Fire Alarm System Design


A major UK client decided, in the wake of Grenfell tower, that they required all replacement and new fire alarm systems to be designed by a third party accredited designers.

The client, recognising Tenet Consultants as an EC&I and BAFE accredited contractor with successful delivery of a number of fire projects, approached Tenet Consultants to provide the designs via their nominated designers who are independently assessed and accredited through the BAFE SP203-1 scheme.

Services Provided

  • Tenet provides a SQEP core delivery team which includes ‘Nominated designers’, independently certified by BAFE, to lead concept, optioning, preliminary and detail design scope.
  • All Tenet designers have City and Guilds approved courses on fire alarm and emergency lighting design.
  • Undertaken significant works in both new build and refurbished premises.
  • Undertaken reviews of FA design for non-accredited companies.
  • Undertake preliminary assessments prior to detail design to provide innovative solutions.


Fire alarm installation on existing buildings and replacing redundant fire alarm systems with modern fully addressable systems presents a challenge within the site environment. The existing systems have been in place for many years and are often fixed directly to building fabric, making removal difficult. New cabled systems are notoriously difficult and expensive to install on the site due to heavily congested existing cable ways and the restrictions on drilling for new fixings and penetrations. There is also the consideration of other operational aspects of the plant and any cause and effects of the existing system.

Technically, there were a number of novel challenges:

  • Radio operated fire alarms – Several designers and Engineers have been on training courses for radio operated fire alarms, including learning how to undertake radio signal surveys.
  • VESDA systems including installing sample pipework using catenary wire suspension, thus avoiding having to fix into a structures roof.
  • The latest beam detection technology.
  • Use of video detection alarm systems to detect stratification layers.

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  • Tenet responded to client and industry requirements for third party accreditation by training all staff and gaining accreditation.
  • Tenet has engaged personnel with experience outside of the nuclear sector in order to provide resource with a diverse skills portfolio to meet the presented challenges.
  • Tenet reduced abortive costs at studies phase by excluding systems not suitable for legacy plants or with significant constructibility issues.
  • Tenet successfully compiled a detailed understanding of the client’s requirements against operational constraints.
  • Tenet continued to work with suppliers and stakeholders to bring further innovation and with the utilisation of the latest technology.

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