The 9th Edition of the Joint Code of Practice on the Protection from Fire on Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Refurbishment (popularly known as the JCOP), has been recently released. The main changes seek to bring the document in line with the CDM Regulations.
As far as fire alarm systems are concerned there have been no significant changes, and the definition of a ‘fire alarm system’ remains unchanged: “any means utilised for giving warning of fire on a site. The most basic system may be no more than a hand-held siren or manually operated gong. Certain sites by their size and nature may require a ‘break glass’ call-points which, when broken, electronically operate bells, klaxons or sirens.” The FPA have confirmed that this is intended to differentiate from a conventional fire alarm system complying with BS 5839-1, which are designed for permanent or semi-permanent buildings. The ever changing nature of construction sites means that compliance with BS 5839-1 would be virtually impossible, and very expensive to achieve.
There is a new requirement for automatic detection to be provided in ‘enclosed spaces’ (i.e. once the building has been enclosed) in large timber frame buildings. Where the sites are not manned 24 hours a day, this detection should be linked to a monitoring station.
The JOCP has always required a fire alarm system compliant with BS 5839-1 to be installed in a Temporary Buildings and Temporary Accommodation in certain circumstances and the FPA have confirmed that there has been no change to this, namely:
- Temporary buildings inside the building under construction
- Inside another permanent building
- Within 10m of such building(s)
- Where flammable liquids and gases are stored
- Where cooking, or drying of clothes takes place
The 9th edition has added a reference to the fact that components of the BS 5839-1 systems should be 03ked as complying with BS EN54, but this is somewhat superfluous, since the installer could not certificate the system if this were not the case.
It is important to understand that BS 5839-1 makes additional requirements to BS EN54, and just because your components comply with BS EN54 does not automatically mean that your system complies with BS 5839-1! No system will comply with BS 5839-1 unless it has a control panel compliant with BS EN54-2.
If you have specific questions about the JCOP, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Purchase your own copy
You can purchase a copy of the new Joint Code of Practice through the Fire Protection Association (FPA) website.