Fire Detection and Alarm Systems- Responsibilities in the Workplace


Do I need to have a fire detection and alarm system installed in my premises?

In most non-domestic premises, a fire alarm system will be required. The regulations state that all business premises must have a fire detection and warning system. The complexity of the system will vary depending on the building layout, occupants, and the use of the premises. Insurance companies may also stipulate minimum standards for fire safety.

Do I need to have maintenance on the fire detection and alarm system?

If a fire detection and alarm system is deemed necessary then a system of maintenance is required, otherwise the user would be in breach of fire safety legislation and may be liable for prosecution. By arranging regular maintenance, you are demonstrating due diligence, and acting as a responsible employer, or premises owner.

Where is the legislation and guidance on this detailed?

This depends on where in the UK the premises are located. In England and Wales, the legislation is contained in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005; Scotland’s relevant legislation is the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006; whilst in Northern Ireland, the legislation is the Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010. Guidance is also contained in BS5839-1:2017, the code of practice for fire detection and alarm systems in non-domestic premises.

What is my first step towards complying with the legislation and guidance?

A single, named member of the premises management should be appointed to supervise all aspects of the fire detection and alarm system, and maintain all associated documentation. This individual is referred to as the “responsible person” in England and Wales, the “duty holder” in Scotland, and the “appropriate person” in Northern Ireland. Documentation should include the fire alarm log book, along with the as fitted fire alarm system drawings, and any inspection and servicing documents. All of these can be stored securely in a wall mounted fire alarm document box located beside the fire alarm control panel. The responsible person should also ensure an up-to-date fire alarm zone plan is mounted beside all fire alarm control panels, including repeater panels.

What are the ongoing duties of the responsible person with regards to the fire detection and alarm system?

  • Carry out a daily visual check of the fire alarm control panel, reporting any fault lights to the fire alarm maintaining company immediately
  • Carry out a weekly fire alarm test in accordance with the guidance
  • Liaise with the fire alarm maintaining company to ensure testing and maintenance is carried out at regular intervals, not exceeding 6 months
  • Ensure all building occupants are instructed in the use of the fire alarm system, in particular that they are able to recognise the warning which indicates fire
  • Ensuring the fire alarm log book is kept up to date. All false alarms should be recorded in the log book, and it should be made available to the fire alarm engineers when on site
  • Holding sufficient spare parts for the system, for example replacement frangible elements of manual call points

What formal testing needs to take place?

You should appoint a competent, third party accredited, fire alarm company to carry out regular servicing on the system. The maximum servicing interval for fire alarms in the UK is six months, but depending on the risk involved, servicing may be more frequent. During the service, a detailed check of the system will be carried out and you should receive documentation recording the checks and any recommendations. The fire alarm company should provide a 24-hour emergency response service, so that you can report any faults on your system immediately.

To obtain a quotation for fire detection and alarm system maintenance, or to arrange training for your team on the requirements for daily and weekly checks, contact us on 02890 207 207, or email

Fire Detection and Alarm Systems- Responsibilities in the Workplace