UPS Solutions Support Fire Safety

Power Control
17 May 2023

In recent years the UK has seen a nationwide review of fire safety regulations, which has included EN 50171. This regulation sets out the standards for a central power supply systems (CPSS) used to support life safety systems such as emergency lighting, smoke extraction, fire suppression systems, louvres and emergency lifts.  This standard outlines  the requirements for the CPSS design, installation, commissioning, operation, and maintenance. Building inspections highlighted many issues, one of the most common being the lack of fire suppression solutions.


Fire suppression systems are required by law in certain types of commercial and residential buildings in the UK. The Building Regulations set out minimum requirements for fire safety measures in buildings, including the installation of fire suppression systems where necessary to ensure the safety of occupants.


The exact requirements for fire suppression systems depend on several factors, such as the type of building, its size, and its intended use. For example, buildings that are used for sleeping accommodations or as care homes are required to have automatic fire suppression systems installed in accordance with the relevant British Standards.


In addition to the Building Regulations, local authorities may have their own requirements for fire suppression systems in buildings, and failure to comply with these requirements can result in fines and legal action. Building owners and facility managers should be aware of all relevant regulations and requirements related to fire suppression systems in order to ensure compliance and maintain the safety of occupants.


Furthermore, where a fire suppression system is installed (or any life safety equipment) a secondary power supply is required, such as a CPSS. To comply with EN 50171 regulation, the CPSS must be designed and installed by qualified professionals who are familiar with the latest technology and standards. The system must undergo rigorous testing and maintenance to ensure that it is always ready to provide backup power when needed.


A central power supply system must also:


  1. Have a capacity sufficient to supply all connected emergency lighting luminaires for at least three hours (longer if necessary) and must be capable of supporting an overload of 120% as a minimum for a short period of time.


  1. Have a short battery recharge time (typically 80% in less than 12 hours, as per BS 5266-1


  1. Be equipped with automatic monitoring and testing facilities to ensure that the system is in good working order and that faults are detected and reported.


  1. Be designed and installed in such a way as to minimise the risk of failure due to external influences such as moisture, dust, or mechanical damage.


  1. Include suitable protection to prevent polarity reversal where reversed battery connections can be done without any damage or impact.


  1. Be installed and commissioned by competent personnel who are familiar with the relevant standards and regulations.


  1. Be subject to regular maintenance and testing to ensure that it continues to meet the required standards.


CPSS, or central battery systems (CBS) by which they have also been known, are available as either static or modular units. Both systems include batteries, a battery charger, control circuitry, alarms and instruments and are designed to support the same applications, life safety systems. How to choose the most suitable topology depends on the existing infrastructure, budget and the likelihood of future expansion.


Static CPSS are a cheaper alternative for those not expecting a significant infrastructure growth in the near future. Modular CPB architecture are more suitable for those who require additional flexibility. They are ideal for facilities that are expecting future expansion. Modular CPSS also provides the flexibility to have N+X redundancy within the cabinet whereas to achieve the same redundancy in the static alternative, more than one unit is required.


Power Control has partnered with leading UPS and CPSS manufacturers, Borri Spa and Legrand to provide a comprehensive CPSS product portfolio that includes both static and modular architecture. From supply and installation to commissioning and maintenance, Power Control offers a complete service for consultants, contractors and end users.