Standards required for application by competent persons

There are specific standards and codes of practice for various building types and categories according the occupancy and the associated hazards.

SANS 10400-T:2020 (pp 66-67) Table 9 (10) provides a good overview of the class of occupancy, size of building, and the required Fire Detection and Alarm System requirements.

The references and cross-references to specific standards and codes of practice cannot be ignored and must be implemented with every activity within the building. As there are varying levels of responsibility that are clearly defined in the standards, accountability rests with those responsible who engage in these various activities.

For these details, it is necessary to consider the Fire Detection and Alarm System requirements in SANS 10400-T:2020 4.31.

General requirements

SANS 10400-T:2020 references the Code of Practice SANS 10139 for fire detection systems in buildings as a general requirement. This is the starting point for all work conducted by competent persons on fire detection and alarm systems. The bottom section of Table 9 (mistakenly labelled Table 10) refers:

“Fire detection system in accordance with SANS 10139 required.” (SABS, 2020, p. 67)

Specific requirements

Additionally, specific reference to buildings with occupancy classes with specific requirements once again referring to SANS 10139 - all work to be conducted by competent persons.

“4.31.5 Any occupancy classified as A1, A2, C1, C2 or F1 shall have a manually activated visual and audible alarm system that is designed, installed, and maintained by competent persons in accordance with SANS 10139.” (SABS, 2020, p. 67)

Voice alarm systems

Voice alarm systems intended to provide warning of fire alarm conditions in buildings - all work to be conducted by competent persons to the required standard SANS 7240.

“4.31.2 Voice alarm systems shall be designed, installed, and maintained by a competent person(s) in accordance with SANS 7240-16, SANS 7240-19 and SANS 7240-24.” (SABS, 2020, p. 67)

Hospitals

Fire Detection and Alarm Systems for hospitals shall be in accordance with SANS 322. SANS 10400 provides specific guidance on the requirements for hospitals:

“4.31.3 For buildings classified E2, the design and installation of fire detection and alarm systems shall be in accordance with SANS 322.” (SABS, 2020, p. 67)

SANS 10139 also provides specific guidance on the requirements for hospitals:

“Recommendations for fire detection and alarm systems in hospitals are given in SANS 322. (SABS, 2012, p. 4)

SANS 322, Fire detection and alarm systems for hospitals. (SABS, 2012, p. 5)

a) Audible alarms in hospitals should comply with the recommendations of SANS 322. (SABS, 2012, p. 43)

NOTE Special considerations apply in the case of hospitals because, for example, in many areas the fire signal is intended primarily for staff rather than patients. Detailed guidelines on sound levels that should be produced by the fire detection and alarm system are given in SANS 322.” (SABS, 2012, p. 139)

Actuation of gas suppression systems

One of the inextricable links between Fire Detection and Alarm Systems and Gas Extinguishing Systems is provided in SANS 10139.

Where gaseous fire suppression systems are required to be activated by the Fire Detection and Alarm System as part of the fire safety strategy of the building, compliance with BS 7273 (SANS 369) is required:

“Recommendations for the planning, installation and servicing of facilities for operation of certain fire protection systems by the systems addressed within this standard are given in BS 7273 (all parts). (SABS, 2012, p. 3)

The following recommendations are applicable in the case of systems intended to actuate other fire protection systems or safety facilities (e.g. by triggering an automatic fire extinguishing system, closing fire resisting doors, shutting down an air handling system or grounding lifts):

a) The system should comply with the recommendations of any applicable part of BS 7273. (SABS, 2012, p. 24)

f) If the system is used to actuate other fire protection systems or safety facilities (see 8.2), reference should be made to BS 7273 or other applicable codes of practice for recommendations on monitoring connections between the fire detection and alarm system and the other systems or equipment.” (SABS, 2012, p. 28)

SANS 369-1:2000 references:

  • BS 5839 (SANS 10139) – Fire Detection and Alarm Systems
  • BS 5306 (SANS 306) – Fire Extinguishing Systems (CO2)
  • DD 233 (ISO / SANS 14520) – Gaseous Fire Fighting Systems (Clean Agent Gases)
  • BS 6266 (SANS 246) – Fire protection for electronic equipment installations

“The system design should conform to the appropriate recommendations of:

- BS 5839-1, for fire detection and alarm;
- BS 5306 series, for fire extinguishing;
- DD 233, for gaseous firefighting systems;
- BS 6266, for fire protection for electronic data processing installations.” (SABS, 2004, p. 2)

Electronic equipment installations (data centres, etc)

Further guidance from SANS 10139 is given for Fire Detection and Alarm Systems in electronic equipment installations: in accordance with SANS 246.

“Recommendations for fire detection and alarm systems in electronic data processing installations and similar critical electronic equipment rooms are given in SANS 246, which provides recommendations over and above those given in this standard. (SABS, 2012, p. 3)

SANS 246, Code of practice for fire protection for electronic equipment installations. (SABS, 2012, p. 5)

Aspirating smoke detection systems commonly incorporate a detector of much higher sensitivity than point or optical beam smoke detectors. Such "high sensitivity aspirating detection systems", are often used to protect critical electronic equipment rooms, in which even a very small fire can result in unacceptable damage. Guidance on fire protection of such facilities is given in SANS 246. (SABS, 2012, p. 56)

NOTE 3 In Category P systems, it is common practice to protect all floor voids in electronic data processing installations, regardless of their depth, if the voids contain cables. Usually, this is on the basis of the probability of ignition and the amount of combustible material within the void, in conjunction with the consequences of a fire within the void in respect of business continuity. Guidance on protection of electronic data processing installations is given in SANS 246.” (SABS, 2012, p. 62)

Again, the inextricable link between Fire Detection and Alarm Systems and Gaseous Fire Extinguishing Systems is confirmed in several of the Standards already referenced in this document:

SANS 369-1:2000 references:

  • BS 5839 (SANS 10139) – Fire Detection and Alarm Systems
  • BS 5306 (SANS 306) – Fire Extinguishing Systems (CO2)
  • DD 233 (ISO / SANS 14520) – Gaseous Fire Fighting Systems (Clean Agent Gases)
  • BS 6266 (SANS 246) – Fire protection for electronic equipment installations

“The system design should conform to the appropriate recommendations of:

- BS 5839-1, for fire detection and alarm;
- BS 5306 series, for fire extinguishing;
- DD 233, for gaseous firefighting systems;
- BS 6266, for fire protection for electronic data processing installations.” (SABS, 2004, p. 2)

Gaseous fire extinguishing systems

SANS 306-4 Fire extinguishing installations and equipment on premises Part 4: Specification for carbon dioxide systems references and cross-references other related standards further providing the inextricable link between fire detection systems and gaseous fire extinguishing systems.

“BS 5839-1, Fire detection and alarm systems for buildings — Part 1: Code of practice for system design, installation, and servicing

BS 6266, Code of practice for fire protection for electronic data processing installations.

BS 7273-1, Code of practice for the operation of fire protection measures — Part 1: Electrical actuation of gaseous total flooding extinguishing systems.

BS 7273-2, Code of practice for the operation of fire protection measures — Part 2: Mechanical actuation of gaseous total flooding and local application extinguishing systems.” (SABS, 2019, p. 2)

SANS 306-4 also confirms competency requirements / definition:

“3.5 competent person - person capable of carrying out the inspection and maintenance procedures of clause 9, by reason of experience and access to the requisite information, training, tools and equipment” (SABS, 2019, p. 4)

Additional references and cross-references to other standards continue to provide evidence that the fire detection and gas suppression systems are inextricably linked:

“Where a fire detection and control system is used in conjunction with a CO2 system it shall conform to the requirements of BS 5839-1, BS 6266 and BS 7273-1 and -2 where
appropriate.” (SABS, 2019, p. 7)

Here we see that BS 5839-1 (SANS 10139), BS 6266 (SANS 246), and BS 7273-1 (SANS 369-1) are referenced here.