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Topic Title: Uncertified fire alarm
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Created On: 13 April 2018 06:40 PM
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 13 April 2018 06:40 PM
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Stevolution

Posts: 10
Joined: 05 October 2016

Hi all
Can someone with fire alarm knowledge please clear something up for me.
I am a fully qualified spark (32+ yrs), but not really done much fire alarm stuff.
I not work for a company that have installed a very bad fire alarm system in a large public department type store.
They installed a Morley panel, and basically threw the FP over the ceiling tiles with no proper containment.
Badly terminated cables, smoke heads in the wrong place (e.g. in a room with different height ceilings.... its mounted on the lowest part). The list goes on.
I went in after they could not get it working (all the addresses were incorrect) and basically got the system up and running, but I insisted we returned to fix the bad install.
However, they will not.
We have issued no installation certificate, no completion cert or commissioning cert.
There lies another issue.. we don't have anyone actually trained to do any of the certs. I wanted to get a third party in to check it all, but that met with a hostile reception.
Basically nothing. I made up a zone plan and put that up next to the panel, but its not enough in my eyes.
Where does this lead legally (if anywhere). If a fire occurred, would the insurance company want to see installation records/certs?
I would have thought so, but maybe not.
Its a public occupied building, and I am not happy about any of it.
I have emailed the directors of this company voicing my concerns, but they are ignored.
But they are also the reason we have not returned to correct the work (bottom line basically).
Any guidance would be gratefully received
 13 April 2018 07:58 PM
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geov

Posts: 414
Joined: 22 February 2004

Walk! A company that plays fast and loose with a life safety system is not one I would work for. Any liability will lie with the Directors of the company should someone be injured or die, and the building owner will probably find that their insurers will walk too in the event of a claim.
 13 April 2018 08:28 PM
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Dave69

Posts: 729
Joined: 16 July 2011

Why was the system installed in the first place?
Who designed it?
What does the FRA say?

If no certification has been issued I would hope no money has been paid.
Not sure what you mean about addresses being incorrect, the panel will learn the loops with what ever addresses the devises have been given and wont care unless there are duplicate addresses and once the panel has learnt the loops you add text to each address to describe its location etc which is far more important than a zone plan.
What do you mean about badly terminated cables?
Sometimes there are good reasons detectors are not sited in the logical place and the resons will be explained in the certification

Without the correct certification how will the owners know their system complies or even works and if was installed following a FRA or requests from insurance companies then it will not be accepted. In the event of a fire the system may well work and give warning but any investigation that follows will need to see all the certification and log book showing weekly test etc.

Either have a word with the building owners and risk losing your job or walk away and prey they never have a fire

Where abouts is the installation? I would love to have a look
 13 April 2018 08:57 PM
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Stevolution

Posts: 10
Joined: 05 October 2016

Walk.... already on that. Totally had enough
Addresses. The engineer (laughable term in this case) basically just did not understand addressing and had duplicate addresses all over the place.
I sorted that out, named the detectors, call points etc corrected in the text.
Badly terminated. Earths snipped off... no continuity (something I did correct). The old part of the building was analogue, so it went through some converters. These had FP jammed into open 20mm holes (no packed glands) and stuffed above the ceiling tiles.
Designed by the MD, who does not really have any experience from what I can work out. In his minor defence, most of the call points and sensors are positioned OK.
But, some were not put where the design plan said, because the installer was lazy. A room with a vaulted ceiling for instance has 2x smoke heads in the lowest part of the ceiling, so the entire vaulted roof would fill before detection.
Badly sited detectors explained in the certification..... what certification.
Customer has paid in full.
Why would the FRA be involved?
When I walk (and I am)... how can I go about getting this brought about to the attention of someone who can pursue this issue?
I am writing yet another email tonight to the directors in an attempt to provide myself some minor cover against any future backlash.... I want it known I pointed this out repeatedly.
 13 April 2018 10:24 PM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 16831
Joined: 13 August 2003

Why would the FRA be involved?

FRA = Fire Risk Assessment (http://www.gov.uk/workplace-fi...ire-risk-assessments)
- Andy,
 13 April 2018 10:30 PM
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chrispearson

Posts: 264
Joined: 15 February 2018

Originally posted by: Stevolution

Walk.... already on that. Totally had enough

When I walk (and I am)... how can I go about getting this brought about to the attention of someone who can pursue this issue?


Steady on!

Stevolution, this is clearly causing you a lot of distress and you have my greatest sympathy.

I don't think that it is a technical matter, because from the sound of it, the system has been botched, but you must face the possibility of an counter-argument that all is well.

It seems to be both an ethical matter (i.e. of conscience) and a legal one.

It appears that you are an employee and if that is the case, you are unlikely to be vulnerable to any claim in law because your employers will have vicarious liability.

If you can walk, and you can find alternative work without risking your income and mortgage, etc. then you are on a reasonably good footing. However, if not you may still be able to rely on the principles of constructive dismissal and whistle-blowing, but this is a complex area of law and you should avoid it if you can. I wouldn't like to be in your shoes, but in the short-term it may be best to swallow hard. If your conscience forces you to do something, please make sure that you have considered the risks and benefits to you yourself and your family.

In order to rely upon the doctrine of whistle-blowing, you need to have expressed your concerns through a sort of hierarchy beginning with your bosses, then the customer, then the fire authorities, and so on. However, if you can afford to walk, then it seems that your ethical dilemma may be resolved by simply expressing your concerns to the fire authorities. If they take no action, then I think that you can sleep soundly.

If you are an employee, as opposed to a subbie, I don't think that you are exposed legally, but I think that misses the point. If you end up in the Coroner's Court giving evidence, I doubt that you will be in the firing line, but that wouldn't help anybody.

I hope that we can support you in here, but is there any help available closer to home? If you are a union member, they may be able to help. If you have any faith, the clergy may be able to help. Best of luck!
 13 April 2018 10:55 PM
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Stevolution

Posts: 10
Joined: 05 October 2016

Its not just this issue that is leading me to quit. The company as a whole is appallingly run.
Yes... I am en employee, so I believe the director at fault if this went to court (which is what he tells me when I bring it up), but that doesn't make you sleep better if something happened.
Yes... the system works. But its not right. If there is no come-back for there being no paperwork or certification, then so be it... not much more I can pursue.
My question is then, can you install a system with zero testing or certification?
Walking... not an issue. Financially fine, no dependants, and can easily go back self employed if required. I am plenty well qualified, so I am not worried on that front.
I have just let them know for the third (and final) time that its not a situation I am happy with. Sent from my personal email address, and its therefore a legal document (I believe). Not much more I can do to cover myself, but its on record that I am not happy about it.
And for those wondering, I won't give the company name or the property in question, but its a central London premises.
Thanks for your advice
 13 April 2018 11:27 PM
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Dave69

Posts: 729
Joined: 16 July 2011

You may be best starting low key with a phone call to the local council, explaining your concerns and asking for their help and advice.

You obviously have strong feelings and concerns which could well be very justified.

I made a round trip of over 300 miles last week to commission a fire alarm system installed by others for a pub chain in a bog standard pub with 8 B&B rooms above. The area manager was there along with the boss who had installed the kit, it didnt go well from the very start,
Here are a few of the basic things it flopped on.
Mains supply was wired in T&E cable
Local panel isolator was a bog standard SWITCHED spur
Heat Detectors in the comercial kitchen were rate of rise meaning as soon as someone opened an oven the temperature would go up and set the alarm
A number of MCP were mounted to high
The travel distance from some of the bedrooms to a MCP was way too far
Cables were installed high level in plastic trunking and not clipped in anyway, not even where they crossed above doors
The list went on and on, needless to say we refused to issue any certification but advised the area manager verbally there and then that the fire alarm did not comply, this was followed up by email and a recorded delivery letter.

I would still love to know where abouts your system is so if I am ever in the area I could take a quick look
 15 April 2018 09:10 PM
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Timeserved

Posts: 94
Joined: 18 October 2016

CYA.

Ts
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