Fire Alarm Specification and Design

Here to help

Whether you need to implement a fire alarm system into a single building, or across multiple sites, our expert fire alarm system design team can specify and create high-quality fire alarm solutions tailored to meet your fire risk requirements. We evaluate your circumstances, understand your budget and configure a personalised solution that meets every specific need, using the outcome of your fire risk assessment and the need to comply with BS5389 as the basis for the system design.

Developments in fire alarm systems

There are many different types of fire detection and alarm systems, ranging from the most basic, manually operated, stand-alone devices, right through to intelligent networked control equipment.

Until recently, occupants have been alerted via a bell or electronic sounder. However to improve response to alarm by all occupants, different annunciation methods are now being employed including voice messages, vibrating pads, high output visual alarms, and text messages. As fire alarm systems become more sophisticated, it’s now possible for us to tailor innovative, tech-driven solutions more specifically to occupants needs, and develop a fire alarm system that works for you.

BS5839 Fire Alarm Classifications

It is a legal requirement that your fire alarm system is fit for purpose. However, before a fire alarm system can be designed, you need to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment which will determine what the system needs to do in order to be compliant. BS5839 divides fire alarm systems into three separate categories: Category P, Category L and Category M.

This category of fire alarms is designed purely for the protection of property, and falls into two classifications, P1 (which protects the whole building) and P2 (which is installed in defined parts of the building only). Category P1 fire alarm systems are designed to deliver the earliest possible warning of a fire, in order to minimise the time taken from ignition, to detection, and subsequently, the arrival of the fire services – while minimising loss to the property.

This fire alarm category is designed to protect life. It focuses on escape routes and areas of the building which possess a high fire risk. Therefore, all Category L installations should have a number of alarm devices, such as sounders, beacons, bells and voice alarms, positioned throughout the building – regardless of the requirement for detection devices.

Category M is a manual operation only system, which has ‘call points’ installed throughout a site. It is not often used for entire premises, though is well suited to specific situations such as workshops or factories where automatic detection would not be reliable due to the nature of the work being done. All Category M installations need to have alarm devices – sounders, beacons, bells, voice alarms – positioned throughout the site, and may be appropriate for specialist areas alongside other fire alarm categories.

Why choose Drax 360 for fire alarm specification and design?

Our specification and design team are dedicated to developing fire safety solutions to meet even the most complex requirements, across multiple sites.

Specialists in multi-site

Whether you wish to implement a fire alarm system in one building, or across multiple sites, we have the expertise and ability necessary to develop the solution you need.

Consultative approach

Having worked with customers across a range of industries for 25 years, we can draw upon our experience in environments similar to yours to ensure that the right decisions are made.

Cost effective

We match designs to your specific requirements, so no more fire detection devices are installed than is needed, helping you stick to budget.

But don’t just take our word for it...

We have worked with a variety of businesses in a number of sectors including healthcare, education, retail, government, and manufacturing across the UK; helping them manage fire safety, and giving them greater transparency over their fire alarm systems across all sites.

What our clients are saying about us

We have a long and successful history of working with Drax and so felt confident in proposing their software as a solution to our client Oxford University’s complex needs, with the best opportunities for scalability and value as their site portfolio grows.

Paul Slater, Project Manager

Pyrotec Fire & Security

Drax helped us design and install a temporary fire alarm solution for a large, partly inhabited, residential renovation project. The outcome saved over £5k per week, as we no longer required waking watch, but more importantly, improved our residents safety. The installation was so successful, we decided to integrate it into the final construction. Thank you Drax!

Lyn Ware, Interim Project Manager

Silva Homes

Drax offer a great piece of technology which tells you the exact location/flat number of the fire activation, meaning a reduction in false alarm calls to the fire and rescue services. They were a pleasure to work with when integrating this solution into our monitoring centres

Lisa McIntyre, Integration Manager


Knowing what level of fire safety your buildings need to be compliant with is tricky. That’s why we work with you to develop a fire alarm system tailored to your requirements and recommendations as detailed in your fire risk assessment.

View our design services

Once your system is designed, we develop your individual solution using market-leading products. Our specialist fire alarm services engineers then install your new equipment carefully – with little disruption to your day to day activities. Your dedicated fire alarm services account manager is also on hand to answer any queries, and keep the installation running smoothly.

View our supply and installation services

Now you’ve invested in fire protection and prevention, it’s your legal responsibility to ensure your fire alarms are regularly serviced by specialists. At Drax 360, our fire alarm services make this task easier. Our specialist engineers aim to replace parts and fix faults on their first visit. Your systems are serviced and certified, with all details stored centrally to access at any time – giving you peace of mind that your buildings are compliant, always.

View our maintenance and servicing offering

Regular fire alarm testing is an integral part of fire safety and compliance, and you need complete assurance that when needed, your systems will work. With Drax 360’s state of the art technology, testing is no longer a hassle. Check the status of critical equipment in real-time, and view concise reports in one central location. As part of our fire alarm services, we can also advise on BS5839 recommended weekly testing – so you can be sure your systems are always up to speed.

View our testing services

Professional evaluation is needed throughout the lifecycle of your equipment to determine age, condition, and suitability. Using diagnostic software, we generate detailed reports that will inform decisions regarding end of life replacement or enhancement. We help you decide where your budget is best spent, to keep your systems both cost-effective and compliant.

View our verification and end of life services