The Latest BS 5839-9:2021 Guidance Has Now Been Published

The ninth part of national standards outlining the guidance for fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings provides the code of practice for designing, installing, commissioning, and maintaining EVC (Emergency Voice Communication) systems.

Who can benefit from the 2021 British Standards?

· Anyone responsible for the designing, installing, maintaining and working EVC systems

· Those responsible for the evacuation of buildings

· Those overseeing the building, including managers and building control officers

What’s included in BS 5839-9:2021?

BS 5839-9:2021 provides information and guidance on the complete process of including EVC systems into the overall fire safety strategy. It also encompasses recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the EVCs, the guidance covers specific technical components.

The guidance applies to the use of EVCs during an emergent fire situation within a range of buildings, including sports stadiums, entertainment and public venues. The published guidance also emphasises the correct usage of the EVC system in broadcasting the evacuation message to occupants of the building and not acting as a fire alarm system.

The guidance relates to using an EVC system in the case of a fire to communicate with occupants stuck in refuges and connects to key individuals involved in the fire strategy, including wardens, marshals and firefighting lobbies.

The guidance is limited in information in certain areas, including the use of EVC systems, other than in fire emergent situations, by those with disabilities and other such individuals. Although not completely absent from the guidance, it is not covered with enough detail.

Unless in extreme circumstances, an EVC system is not sufficient to be intended as a fire alarm system. For guidance on fire detection and alarm systems, you should look to BS 5839-1 for further guidance.

It’s important to recognise that BS 5839-9:2021 is not a recommendation for whether or not an EVC should be installed but merely provides the guidance surrounding its use in the broader fire strategy.

The guidance is solely provided for fire detection purposed EVCs and not intended for reference to generic voice systems, including intercoms, telephone systems and external communication systems. Guidance for voice alarm systems is covered by BS 5839-8.

Why refer to BS 5839-9:2021?

Referencing specific guidance for EVCs ensures that high standards of reliability, safety and security are followed and helps in creating competent and compliant fire safety solutions for the building.

The guidance similarly helps any who install, maintain or are the day-to-day user remain up to date with regulatory changes and best practices for using the systems.

Referring to the new standards also provides detailed guidance from the different stages of EVC, ranging from the planning to routine inspection to certification of the systems’ compliance.

Reference can also assist in the ongoing training in installing EVCs and how to appropriately maintain their capability and competence as part of a detailed fire strategy. By establishing your adherence to BS 5839-9:2021, building developers and managers can emphasise the safety of the building to all occupants.

With business’ environmental impact being a conscientious concern for mangy operations, BS 5839-9:2021 contributes to the UN’s sustainable development goal 3, ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being of all ages and goal 9’s building resilient infrastructure.

How does BS 5839-9:2021 differ?

The revised version is the first update since 2011. It incorporates the latest legislative requirements with up-to-date recommendations for building evacuation, including disabled people and reflects the changes made since the last publication of the guidance.

Get in touch with FDS Contracting today to discuss how we can help create a bespoke fire design solution meeting the exact needs of your upcoming building, ensuring its safety and compliance.