Electrical Contracting News (ECN) May 2016 - Page 45

FIRE DETECTION & SECURITY SPECIAL FEATURE The development of EN54-23 required a fundamental change in visible alarm technology. CAUSE FOR ALARM? Chris Massey at ESP discusses the latest legislation affecting the fire and security sector and the implications for electrical contractors and installers. T he new product standard, EN54-23:2010 Fire detection and fire alarm systems. Part 23: Fire alarm devices – Visual Alarm Devices, became mandatory across Europe from 1st January 2014, after which date any Visible Alarm Device (VAD) newly installed and used as the primary means of warning as part of fire alarm system, must under the Construction Product Regulation (CPR), conform to EN54-23. Drivers The standard dictates that all beacons manufactured for fire alarm use and sold for fire alarm applications in the EU after this date must be CE-certified using the new standard. It will affect architects, building owners, contractors, fire equipment installers and anyone responsible for fire system design. The key driver behind the introduction of the requirements is the Equalities Act. The product standard is designed to ensure that, as far as is practical, the fire system will generate an effective warning for all occupants of a building, particularly people with hearing difficulties, in the event of a fire. The standard sets out the requirements for the performance, installation and test methods of Visual Alarm Devices (VADs) used in all fire alarm systems to ensure that the light output from the VADs are sufficient to clearly alert (both audibly and visually) any person within the area that an alarm event is in progress. VADs had been used for this purpose for many years. Up until May 2010, there was no fire industry standard that determined the light output performance criteria and installation requirements of VADs. This led to inconsistency and confusion among manufacturers when specifying the performance of products. In the UK alone there are around one in seven blind or visually impaired and one in 30 deaf or hard of hearing people. With the introduction of the Equality Act, a higher percentage of such people are now working in public buildings and workplaces, and this has therefore heightened the need to provide improved methods of alert during life critical alarm events. 45 45-46 FD&S – ESP.indd 45 11/04/2016 12:09