Fire alarm systems
The purpose of a fire alarm system is to
- detect danger caused by a fire as early as possible;
- alert those in the building it monitors by giving either acoustic or optical alarm;
- notify the emergency response centre to summon the rescue department.
A voice evacuation system is also often employed in property alarm systems. Many fire alarm systems are also connected to the alarm data of systems, such as fire extinguishing and smoke removal systems.
Equipment selection and design
Those undertaking a construction project must ensure the building meets the essential structural requirements, including fire safety requirements.
They must appoint for the construction project a principal designer as well as qualified designers for each sub-area as required by the scope of the project. The designer sets the requirements for the system to be created on the basis of the assignment data provided by the developer. The designer must take the intended use of the building and the properties of the system selected into consideration in design and dimensioning, also taking the requirements set for construction by authorities supervising construction into consideration.
The designer must include the requirements set for fire alarm system construction and selection of equipment in the implementation record drawn up on the system, which must be submitted to the local rescue authority overseeing the construction. The rescue authority may also place further requirements on the fire alarm system to be created.
The fire alarm system installation company selected by the developer is responsible for the installation of the fire alarm system on the property.
Another company working under the supervision and responsibility of the installation company may participate in the installation work. The installation company's responsible person must make sure the requirements set for the construction of the fire alarm system are met as specified in the implementation record, terms and conditions of permit and procurement documents.
The installation company must provide an installation certificate on the work performed by it before the commissioning inspection.
Installation companies, responsible persons and certifications
Installation and maintenance of fire alarm systems may only be carried out by installation companies whose competence has been verified. A list of the installation companies is available here.
There are qualification requirements regarding training, examinations and work experience set for responsible persons. Those appointed as a responsible person of an installation company must always be permanently employed by the company, see detailed instructions regarding the qualification requirements and on how to apply for a qualification certificate.
Before the start of installation, the company must notify Tukes and appoint a qualified responsible person to carry out duties related to fire alarm systems.
Examinations related to fire alarm systems are arranged by Inspecta Oy. There are no qualification requirements for those taking the examination. On separate application, Tukes may issue an area-specific qualification certificate for those who have passed the examination and meet the other qualification requirements.
Subcontractors are actors not entitled to carry out installation or maintenance of fire alarm or extinguishing systems on their own. Instead, they must always work under the supervision and responsibility of a qualified installation company included in the Tukes register of companies and appointed to perform the work.
Conformity with requirements
Those who deal in marketing of rescue equipment or transfer of them to others must ensure and be able to reliably prove that the equipment meets the relevant requirements.
Rescue equipment meets the relevant requirements if the manufacturer has duly declared its conformity and affixed a mark of conformity to the equipment, or the conformity of the equipment has been attested by an assessment body.
If the rescue equipment is included in the scope of application of statutes that require the affixation of the CE marking, the CE marking with the associated manufacturer's obligations proves that the equipment complies with the statutes.
Attestation of conformity based on a Directive
In practice, attestation of the conformity varies, depending on the Directive applied. Where there are several applicable Directives, all or part of them may apply depending on issues such as the product's mode of operation, power source or location.
As of 1 July 2013, the manufacturer must prepare a declaration of performance for any construction products covered by a harmonised standard, instead of the former declaration of conformity. When needed or required, the manufacturer must also get a certificate on constancy of performance issued by a notified product certification body, and a CE marking.
Legislation: EU Construction Products Regulation
Any construction products to which a CE marking has been attached prior to 1 July 2013, in accordance with the Construction Products Directive, are compliant with the Construction Products Regulation, but the manufacturer must replace the declaration of conformity required by the Directive with a declaration of performance.
Special cases of attestation of conformity:
- products to which directives or harmonised product standards do not apply
- equipment whose conformity and attestation thereof are not covered by detailed, statute-based requirements
Nevertheless, the manufacturer or importer is obliged to provide a written attestation of conformity for such products and give it to Tukes upon request. The manufacturer or importer must also draw up a declaration of conformity containing at least the following details:
- product description
- product identification marking
- name and address of manufacturer and/or importer and/or marketer
- testing of product properties, and test results
- reference to standards applied
- technical specifications applied
- operational reliability verification method applied
- verification of compatibility with ancillary equipment
- restrictions to product use
- details of the compilation of information on, and instructions for, installation, use and maintenance
- signature and clarification of signature of the person in charge
- signatory's position in the organisation
- organisation's contact details.
Harmonised EN product standards
The latest updated lists of harmonised EN standards can be found on the hEN Helpdesk website, by using free or advanced search.
If you select CEN/TC72 from the TC section of the advanced search the results will show fire alarm standards. If you select CEN/TC191 from the same section the results will show standards for sprinklers, gas extinguishing systems, fire hose reels and smoke control systems. CEN/TC 295 shows the standards for fireplaces and wood-heated sauna stoves.
Commissioning and inspections
Before a fire alarm system is taken into use a qualified inspection body approved by Tukes must perform a commissioning inspection.
Connection to an emergency response centre
Property developers/occupants must enter into an alarm transmission agreement regarding the connection of the fire alarm system's alarm data with the local emergency response centre and their chosen teleoperator.
Property developers/occupants must arrange for fault monitoring of alarm data transmitted to the emergency response centre with their chosen operator and/or other service provider.
Operation and maintenance
The property occupant or owner must ensure that the fire alarm systems are in working order and have the system components maintained and inspected in compliance with the requirements set for the appropriate level by law.
Maintenance and inspections are regarded as appropriate when a person responsible for fire alarm system maintenance is appointed and a maintenance programme is drawn up for the system on the basis of the system supplier's maintenance instructions and this programme is also implemented. Periodic inspections are usually scheduled to take place at 3-year intervals. The interval is determined in a document such as the maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer.
The features of the selected fire alarm system must be taken in consideration in the use of the property, ensuring the reliable and disturbance-free use of the system.