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BS5839-1 Cable


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Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings according to British Standard BS5839-1

British Standard BS5839-1 is a comprehensive standard for a code of practice for fire detection and fire alarm systems in non-domestic buildings. This Standard takes into consideration various building designs and the requirements associated with the design, installation and maintenance of the systems for these premises. These range from single manual call points to complex networked systems with numerous automatic fire detection and communicating control panels. The Standard covers the operation of fire protection systems such as smoke control, emergency lighting, automatic door release, voice alarm systems, fire extinguishing systems, and any associated safety measures such as elevator grounding, valve closing, or air handling shutdowns.

BS5839-1 cable design - standard / enhanced

All cables are designed to ensure that the interconnections between fire alarm systems operate correctly for an appropriate length of time in the event of an evacuation. However the Standard refers to ‘Standard’ and to ‘Enhanced’ grade cables, which is determined according to the level of fire resistance that the cables offer. The ‘Enhanced’ grade  are designed for use where the fire detection and fire alarm systems need to support evacuation for a greater duration than that offered by the general use ‘Standard’ grade cables during a fire situation.

In addition to complying with the specification set out in BS5839-1, when tested in accordance with EN 50200, Standard fire resisting cables must achieve a class of at least PH30. They must also maintain circuit integrity for at least 30 minutes when exposed to a sequence of flame, mechanical shock and water spray. The requirement for Enhanced fire resisting cables is 120 minutes.

Enhanced fire resistant cables are also recommended for the following applications:

in unsprinklered buildings (or areas) in which the fire strategy involves evacuation of occupants in four or more phases
In unsprinklered buildings of greater than 30m in height
In unsprinklered premises and sites in which a fire in one area could affect cables of critical signal path associated with areas remote from fire, in which it is envisaged people will remain in occupation during the course of the fire
In any setting where, on the basis of a fire risk assessment, the designer, specifier or regulatory authority considers that use of Enhanced fire resisting cables is required.

The different parts of this Standard cover the variations in practice for domestic and non-domestic usage as well as other applications and should be referred to directly when commissioning and designing any project.

Other Standards referred to within BS5839-1

This Standard makes references to a number of other relevant standards in relation to electrical cables including BS7629 and BS7846 for armoured fire-resistant cables with thermosetting insulation and low emission of smoke and corrosive gases when affected by fire. Cables are tested to BS EN 60754 (Acid Gas) and BS EN 61034 (Smoke Emission).
BS5839-1 cable supplier

Alarm products, systems & cables covered within BS5839-1

The list of products, other than cables, covered under this standard include:

Control and indicating equipment including voice alarm and power supplies
Wireless, flame, beam, aspirating, smoke, heat and multi-sensor detectors
Manual call points
Line units including input and output devices
Alarm warning devices including visual alarms, loudspeakers and sounders
Alarm transmission equipment
Signalling systems

We supply a comprehensive range of fire performance cables (also known as fire survival cables) manufactured to meet the requirements of fire performance cables as determined by BS5839-1, including BASEC- and LPCB-approved Firetec® cables. Please contact our technical engineers for advice on system design and cable selection.
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About Eland Cables

About Eland Cables

Established in 1975, Eland Cables is a supplier of power, data, instrumentation and control cables and cable accessories to the world's most demanding industries and to some of its most prestigious projects. Our reputation is built on an unswerving focus on quality, technical expertise and customer service.


Our focus on quality has resulted in our in-house specialist cable testing facility securing the ISO 17025 accreditation. This certifies the competence, impartiality and performance capability of our laboratory and its evaluations. In turn, it means peace of mind for our customers with regard to the quality of the cables they source from us.

Expert tecHnical support

Our highly-qualified technical team is on hand to provide technical support with all aspects of cable selection, technical specification, regulatory requirements, and bespoke cable design and manufacture.

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We are a key contributor to projects in over 100 countries every year, adding value through comprehensive technical support, reliable logistics, innovative solutions, and a customer-centric approach.


The Cable Lab®

UKAS-accredited specialist cable testing laboratory

About Eland Cables

The Cable Lab® our in-house cable testing facility, is UKAS-accredited to ISO 17025, which is the single most important standard for calibration and testing laboratories around the world. Accreditation to this international standard demonstrates our laboratory's technical competence and the accuracy of its results.

For our customers, it means peace of mind. They can have full confidence in the quality of our products and can demonstrate due diligence in selecting their cable supplier.

Our customers can also rely on the Cable Lab's services for an independent, objective and comprehensive quality assessment of cables procured from third parties.