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Legend: Explanations & Illustrations Rationale Note Revision history Print

Clause 6.3 - ELECTRICAL FIRE ALARM SYSTEM

6.3.1 General

a. PG III to VIII occupancies

(1) Every building or part of a building, except that of PG I or II (residential floors), having a total floor area of more than that specified in column (3) of Table 6.3A having regard to the purpose group of the building or part of the building, shall be installed with a fire alarm system, either of the automatic or manual type as indicated in column (4), which shall be an electrically supervised system complying with the requirements of the SS CP 10. The fire alarm system shall be connected to the SCDF’s Operations Centre through an approved alarm monitoring company if required under Cl.6.3.8.

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(2) Notwithstanding Cl.6.3.1a.(1) above, if the total floor area per storey of a 2 to 4 storey building of any of the PG III to VIII exceeds the sizes as stipulated in column (2) of Table 3.2A, the building shall be provided with an automatic fire alarm system.

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b. PG II mixed occupancy

For PG II mixed occupancy buildings where an automatic sprinkler system and/or electrical fire alarm system is provided to the non-residential part of the building:

(1) Alarm sounders shall be able to produce a minimum sound level of 65dBA, or 5dBA above the ambient noise level, whichever is greater but not more than 120dBA, at all parts of the following areas: 

(a) the non-residential units; 

(b) the common areas of the non-residential floors; and

(c) the common areas of the immediate two residential floors above the non-residential floor. 

R Rationale - Clause 6.3.1b.(1)

During a fire emergency in non-residential spaces, the building occupants closer to these spaces should be notified via fire alarm sounding. As each residential unit is a fire compartment by itself, total evacuation of the building occupants is not necessary. However, those units closer to the fire source could be affected by smoke and fire and hence need to be alerted to be prepared for evacuation. For units located further away from the fire floor, it is safer for the occupants to remain within their units. These occupants will have sufficient time to evacuate if the fire cannot be controlled/contained. Phased evacuation could reduce the risk of stampede and injury as compared to total evacuation.

(2) Connection of the fire alarm system to an approved alarm monitoring company stipulated under Cl.6.3.8 is not required if the number of non-residential floors is not more than one storey.

c. Dormitories

For dormitories, including workers' dormitories, an electrical fire alarm system shall be provided as follows:

(1) For single storey dormitory buildings, manual fire alarm system is to be provided to comply with SS CP 10.

(2) For dormitories exceeding more than one storey, both automatic and manual fire alarm systems shall be provided to comply with SS CP 10

6.3.2 Fire alarm panel

a. An electrical fire alarm system of the automatic or manual type shall be provided with a fire alarm panel to indicate the location of the alarm which has been actuated or operated. Such an alarm panel shall be accurate to the maximum allowed alarm group area limitations specified in SS CP 10.

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b. The associated control and supervisory equipment, indicating equipment, wiring and arrangement of power supplies for the fire alarm panel shall comply with the requirements in SS CP 10.

c. All automatic systems which are activated via the general building alarm shall be connected directly to the fire alarm panel.

d. The fire alarm panel shall be located near the main entrance of the building, in the Fire Command Centre (FCC), in the guardhouse or in the fire lift lobby.

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e. Sub fire alarm panel, where provided, shall comply with the requirements in SS CP 10 be located at the fire lift lobby, smoke-free lobby, or protected staircase, in that order of priority, or at the main point of entry into the area covered by the alarm zone.

6.3.3 Manual alarm call points

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a. In a manual alarm system, except as otherwise exempted in Cl.6.3.1, the manual call points shall be provided on every storey of the building or part of the building and shall be so located that no person need travel more than 30m from any position within the building to activate the alarm.

b. Manual call points shall be located on exit routes preferably next to hose reels and in particular on the floor landings of exit staircases and at exits to the street. In the case where an automatic fire alarm system is provided, grouping for indication of location of the manual call points shall comply with the requirements in SS CP 10.

c. Manual call points shall be located between 800mm and 1.2m above the finished floor level and shall be located at easily accessible and conspicuous positions free from obstructions. The installation of the sounding device shall be in accordance with SS CP 10.

d. Exemption

Manual call points can be omitted for the following:

(1) car parks, regardless whether the parking facility is standalone type or forms part of a building;

(2) open-to-sky roof gardens/terraces, provided an alarm sounder is extended to this level and positioned near the exit staircase except for developments where fire alarm system is not required; and

(3) mezzanine floor of factory unit, subject to compliance with Cl.9.6.1a.(2) and provided no person on the mezzanine floor need to travel more than 30m to activate the nearest manual call point located on the main floor.

e. Manual call point shall be provided for buildings protected with an automatic fire sprinkler system or automatic fire alarm system.

6.3.4 Automatic fire alarm

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Where an automatic fire alarm system is required by this Code, the type, location, spacing and installation of the detectors shall comply with the requirements in SS CP 10.

6.3.5 Alarm device

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a. General

(1) The alarm device, which should normally issue an audible or visible signal, unless specifically allowed or required otherwise by the SCDF, shall be actuated if the electrical fire alarm system is activated or operated. The type, number and location of the alarm device shall comply with the requirements in SS CP 10.

(2) All sounders and visual alarm signals in the building shall be actuated simultaneously in the event of an activation. However, in cases permitted or required by the SCDF where the operation of alarm sounders are grouped or activated in stages, the arrangement shall comply with the requirements in SS CP 10.

b. Audio alarm

The fire alarm sounder shall have a sound that is readily distinguishable from any other alarm system. In places of entertainment or areas where sound and/or special effects lighting systems are installed, the sound systems shall be electronically interlocked with the fire alarm system to enable these systems to be automatically cut-off when the fire alarm system is activated.

c. Visual alarms

(1) Visual alarms shall be not be used in place of audible alarms and shall be provided:

(a) for buildings protected by fire alarm systems;

(b) in places, such as full-height enclosed washroom spaces, car park floors, lift lobbies, etc., where persons with hearing impairment can be isolated, especially when they are not in their identified locations; and

(c) in places of entertainment e.g. dance halls, gaming outlets, internet games cafes, arcades where users use headgear that affects hearing, or areas where sound and/or special effects lighting systems are installed.

(2) Siting of visual alarms

Visual alarms shall be located together with fire alarm sounder. Where they are not readily visible from areas accessible to persons with hearing impairment who may be in isolation, additional visual alarms shall be provided. The height of the visual alarms shall be between 2m to 3m above finished floor level.

(3) Technical specifications

Visual alarms shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(a) They shall take the form of a flashing beacon or strobe light for use in conjunction with the conventional fire alarm system.

(b) They shall be clearly distinguishable from any other visual indicator used in the premises.

(c) They shall be labelled with the word “Fire” of at least 15mm in height and lettering colour shall contrast with the background.

(d) The flashing rate shall be within 30 to 130 flashes per minute.

(e) The visual alarm signal shall be in white or red.

(f) The flashing of all visual alarm signals within a same space/room shall be synchronised.

(g) The intensity of the light signal shall be sufficient to draw the attention of people in the vicinity.

6.3.6 Home Fire Alarm Device (HFAD)

R Rationale - Clause 6.3.6

Home Fire Alarm Devices (HFAD) provide occupants with early warning of fire and enable occupants to extinguish the fire before it escalates. At the same times, enable occupants to evacuate safely. 

! Note to QPs on Clause 6.3.6

There is no need for building owners to engage a QP for submitting plans to the SCDF solely for the voluntary installation of HFAD. However, if QPs are submitting plans to the SCDF or other government agencies for other fire safety works carried out for residential homes, then QPs shall indicate the locations of the fire alarm device(s) on the submitted plans.

For individual residential units under PG I or II, HFAD shall be installed in accordance with all of the following requirements:

a. HFAD shall possess the following features and comply with all the requirements stated below:

(1) operate on smoke detection technology alone, or have a multi-sensor detector (a detector with multiple sensors built into the device) with smoke detection capability;

(2) indicator lights to inform users on the status/condition of the device(s);

(3) temporary silence/reset feature to address false alarms;

(4) alarm sounder with sound level compliant with any standard listed in item (7);

(5) test button to allow the device(s) to be tested/checked periodically;

(6) to be powered by long-life built-in battery (i.e. battery that lasts at least 10 years) with low battery alert capability, or to be wired to household electrical supply;

(7) detector design to comply with any of the following standards (EN 14604, AS 3786, UL 217);

(8) where two or more HFADs are installed, all devices shall be interconnected (either wired or wirelessly) such that when one of the HFADs is triggered, all connected HFADs shall sound an alarm simultaneously (see Diagram 6.3.6a.(8)); and

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(9) the HFAD shall be either:

(a) listed by any accredited certification body accepted by the SCDF, or

(b) listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), or

(c) listed under the ActivFire Scheme, or

! Note to QPs on Clause 6.3.6a.(9)(c)

For HFAD listed under ActiveFive Scheme, visit website https://www.activfire.gov.au/outline.asp

(d) CE marked with certification from approved 3rd party Notified Bodies, or

(e) listed under BSI Product Directory.

! Note to QPs on Clause 6.3.6a.(9)(e)

For HFAD listed under BSI Product Directory, visit website https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/Product-Directory/

b. Additional independent functions to enhance the operation of the HFAD may be included as optional features (Such as connection to smart home systems, remote controls, visual alarms, vibrating pads, etc.) of the HFAD, given that the requirements indicated in Cl.6.3.6a. are met.

c. Table 6.3.6 states the minimum number of HFAD required for different home types, as well as the locations in which the detectors shall be installed.

TABLE 6.3.6 MINIMUM NUMBER OF HFAD TO BE INSTALLED FOR DIFFERENT HOME TYPES
Home type Number and location of detectors (Also refer to Diagram 6.3.6 c. - 1 & 2)
Single storey homes:

(1) HDB flats

(2) Apartments/Condominium

(3) Single storey landed dwellings

(1) Minimum 1 smoke detector

(2) Installed along circulation area / escape route, e.g. living room, corridor

(3) Optional: Additional detectors can be installed in other spaces for enhanced protection.

Multi-storey homes:

(1) Landed/Non-landed dwellings

(2) HDB flats

(3) Apartments/ Condominiums

(1) Minimum 1 smoke detector per storey

(2) For storeys with circulation area > 70m2, at least 2 smoke detectors need to be installed on that storey.

(3) Installed along circulation area / escape route e.g. living room, corridor, and/or staircase landing

(4) Optional: Additional detectors can be installed in other spaces for enhanced protection.

6.3.7 Alarm system for cinema

A theatre or cinema shall be provided with an electrical fire alarm system of the manual type complying with all of the following:

a. The manual alarm system shall be installed in the lobbies and other areas adjoining the hall and shall be connected to the SCDF Operations Centre through an approved alarm monitoring company.

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b. Visual indicators and audible sounders shall be installed in the projection room and in another room where a designated staff member can alert the audience in case of a fire.

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c. The provision of the fire protection system in cinema which forms part of a building shall be similar to that of the building.

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6.3.8 Connection to the SCDF Operations Centre

The electrical fire alarm system required to be installed in a building or premises under this clause shall be connected to the SCDF Operations Centre through an approved alarm monitoring company when the building or premises is:

a. a health care occupancy, hotel or other similar occupancies, or

b. an oil refinery, oil depot, general warehouse, chemical plant or other high hazard factory or premises, or

c. a theatre, cinema or concert hall as specified in Cl.6.3.7, or

d. a building required under the provisions of this Code to be protected by an automatic fire alarm (except those exempted under Cl.6.3.1b.) or fire extinguishing system.

6.3.9 Sprinkler-protected building

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Where sprinkler system is required by this Code, provision of automatic thermal/ smoke detectors in sprinkler-protected premises will be exempted except where such detectors are required to activate or operate the sprinkler or other systems.

6.3.10 Exemption of automatic fire alarm protection

The following areas are exempted from automatic fire alarm protection in an automatic fire alarm building:

a. areas which are covered with trellises, louvres or perforated panels having 50% or more evenly distributed effective free openings; and 

b. external open-sided linkways not exceeding 5m in width measured from eave to eave, provided these areas are not for commercial activities or storage.

6.3.11 Video Image Fire Detection System (VIFDS)

R Rationale - Clause 6.3.11

This new clause allows VIFDS to be used to complement conventional smoke, heat and flame detectors in an electrical fire alarm system. It is best installed in premises with large open space and high roofs such as production areas, halls, warehouses etc.. VIFDS can cover gaps where smoke detectors are unable to detect particles due to high air flow and can help reduce false alarm. It is compulsory to install VIFDS in unmanned buildings as there are no security or operation personnel to check and confirm whether there is an actual fire when the fire alarm system is activated after office/operating hours.

a. VIFDS shall be installed in addition to the electrical fire alarm system for buildings which meet all of the following conditions:

(1) It is an unmanned buildings belonging to PG III to VIII.

(2) It has an internal open space of more than 2000m2 or a ceiling height of more than 12m.

(3) It requires the provision of automatic fire alarm system in accordance with Table 6.3A.

b. VIFDS shall comply with SS CP 10 and can be used to complement smoke, heat and flame detectors in an electrical fire alarm system.

c. It shall be connected to the SCDF Operations Centre through an approved alarm monitoring company. Alarm signals and live video images of fire and/or smoke captured shall be transmitted to the approved alarm monitoring company upon activation of the building fire alarm system.