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An electrician has reported that an out of date domestic smoke detector is a C2 on a EICR.
The customer has asked me for a second opinion. I am thinking that it should be reported to the client,
but as a max a C3.
Any thoughts please.
 

Dartlec

Esteemed
Arms
I don't believe smoke detectors are any code on an EICR as they are not within BS7671 - though they can be noted in comments of course. (assuming the wiring is not the problem, such as bare wires outside enclosure, etc)

They may be breaching various legal requirements if it's a rented property, but that is a separate issue from the EICR.
 

Lister1987

-
Trainee
I don't believe smoke detectors are any code on an EICR as they are not within BS7671 - though they can be noted in comments of course. (assuming the wiring is not the problem, such as bare wires outside enclosure, etc)

They may be breaching various legal requirements if it's a rented property, but that is a separate issue from the EICR.
560.6.1 - The following electrical sources for safety systems are recognised;
I) Storage batteries
II) Primary cells
III) Generator sets
IV) Sperate feeder supply network

560.10 - Fire detection and fire alam systems shall comply with the relevant parts of BS 5839 series.

5839-6 covers domestic premises (it can be argued that a private rented home is a commercial venture so should come under the scope of 5839-1, but for the sake of argument we'll use 5839-6) so the following can be applied:

Clause 15.2 states that "
The standby supply should be capable of automatically maintaining the system in
normal operation (whilst giving an audible and visual indication of mains failure) for
a period of 72 h".

Clause 15.4d states that for a category LD2 system;
'The standby supply for smoke alarms and heat alarms should take the form of a
primary battery, or a secondary battery'.

Clause 15.4e states that for a Grade D system;
"The capacity of the standby supplyshould be suffiecent to power the smoke
alarm(s) and any heat alarms in the quiescent mode for at least 72hr while giving an
audible or visual warning or power supply failure, after which there should remain
suffiecient capacity to provide suffieicnet capacity to provide a fire warning for a
further 4 mins. In the absence of a fire, a fault warning light should be active for at
least 24hrs"

If the batteries are flat or not present then the above clauses are not met and as a result, do not comply with the relevant part of BS 5839, contrary to 560.10

It should also be noted that a fire alarm (or detector) can be classed as a life safety system and as such can attract more stringent coding, whereas a non life safety system may not - This is primarily done to 'force the hand' of the client to ensure compliance with standards outside of 7671 and shows that the duty of care placed on the Electrician has been suitably discharged.

Remember that 7671 is a minimum required, so if you can go beyond that, applying necessary engineering judgement, clients are more likely to be accepting of codes that may appear excessive.
 

snowhead

-
Mentor
Responsibility for checking the Expiry date of detectors and reporting if they're out of date or getting near to being, should be with whoever is doing the regular tests on them.

As the dates are quite long, the expiry date of all detectors should already be known and be recorded and monitored by whoever is managing the property/ies.
That person then COULD request whoever is doing the EICR to confirm the dates.

Relying on the dates possibly being checked at the time of a 5 yearly EICR is not adequate.

What's the EICR code for a detector in date but likely to out of date by the time of the next EICR.?
 

Dartlec

Esteemed
Arms
560.6.1 - The following electrical sources for safety systems are recognised;
I) Storage batteries
II) Primary cells
III) Generator sets
IV) Sperate feeder supply network

560.10 - Fire detection and fire alam systems shall comply with the relevant parts of BS 5839 series.

5839-6 covers domestic premises (it can be argued that a private rented home is a commercial venture so should come under the scope of 5839-1, but for the sake of argument we'll use 5839-6) so the following can be applied:

Clause 15.2 states that "
The standby supply should be capable of automatically maintaining the system in
normal operation (whilst giving an audible and visual indication of mains failure) for
a period of 72 h".

Clause 15.4d states that for a category LD2 system;
'The standby supply for smoke alarms and heat alarms should take the form of a
primary battery, or a secondary battery'.

Clause 15.4e states that for a Grade D system;
"The capacity of the standby supplyshould be suffiecent to power the smoke
alarm(s) and any heat alarms in the quiescent mode for at least 72hr while giving an
audible or visual warning or power supply failure, after which there should remain
suffiecient capacity to provide suffieicnet capacity to provide a fire warning for a
further 4 mins. In the absence of a fire, a fault warning light should be active for at
least 24hrs"

If the batteries are flat or not present then the above clauses are not met and as a result, do not comply with the relevant part of BS 5839, contrary to 560.10

It should also be noted that a fire alarm (or detector) can be classed as a life safety system and as such can attract more stringent coding, whereas a non life safety system may not - This is primarily done to 'force the hand' of the client to ensure compliance with standards outside of 7671 and shows that the duty of care placed on the Electrician has been suitably discharged.

Remember that 7671 is a minimum required, so if you can go beyond that, applying necessary engineering judgement, clients are more likely to be accepting of codes that may appear excessive.

That's useful information - since I don't have a copy of BS5839 and I doubt most inspectors doing domestic EICRs will have either. It appears that the latest update has further split Grade D into D1 and D2, depending on whether batteries are user replaceable.

The ESF guide to EICRs puts absence of fire detection and alarm system down under
"Items worthy of note that do not warrant a classification code (These comments should be recorded on the EICR in the observations section)"

though doesn't mention a different approach if a system is in place but not fully functional. Anyone with the Code breakers book want to chime in with their take?

Does BS5839 state anything about manufacturers dates?

If a detector failed during a fire, no doubt the manufacturer would state that their product was not functioning to their design given that it was out of date...

But I take the view that the EICR is a BS7671 document, and codes should be easily tied to regulation numbers and requirements within the Book without requiring multiple other books to refer to.

I would not code a fault with a gas hob unless it was providing a dangerous external influence to the electrical system in some way (though I would as a matter of good practise notify the landlord, as I would with a broken window or a damaged fire escape).

Practically in this occasion, replacing the alarm would remove the C2 with no further documentation needed so is clearly the best option, but in terms of theoretical, I still think I would note it but not code it. There are other more binding requirements on a landlord to ensure they maintain their smoke alarms, such as the primary leglislation.

However, if I were going to code it, I guess a C2 makes some sense - if there were a single incident (fire) and the alarm did not go off there is a clear risk to life.
 

pirate

-
Esteemed
Arms
The requirements on Landlords (I refer to Scotland as that's my area) are quite strict, even if not expressed terribly clearly. Personally, I would welcome the inclusion of a comment if the Smokes were about to expire, as it would prompt me (not every landlord) to attend to replacement. The lack of a comment would not make me blame the electrician, it's my ultimate responsibility to ensure the safety of my tenants. However I would like to see such comments if only as a way to put the responsibility in writing to the Landlord, in case of a later incident. Most might ignore it but that's life. However, while I would like the electrician to make such comments where he/she thinks appropriate, i don't really think it should be mandatory...for all the usual reasons.
 

telectrix

-
Mentor
Esteemed
Arms
i didn't realise that alarms were into dating. i hope they were hetrosexual alarms, i.e. paired into male and female. will they meet at the local Fire Station, then adjourn to the nearest pub/hotel room?
 

Lister1987

-
Trainee
However you want to get they information across is down to you, be it as a coded observation, a strongly worded recommendation; 'It is my professional opinion that the safety of the property for an perspective tenant would be greatly improved by installing fire detection and fire alarm systems to adequately meet the provisions of BS 5839, failure to do so constitutes a breach of not only BS5839 but also BS7671 - The latter being the extent of my scope. By informing you of such information above, I have adequately and sufficiently discharged the 'duty of care' placed on me by Regulation 3 of Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 to which I am bound.
 

Mike Johnson

-
Esteemed
Arms
'It is my professional opinion that the safety of the property for an perspective tenant would be greatly improved by installing fire detection and fire alarm systems to adequately meet the provisions of BS 5839,
I think that is the wrong way around, the first safety consideration is to people not property.
 

Dartlec

Esteemed
Arms
However you want to get they information across is down to you, be it as a coded observation, a strongly worded recommendation; 'It is my professional opinion that the safety of the property for an perspective tenant would be greatly improved by installing fire detection and fire alarm systems to adequately meet the provisions of BS 5839, failure to do so constitutes a breach of not only BS5839 but also BS7671 - The latter being the extent of my scope. By informing you of such information above, I have adequately and sufficiently discharged the 'duty of care' placed on me by Regulation 3 of Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 to which I am bound.
Personally I think it would be better to point them to primary legislation, namely The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, (assuming they are in England of course - the Scottish version is more stringent I believe) which is already their responsibility and has been for some time.

That is statutory and does not require any level of explanation as to which BS number refers to which. It also has the backup of fines for not following it, which is more likely to persuade a landlord to do something. I would hope that most landlords are already aware of it.

The one niggle is that the legislation does not appear to reference alarms being 'in date' - but I imagine that would be covered under any manufacturers definition of a 'working' alarm.

I would say that making them aware of it in a way that is documented is wise to ensure there is no comeback on the inspector, but the question is whether it should be coded on an EICR which is an electrical installation condition report (as already discussed, the wiring to any mains alarm should be tested and covered)
 

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