Audio consultant Roland Hemming writes:
A year ago, RH Consulting issued a paper on EN54 and kit systems. The document explained that it was permissible to install voice alarm systems using equipment that has not been tested to EN54-16. At the time there was a great deal of grumbling about what was said – particularly from manufacturers who have pushed the use of EN54 tested equipment as the only way forward. Some labelled it a 'cowboy's charter'.
At the time of release, we asked for people to point out where we are wrong. We have tried hard ourselves. We even took a trip to Brussels to meet the standards bodies. Their response was to say it is their job to make standards, not to comment on their interpretation.
We have struggled to find anyone offering guidance on the matter. We contacted BSI, the UK Government and a number of relevant trade associations to check whether kits were permissible. None were able to offer any guidance on the matter.
Despite repeated requests, no one has pointed out that the kit approach is wrong or illegal. Over the past year many kit systems have been installed all over Europe.
This opens up a bigger issue. Standards were written. Companies spent huge sums on compliance. Has EN54 type testing actually made buildings any safer? Who advises on compliance?