Fire Legislation – Changes to BS5839 Part 6

BS5839 Part 6

In 2013, BS5839 Part 6 was reviewed, and updated to reflect changing technologies, strategies and phenomena.

Key changes to the standard are:

Rented Properties:-

All new or existing properties that are rented, should be protected by a Grade D system.

A Grade D system requires mains operated smoke alarms with a secondary sealed battery back-up.

Prior to this, a Mains Smoke Alarm without battery back-up would have been acceptable.

Alarm Silencing:-

Any alarm should be capable of being silenced from FLOOR LEVEL. They should also be capable of being isolated from the 230VAC mains supply.

To comply with this requirement we recommend the installation of a wall mounting Alarm Control Switch to allow residents to Locate, Test and Silence the alarms from floor level.

Protection in lofts:-

The risk of a fire in a loft space is greater than ever, particularly with the  surge in the number of solar panels on roofs and their controls and circuitry being installed and routed in loft spaces.

BS5839-6:2013 specifically requires Lofts to be protected for  compliance with Category LD1 and LD2 systems.

To avoid unwanted alarms, this will typically be an ionisation chamber smoke detector, unless the use of a suitable multi-sensor detector is likely to minimise unwanted alarms as a result of dust ingress.


Multi-sensor alarms are now a recognised alternative detector to Optical models. They are suitable for use in all areas—except Kitchens.

Detector siting in areas with Structural Beams:-

New guidelines have been included in the standard when designing and positioning detectors in areas which have exposed structural beams.

Where structural beams create an obstacle to flow of smoke across a ceiling:

1) if the depth of the beam is greater than 10% of the ceiling height, it should be treated as a wall (i.e. detectors should be provided on both sides of the beam) or, if the beam is less than 600 mm in depth, a detector should be installed on the underside of the beam;

2) in other cases, detectors should not be installed closer to the beam than twice the depth of the beam or 500 mm, whichever is less.

Fire Alarm Systems

Fire Legislation – Changes to BS5839 Part 6

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