Audibility Test

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markholly
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Audibility Test

Post by markholly » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:55 pm

Hello,

I have just had a FRA conducted in one of the company venues and one of the sections mentioned having a Audibility test completed. They are looking to charge us £85 to conduct this so my question is:

Is this just a matter of sounding the alarm and making sure it can be heard in all rooms or will it be more in depth, is there a minimum decibel that the sounders should reach.

I just do not want to pay for something that I can get a member of staff to do.

Thanks

Mark .salut

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Alexis
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Re: Audibility Test

Post by Alexis » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:28 pm

Bump.
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bernicarey
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Re: Audibility Test

Post by bernicarey » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:27 pm

In my opinion, it's a money making exercise for them....
The maintenance requirements of BS 5839-1:2007 simple state at Para 45.4 (k) words to the effect of
"All Fire alarm devices should be checked for correct operation, all visual devices should be unobstructed, lenses clean etc"
It then specifically says at Note 9:
"it is not intended that sound pressure level measurements are made"

Equally, there is no mention of 'Audibility Testing' in PAS 79 for Fire Risk Assessments.


The Alarm should be 65dB(A) or 5dB(A) above background noise, unless you've got additional visual indicators, blah, blah, blah....

Tell them them they have 2 hopes, ..... and one of them is Bob!!
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Messy
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Re: Audibility Test

Post by Messy » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:57 pm

On the other hand.............................

1) Have you had any works carried out to the premises to fire alarm system since the last FRA?
2) Is there any reason to believe the alarm cannot be heard? (as they are too quiet or a loud process makes them difficult to hear?)
3) Is there any certification to confirm the sound levels were checked on commissioning?

However, if this is a generic part of the FRA report which does not relate to any matter raised or discovered during the FRA review, I would follow Bernicarey's sound advice and ignore it.

I would never (or rarely) appoint the FRA assessor company to carry out any work they have recorded as a finding. That leave you wide open to being abused.

I would also extend this approach to splitting fire extinguisher maintenance contracts. One company to service the units and choose a separate supplier to provide replacement extinguishers. You watch the number of replacement extinguishers fall through the floor in under one year!!!

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Re: Audibility Test

Post by Essex » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:55 pm

Do you have your alarm regularly services and certified? Was the alarm designed and installed to that design?

If yes to the above then I would tell them to stick to their remit. If no then I would suggest you get this looked at as a priority. Either way it I should not under the remit of the people doing the FRA to be commenting on specific details of installations and if they conform.
Education is the key. A manager should always stand by their team. They employed them.


markholly
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Re: Audibility Test

Post by markholly » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:58 am

Hi all,

Yes we have the alarms serviced twice a year and all are certified. I have gone back to the company asking for more information regarding this as we have 230 venues each with a completed FRA and this is the first time I have came across a comment like this. Their reply was don't worry about this, it is usually picked up during the service if extra sounders are required.

I have just been noticing a few different comments :

"No visual indication of visual indication" has got to be the best out of the bunch for me personally.

Thanks for your help :lol:

Mark .salut

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Re: Audibility Test

Post by hammer1 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:24 am

markholly wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:58 am
Hi all,

Yes we have the alarms serviced twice a year and all are certified. I have gone back to the company asking for more information regarding this as we have 230 venues each with a completed FRA and this is the first time I have came across a comment like this. Their reply was don't worry about this, it is usually picked up during the service if extra sounders are required.

I have just been noticing a few different comments :

"No visual indication of visual indication" has got to be the best out of the bunch for me personally.

Thanks for your help :lol:

Mark .salut
I be asking their justification of this action, they may have come across an area (plant room) and did not note any sounders?, however all this should have been detailed in the significant findings. Also as messy says, check documentation - any commissioning certs? maintenance? ask the maintenance company why this has not been picked up in their schedule.

There is no question in PAS79 about audibility, but there is about the fire alarm and detection system being S&S, if I needed to raise an action, I put it in there. Not a great fan of PAS79, its a good foundation but not really good for resi/complex buildings. I also found it annoying these companies selling 'our templates are PAS79 compliant which ensure compliance with FSO' - what a load of rubbish, if you making that statement you need to comply with the whole of PAS79 and not a loosely built template. PAS79 itself states do not use this a compliance document unless the whole document is fully adhered to.

To many compliance managers say we are compliant with FSO article 9 as we use a PAS79 template and that's it (oh and that they are all completed within scope timeframe) that's their measurement/KPI done?? No detail on quality assurance/content/who is conducting the FRA and how you manage the outcomes?

I have seen many many many FRAs now, even from some established companies, all I can say is shocking

Back in the day a 3-6 storey HMO FRA first visit would take me 4-5 hours to write up with a 1 maybe 2 hour site visit....
The song goes...{I'm gonna walk down to electric avenue and I'm gonna say ' have you got PAT testing records for all that mate'}

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Re: Audibility Test

Post by witsd » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:54 pm

Messy wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:57 pm
I would never (or rarely) appoint the FRA assessor company to carry out any work they have recorded as a finding. That leave you wide open to being abused.
Just quoting for emphasis, really. I've seen Legionella risk assessments with an additional column in the actions table for the assessors' prices for remedial work! A lot of companies see the risk assessment as an 'in' for extra work – always get a second opinion if it seems fishy.

Similarly, remember that review periods set by the assessor are not necessarily free from bias.
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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Re: Audibility Test

Post by bernicarey » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:56 pm

witsd wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:54 pm
A lot of companies see the risk assessment as an 'in' for extra work – always get a second opinion if it seems fishy.
Like '...asking a Barber if you need a haircut' .... famous saying by someone or other ...

Whenever I do an Audit, I offer solutions from 'you can do all this yourself', through to 'I can do this for you', but I always try to get them to take responsibility for the remedial actions.
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stephen1974
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Re: Audibility Test

Post by stephen1974 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:54 pm

Essex wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:55 pm
Do you have your alarm regularly services and certified? Was the alarm designed and installed to that design?

If yes to the above then I would tell them to stick to their remit. If no then I would suggest you get this looked at as a priority. Either way it I should not under the remit of the people doing the FRA to be commenting on specific details of installations and if they conform.
I disagree. It is absolutely the remit of the FRA to point out issues like this. It does depend on how it is worded but if an assessor feels that an alarm cannot be heard in an area(s) and should be tested, test it. I would simply stand in the areas and get someone to test the alarm, if you can hear it, perfect. Though make sure if you normally have noise in the area you test it under those conditions and not in the middle of the night when the building is in silence.

If a FR Assessor DIDNT point such things out, they shouldn't get paid.

Having your system serviced and certified only means someone is testing what is present. They are not looking at what isn't present.

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Re: Audibility Test

Post by Essex » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:28 pm

stephen1974 wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:54 pm
Essex wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:55 pm
Do you have your alarm regularly services and certified? Was the alarm designed and installed to that design?

If yes to the above then I would tell them to stick to their remit. If no then I would suggest you get this looked at as a priority. Either way it I should not under the remit of the people doing the FRA to be commenting on specific details of installations and if they conform.
I disagree. It is absolutely the remit of the FRA to point out issues like this. It does depend on how it is worded but if an assessor feels that an alarm cannot be heard in an area(s) and should be tested, test it. I would simply stand in the areas and get someone to test the alarm, if you can hear it, perfect. Though make sure if you normally have noise in the area you test it under those conditions and not in the middle of the night when the building is in silence.

If a FR Assessor DIDNT point such things out, they shouldn't get paid.

Having your system serviced and certified only means someone is testing what is present. They are not looking at what isn't present.
Part of the annual testing would be to check the design is in place and current.
Education is the key. A manager should always stand by their team. They employed them.

stephen1974
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Re: Audibility Test

Post by stephen1974 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:00 pm

Many places will not have the original design because they have taken over a building and that information wasn't passed on.
Many places don't have well designed fire systems in the first place.
In 15 years, across many sites and companies, I have never seen a company carrying out bi annual inspections ask to see the design specs. All they want is a building plan and locations of x,y and z so they can find what they need to find. They dont pass judgement on the design.

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