The EN54 standard on fire detection and fire alarm systems is a mandatory standard that specifies requirements and laboratory tests for every component of a fire detection and alarm system. However, there is a significant misunderstanding about the scope of EN54.
Bradley Markham, director at Bull Products, explains the reasons why EN54 does not apply to temporary use on construction sites.
While the Construction Products Regulations (CPR) require fire alarm products that are EN 54 certified, the CPR states that the regulation is intended for products that are used in permanent installation and not temporary products that are used to assist construction.
Markham says: “A contractor could install an EN 54 system on a construction site and it may not be fit for purpose. It is essential that a wireless system is appropriate for the unique demands of construction sites.
- “EN 54-25 requires that a fault is reported to the control panel within 300 seconds. Due to moving plant and the nature of a construction site, radio signals can get interrupted and 300 seconds is too frequent. The Cygnus Alarm System has been specifically designed with this in mind – it features a self-test system in which faults are reported if they are consistent for three consecutive tests.
- “EN 54 wireless products are required to have an anti-tamper function to send a fault to the panel if a product is removed from its fixed location. Due to the changing nature of a construction site, contractors need the flexibility to move call points and detectors as work progresses. If this feature was incorporated within temporary fire alarms, the system would be constantly in fault.
- “EN 54 requires the battery life of wireless devices to last at least three years in normal operating conditions. However, systems on construction sites need to operate in dynamic and difficult conditions, for instance underground or obscured by steel frameworks. To achieve the reliability of signal on construction sites, substantial power is required and therefore it is impossible to achieve the three-year battery life required by EN 54. The Cygnus system operates on a unique mesh protocol that delivers the reliability on construction sites with a battery life exceeding 12 months.
“The myth has escalated from the misinterpretation of the small clause within JCOP 9th Edition which advises that EN 54 products ‘should’ be used in TAUs: Point 13.8 Temporary buildings or temporary accommodation … components of automatic fire detection and alarm systems should be marked as complying with EN 54.
“In some cases, this clause has been taken out of context and applied as a mandatory rule, not only in TAUs but throughout entire sites. Following communication and guidance with the editors of JCOP 9th Edition, they admit this has been taken out of context and have stated that it was not intended to be extended outside of TAUs.”