New standard for fire detection and fire alarm systems is even more complete and clear

Last updated:
21/9/2023
Fire safety

In August 2022, the new standard NBN S 21-100-1:2021Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 1: Rules for risk analysis and needs assessment, study and design, installation, commissioning, control, use, inspection and maintenance was published. The new standard is a thorough improvement of the original NBN S 21-100-1 from six years ago. This version is more up-to-date, even more complete, and clearer. Why is it worth buying? The standard is now more results-oriented, linear heat detection has been added, and it includes a better approach tocabling with function retention. It also includes five notification options to suit your needs, and the "good condition and working order" approach has finally been removed.

Results-oriented approach

The new NBN S 21-100-1:2021 standard makes it possible to work in a results-oriented manner. This means that fire detection can be perfectly aligned with objectives and risks. High-risk situations sometimes require a modified solution, and in these cases, it’s best to develop a custom solution with the various parties involved. This version of the standard provides a framework for this kind of consultation and for final approval by all parties. This framework consists of two elements: formulating the objectives (e.g. protection of people or goods) and analysing the fire risks. Documenting the custom solution (e.g. exceptional cases) is also required.

Installation requirements for linear heat detection

The standard was expanded to include installation requirements for linear heat detection. Following the addition of wireless fire detection in the 2018 addendum, installation requirements for linear thermal detectors have now been added. This new version offers a complete list of explicitly described detection techniques.

Better approach to cabling with function retention

The new standard, which has an annex with example diagrams, allows a much more cost-effective and realistic approach to cabling with function retention. At the same time, it is fully compliant with the new ‘General Regulations on Electrical Installations (AREI)(Book 1)’. This ensures greater clarity and a more uniform application of the regulations.

Notification tailored to your needs

While some organisations are satisfied with notifications via an intrusion system and voice or text messages, other organisations want to work with a security company. The previous standard allowed only one solution, while this version offers five possible solutions. Based on the results of an internal risk analysis and needs assessment, you can now make an informed choice.

No more 'good condition and working order'

The new version offers various new and improved solutions for fire detection and fire alarm systems that comply with NBN S 21-100-1 and that are adapted to your organisation’s needs and risks. From now on, there should be no justification for fire detection systems based on a ‘good condition and working order’ approach, which in the past allowed rules on the safety of people and property to be circumvented. Legally, ‘good condition and working order’ is an empty concept if it is not based on a recognised rule of practice such as an NBN standard.

Future versions 

The next version, to be published within three years, will include the usual improvements and clarifications, and it also foresees additions related to smoke and flame detection with video cameras as well as simplified administrative requirements for small installations.

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