

This Theory/Design Course will equip participants with the knowledge and the demonstrable ability to contribute to the Fire Safety Strategy, Design, Installation, Commissioning and Servicing of Fire Alarm System.

These course objectives are to equip successful participants with a clear understanding of the following:
The Fundamentals of Fire Safety

The Characteristics of fire

The theory of Fire Detection and Alarm systems

Understanding the Irish Standard I.S.3218:2013

The Fire Alarm System Process – design, installation, commissioning, handover and service/maintenance.

The theoretical aspects of system components (alarm, detection, control and ancillary)

A detailed review and analysis of the principals of fire detection and alarm system design

Requirements for residential Fire Alarm systems

The principals of installation. (The course will not cover the details of electrical wiring systems or power systems connections)

The Limitation of False Alarms

The Commissioning of a Fire Alarm system

The responsibilities of Users

The Service, Maintenance and Verification of Fire Alarm systems

This course will benefit both experienced Designers and those with limited prior learning.


Course Outline:


Module 1_Foundation Module

The fundamentals of Fire Safety

The Characteristics of fire:

Heat (fire) transfer to adjoining areas

Cold smoke




Module 2_I.S. 3218 2013 Scope and Legislation

Legal Status of the Irish Standard

Legislative need for FDAS Design and Maintenance

NEW Standard: ISEN16763: EU Standard for Providers of all Services (Design; Commissioning; Maintenance) of FDAS installations

Recent Standard: ISEN 54 part 23: VADS

Amended Standard: ISEN 54 part 13: System Compatibility


Module 3_FDAS System Design and Implementation Process

Design, installation, commissioning, handover and service/maintenance with emphasis on the responsibilities of all parties.

Fire Safety Certification

Role of Fire Consultants

Legislative responsibilities of ALL parties– User; Designer; Contractors, etc.

Designing for Safety in Construction overview

Safety Health and Welfare as applicable to FDAS installation and Service/Maintenance


Module 4_Automatic Fire Detection Devices

Module 5_Alarm Devices

Modules 4 and 5 address the range of devices in each of the following areas. Module 8 addresses the application of these devices into FDAS Design:


In-depth review of a broad range of device types

Device characteristics

Device advantages and disadvantages

Visual Alarm Devices:

Traditional and VADs (ISEN54-23)

Devices and impact on existing/new installations

Tactile alarm devices

PAVA devices


Module 6_FDAS and CIE Systems

Conventional Systems

Addressable Systems

Open and Closed Protocols

Radio-based systems



Module 7_Installer Activities – Materials and Workmanship


Module 8_Detailed Design Stages

A detailed review and analysis of the principals of fire detection and alarm system design including: (This section of the course takes up 1 of the 3 days):

Design coordination

The Fire Safety Certificate

FDAS Categories of protection and selection criteria

Dealing with existing systems

Choosing a system type (conventional/addressable/radio etc.)

Zone Design and management

Interface Matrix and ‘Cause & Effect’ design and specification

Sounder design/PAVA

Device placement and designing with extended spacing and coverage

MCPs design

Alarms and VADs

Areas of high risk

Access issues

Perforated ceilings

Honeycombed ceilings; beams and joists/ corridor spacing


Module 9_ Limiting False Alarms

Design responsibilities in respect of Limiting False Alarms

Causes and analysis of False Alarms

Response to faults/alarms


Module 10_ Residential

Residential application including:

New Community PG

Apartment buildings



Module 11_ Commissioning

Review of the Commissioning Process

Interface Matrix and Cause & Effect

Testing and Certification

Responsibilities of all Parties


Module 12_ User Responsibilities

Module 13_ Service and Maintenance

Modules 12 and 13 include:

  • User Responsibilities
  • Importance of Specifications
  • Contractor Records
  • User Records
  • Log Book entries
  • Contractor qualifications and competence

Who Should Attend?

This course is aimed at all parties in the FDAS process who wish to attain a high level of knowledge and expertise in this area. It provides an excellent, high-level basis to develop existing skills and experience.
The course has attracted almost 300 attendees to date from all areas in the FDAS spectrum including Fire Officers; Designers; Contractors and Users. The course feedback has been excellent, and some parties are using the successful completion of this course as part of their benchmarking for the competence of those offering services to them.

Those who have achieved the 3rd party Certification award are included on the PCCE website www.pcce.ie

Course Evaluation/Examination:

The Certificate Theory/Design Course will have a 2.75-hour examination and participants will be allowed to refer to the I.S.3218:2013 Standard for portions of this exam.

Other sections of the test will be ‘closed book’.

The exam will take place after the course has been completed to allow attendees to study their notes and the Standard in advance and in their own time. Course achievement levels for Theory examinations are:

Pass: 60% – 74%
Merit: 75% – 89%
Distinction: 90% – 100%

Course Developers and Tutors:

Paul Condron – EurIng, BE, CEng, MCIBSE, FConsEI, M IEI,
Chartered Engineer
Registered Consulting Engineer
Registered Training Provider for Engineers Ireland
NUI Galway certified course developer and training provider
Over 40 years experience in the Building Services Design
Member of the NSAI WG3218 working committee for the I.S.3218 Standard
Member of the NSAI WG3217 working committee for the I.S.3217 Standard

Frank Pierce – Tech IEI:
Almost 40 years experience in the Fire Industry
Experienced Course developer and training provider
Previously Consultant to Apollo Fire in Ireland
Member of the NSAI WG3218 working committee for the I.S.3218 Standard
Irish Representative for the EN54 European Committee