As a commercial premises business owner or occupier, one of your top priorities is to protect your assets, including your employees, inventory, and property, from the risk of fire.
Commercial fire alarm systems are one of the most effective tools for detecting fire, heat and smoke in your workplace. However, the cost of installing and maintaining a fire alarm system can vary greatly depending on several factors.
In this article, we will outline the different types of commercial fire alarm systems, the factors that affect their cost, and how to navigate these costs to ensure that your business is protected without breaking the bank.
Introduction to commercial fire alarm systems
Commercial fire detection systems are often the most critical part of a business’s safety plan.
These systems are designed to detect smoke, heat, or flames and alert the occupants of the building of a potential fire. They can also alert the fire and rescue service, giving them time to respond quickly and effectively.
There are several types of fire alarm systems used in commercial premises, including conventional, addressable, wireless, and aspirating smoke detection systems.
These systems vary in the technology used, the features they offer and their cost. In combination with your fire risk and your building configuration; these factors may seem daunting, but the place to start is always a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA). An FRA is a legal requirement for businesses of more than 5 people. It will document your fire risks and make recommendations for fire safety equipment and systems, including the type of Fire Alarm needed, to meet the regulations.
Factors that affect the cost of commercial fire alarm systems
As previously mentioned the cost of a commercial fire alarm system can vary depending on several factors, including the size of your premises, the type of fire risks present, the type of system you choose, the level of complexity of the system, and the location of the building can all impact the installation and maintenance costs.
The size of your business.
Not only the size but the layout of your premises is a crucial factor in determining the cost of a fire alarm system.
The larger the building, the more detectors and sensors may be needed, which can increase the cost of the system.
The type of system you choose.
The type of system you choose can also impact the cost. For example, wireless systems may be more expensive than conventional systems due to the technology and equipment required.
The level of complexity of the system can also impact the cost. For example, an addressable system that can pinpoint the exact location of a fire may be more expensive than a conventional system that only indicates the general area of the fire.
The location of the building
The location of the building can also impact the installation cost, as some areas may require additional permits or equipment to meet local fire regulations.
Types of commercial fire alarm systems and their costs
Several types of commercial fire alarm systems are available, each with its own features and costs.
Conventional fire alarm systems
Conventional fire alarm systems are the most basic type of commercial fire alarm system. They use a series of detectors and sensors that are wired together and connected to a control panel. They can identify an area (zone) where the activation has occurred but not its precise location.
These systems are relatively inexpensive for small to medium-sized businesses.
Addressable fire alarm systems
Addressable fire alarm systems are more advanced than conventional systems.
They have the ability to pinpoint the exact location of a fire and can provide detailed information about the fire’s size and severity.
These systems can be more expensive than conventional systems for medium sized businesses.
Wireless fire alarm systems
Wireless fire alarm systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their ease of installation and flexibility.
These systems use wireless technology to transmit signals between detectors and the control panel, eliminating the need for extensive wiring and are generally a bit more expensive than conventional systems. However the savings on installation costs and business downtime during the installation, are valuable benefits that outweigh the initial costs.
Aspirating smoke detection systems
Aspirating smoke detection systems are the most advanced type of fire alarm system. They use a series of pipes and detectors to actively sample the air for smoke particles.
These systems are ideal for businesses with sensitive equipment or materials that could be damaged by smoke or water. They have an important role in businesses that have a sudden and rapid-fire risk.
The cost of an aspirating smoke detection system can be significant, your Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) will make it clear whether this is required for the type of work undertaken or equipment employed in your business.
Choosing the correct fire alarm system for your business needs
Choosing the most appropriate fire alarm system for your business is where you can benefit most from working with a professional fire safety company. Here are some general tips and please remember that there is no substitute for tailored, professional advice.
Small to medium-sized business
If you have a small to medium-sized business with low fire risks, a conventional fire alarm system may be sufficient.
These systems are relatively inexpensive and can provide adequate protection for most businesses.
An addressable or aspirating smoke detection system may be more appropriate if you have a larger business or have a risk of sudden and rapid fire risk. Your business doesn’t have to be operating in a high risk industry such as chemical manufacture to require sensitive detectors, detailed fire location information and a very rapid response. Your Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) will make clear your needs in terms of alarm systems. These types of system may also be a requirement of your insurance cover.
These systems can provide more detailed information about the fire and can help prevent false alarms, saving your business time and money.
Understanding the cost of installing a commercial fire alarm system
The cost of installing a commercial fire alarm system can vary greatly depending on the many factors that we have discussed above. In the same way that no two businesses are alike, alarm systems vary to take account of the fire risks present.
In general terms the cost of installing a conventional fire alarm system can be cheaper for a small to medium-sized business and can be adequate for its fire safety needs.
However, installing an addressable or wireless fire alarm system can be more pricey for a medium-sized business.
Installing an aspirating smoke detection system can, again, get more expensive for a medium-sized businesses.
Remote monitoring is an additional service that many businesses choose to add to their alarm system. This sends automatic alerts to the Fire and Rescue Service in the event of a fire, smoke or heat being detected. It is considered an essential additional feature of a fire alarm system by some businesses and insurers.
How to find reputable fire alarm installers
Finding a reputable fire alarm installer is crucial to ensuring your system is installed correctly and meets local and national fire regulations.
Here are a few crucial tips to help you find a reliable installer:
- Ask for previous references from their past clients and check online reviews to get an idea of the installer’s reputation.
- Ensure the installer is well-versed with your type of premises, requirements, and fire regulations.
- Get multiple quotes from different installers to compare costs and services.
Tips for reducing the cost of a commercial fire alarm system
While commercial fire alarm systems are essential for protecting your business, they can be costly.
Here are a few points to help you reduce the cost of installing and maintaining a fire alarm system:
- Choose a system with the right features: It is important to select a fire alarm system with the features you need, without paying for unnecessary bells and whistles. For example, if you have a small facility with relatively low fire risk, a basic system may be all you need.
- Choose a reputable contractor: When choosing a contractor to install your fire alarm system, make sure to select a reputable company with a track record of success.
- Request quotes from several different contractors to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money.
- Ensure proper maintenance: Regular maintenance of your fire alarm system can help prevent costly repairs and extend the life of the system. Be sure to follow manufacturer recommendations for maintenance and inspection schedules.
Maintenance costs of commercial fire alarm systems
Maintenance is essential to ensuring that your fire alarm is working as it should and is ready to activate in an emergency situation. The cost of this should be factored in when considering a commercial fire alarm system.
Regular maintenance and inspections are a legal requirement designed to ensure that your system is functioning correctly and is up to date with national fire safety regulations.
The maintenance cost can vary depending on the type of system you have and the frequency of service it requires in your particular business environment. As a rule of thumb a fire alarm system should be serviced twice every year. Frequency of servicing might also be specified in your insurance contract.
The cost of installing and maintaining a fire alarm system can vary greatly depending on several factors. It is essential that you act upon the recommendations in your Fire Risk assessment regarding alarm systems, extinguishers, emergency exits and lighting and fire suppression systems. Get help from a professional fire safety company who will advise you on how to implement the recommendations of your FRA.
By understanding the different types of fire alarm systems, the factors that impact their cost, and how to find reputable installers, you can navigate the costs of a commercial fire alarm system and get the right system for your business.
Contact us for a free survey and quote and let us help you navigate your essential fire safety needs.