Fire Protection Association Joint Code of Practice

June 23, 2016


The Fire Protection Association/Construction Confederation have produced, with the support of the Association of British Insurers, the Chief Fire Officers Association, and the London Fire Brigade, the Joint Code of Practice on the Protection from Fire of Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation. This lays out best practice fire safety recommendations with the specific challenges and demands of the construction industry in mind, and includes the following provisions:

4.5 Fire alarm system – 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 “break glass” call-points which, when broken, electronically operate bells, klaxons or sirens.

4.6 Fire detection system – a system comprising components for automatically detecting a fire, initiating an alarm and initiating other action as appropriate.

6.1.1 Responsible person – the responsible person must take such general fire precautions as will ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of his employees and, in relation to persons who are not his employees, take such general fire precautions as may be reasonably required in the circumstances. This will include that:

(c) weekly testing of the fire alarm (and any domestic style smoke detectors) is carried out and that other smoke and heat detectors on site are tested as determined by a risk assessment;

13.8 Temporary buildings or temporary accommodation located:

(a) inside the building under construction/refurbishment;

(b) inside another permanent building; or

(c) within 10m of such building(s)

must be fitted with fire detection systems complying with a recognised Category of installation as set out in BS 5839-1: Fire detection and alarm systems for buildings: Code of practice for system design, installation, commissioning and maintenance (ref 23). In the case of high fire risk sites, the fire detection system must be linked to the fire alarm system in the building on which work is being undertaken and to an alarm receiving centre, unless there is a 24-hour site security presence on site. Components of automatic fire detection and alarm systems should be marked as complying with EN 54 (ref 37).


Regulation 32 Fire detection and fire-fighting.

(1) Where necessary in the interests of the health or safety of a person on a construction site, suitable and sufficient firefighting equipment and fire detection and alarm systems must be provided and located in suitable places.

(3) Fire-fighting equipment or fire detection and alarm systems must be examined and tested at suitable intervals and properly maintained.


European guidelines on the use of radio technology in emergency equipment specifies the use of life critical Class 1 receivers in ‘human life inherent systems’ – i.e. those in which any failure may result in physical risk to a person. The Cygnus system uses Class 1 radios throughout, ensuring maximum signal reliability for your critical construction site evacuation system.


Health and Safety Executive guidelines for compliance with legislation on fire safety in construction sites1 state that:

“It is expected on the majority of sites that an interconnecting (could be wired-in or wireless) system of call points and sounders will be required to provide an effective fire warning system.”

Cygnus is a robust wireless fire warning system, integrating both call points and sounders, that ensures that when one call point – or heat/smoke detector – is triggered, a site-wide alert is initiated at a volume that’s practical for alerting a busy construction site.


The Structural Timber Association’s 16 Steps to Timber Frame Construction document.

“An appropriately designed, installed and maintained automatic fire detection alarm system can reasonably ensure that site operatives will be aware of a fire before it can become large enough to compromise their escape route. As a general rule, handbells, whistles and similar fire alarm devices are probably not going to be loud enough or heard easily by all site operatives on multi-storey construction projects. Electrically operated fire warning devices must always be used in timber frame projects unless it can be clearly demonstrated that other systems are effective. These devices should be linked to detection devices strategically placed around the structure to provide the earliest possible detection of fire.”


By definition a construction product is any product or ‘kit’ which is produced and placed on the market for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works. The Cygnus system is a temporary fire alarm system and is not required to comply with the Construction Products Regulation 2011. However, due to the devastating nature of fire on construction sites, the system has been rigorously tested. The product does not fall under the Construction Products Regulation 2011 when used as outlined below:

— The system’s intended use is a fire and first aid alert system incorporating fire call points, first aid call points, smoke and heat detection and a control panel for temporary fire cover during construction works.

— The system is intended to be installed either in a building under construction, in site cabins or on mobile fire points and is taken out/deinstalled at the end of the construction project.

The radio modules are Class 1 with Category 1 receivers as required for human life inherent systems in accordance with the R&TTE directive (1999/5/EC) and the system has been tested to the following standards;

  •  EN 60950-1: 2006 + A2: 2013
    Electrical Safety

  • EN 301 489-3 v1.6.1 (2013-08)
    Electromagnetic Compatibility

  • EN 50130-4: 2011
    Electromagnetic Compatibility

  • EN 300 220-2 v2.4.1 (2012-05)
    Radio Performance


The Cygnus radio module has been designed for specific use on construction sites where changing site conditions and environments demand a far higher performance from the radio than that found in standard industry wireless linked fire systems. The radio operates on a mesh protocol which ensures signal integrity is maintained in a changing environment. The system has been successfully installed in conditions ranging from steel site cabin complexes to concrete basements up to 12m below ground and even rail projects 40m underground. The range of the radios on open ground has been measured at 1.5km and signals have been received at over 2.5km from units placed in high rise buildings.


The Cygnus system has been designed for use on construction sites and can be used as part of a fire alarm system installed to BS5839-1 2013 in Temporary Site Accommodation (Section 13.8) as required by JCOP (The Joint Code of Practice on the Protection from Fire of Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation – 2012). The system is also intended to meet the JCOP requirement for High Rise Construction Sites (Section 22.8) and Large Timber Frame Structures (Section 23.15).