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NBN S 21-100-1:2021 - The latest edition of the fire detection and alarm systems standard


NBN S 21-100-1:2021 - A New Standard for Fire Detection and Alarm Systems




Fire detection and alarm systems are essential for the protection of life and property from fire hazards. They can alert people to evacuate, activate fire suppression systems, notify emergency services, and reduce fire spread and damage. However, to be effective, these systems need to be designed, installed, and maintained according to high-quality standards that ensure their reliability, performance, and compatibility.




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That is why NBN, the Belgian Bureau for Standardization, has developed a new standard for fire detection and alarm systems, called NBN S 21-100-1:2021. This standard provides comprehensive rules and guidelines for risk analysis, assessment of the needs, study, design, installation, commissioning, control, use, inspection, and maintenance of fire detection and alarm systems in Belgium.


In this article, we will explain what NBN S 21-100-1:2021 is, why it is important, how to comply with it, and where to find more information and support about it.


What is NBN S 21-100-1:2021 and why is it important?




The history and evolution of the standard




NBN S 21-100-1:2021 is the latest edition of a standard that has been evolving since 1986. The first edition of NBN S 21-100 was published in 1986 and was followed by several addenda over the years. In 2015, NBN published a new edition that split the standard into two parts: NBN S 21-100-1 for installation rules and NBN S 21-100-2 for roles and responsibilities. In 2018, an addendum was added to NBN S 21-100-1 that introduced installation rules for wireless fire detection systems.


In August 2021, NBN published a new edition of NBN S 21-100-1 that replaced the previous editions and addenda. This edition is based on a thorough revision and improvement of the standard by a working group of experts from various sectors involved in fire safety. The working group aimed to make the standard more complete, better, and clearer than before.


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The main features and benefits of the standard




NBN S 21-100-1:2021 covers all aspects of fire detection and alarm systems, from risk analysis to maintenance. It applies to all types of buildings and occupancies in Belgium, except for residential buildings with less than three units. It also applies to both wired and wireless systems.


Some of the main features and benefits of NBN S 21-100-1:2021 are:


  • It allows for a result-oriented approach that adapts the fire detection system to the objectives and risks of each situation.



  • It provides clear definitions and classifications of fire detection zones, fire alarm zones, fire compartments, evacuation zones, etc.



  • It specifies the minimum performance requirements for fire detectors, manual call points, alarm devices, control panels, power supplies, cables, etc.



  • It defines the minimum number and location of fire detectors and alarm devices according to different criteria such as occupancy type, ceiling height, floor area, shape, etc.



  • It gives detailed instructions for the study and the design of the fire detection system, including drawings, calculations, documentation, etc.



  • It establishes the rules and procedures for the installation, commissioning, control, use, inspection, and maintenance of the fire detection system, including testing, verification, certification, etc.



  • It aligns with the latest national and international standards and regulations on fire safety, such as NBN EN 54 series, NBN EN 16763, NBN EN ISO 9001, etc.



By following NBN S 21-100-1:2021, you can ensure that your fire detection and alarm system is fit for purpose, compliant with the law, and able to protect people and property from fire hazards.


How to comply with NBN S 21-100-1:2021?




The steps and requirements for risk analysis and assessment of the needs




The first step to comply with NBN S 21-100-1:2021 is to conduct a risk analysis and an assessment of the needs for your fire detection and alarm system. This step involves identifying the fire hazards, the potential consequences, and the objectives of the system. The objectives can be related to life safety, property protection, business continuity, environmental protection, etc.


The risk analysis and the assessment of the needs should be done by a competent person or organization that has the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience in fire safety. The person or organization should also consult with the relevant stakeholders such as the owner, the occupant, the insurer, the fire service, etc.


The risk analysis and the assessment of the needs should result in a report that defines the scope, the performance criteria, and the design basis of the fire detection and alarm system. The report should also include a justification for any deviation from the standard or any alternative solution proposed.


The guidelines and rules for the study and the design of the system




The next step to comply with NBN S 21-100-1:2021 is to conduct a study and a design of the fire detection and alarm system based on the report from the previous step. This step involves selecting the appropriate components, devices, and technologies for the system according to their specifications and compatibility. It also involves determining the layout, configuration, wiring, and interconnection of the system according to the rules and calculations given by the standard.


The study and the design of the system should be done by a qualified person or organization that has the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience in fire detection and alarm systems. The person or organization should also use adequate tools and methods such as software, simulations, models, etc.


The study and the design of the system should result in a set of documents that describe in detail all aspects of the system, such as drawings, schematics, calculations, specifications, instructions, etc. The documents should also include a validation and verification plan that defines the methods and criteria for testing and certifying the system.


The best practices and recommendations for the installation, commissioning, control, use, inspection and maintenance of the system




The final step to comply with NBN S 21-100-1:2021 is to install, commission, control, use, inspect, and maintain the fire detection and alarm system according to the documents from the previous step. This step involves installing the components and devices of the system in their designated locations and connecting them properly. It also involves commissioning the system by testing its functionality, performance, and compliance with the standard. It also involves controlling and using the system by following the instructions and procedures given by the standard. It also involves inspecting and maintaining the system regularly by checking its condition, operation, and effectiveness.


The installation, commissioning, control, use, inspection, and maintenance of the system should be done by a certified person or organization that has the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience in fire detection and alarm systems. The person or organization should also follow the best practices and recommendations given by the standard.


The installation, commissioning, control, use, inspection, and maintenance of the system should result in a record that documents all activities and actions performed on the system. The record should also include a certificate that attests the conformity of the system with the standard.


Where to find more information and support about NBN S 21-100-1:2021?




The official sources and documents of the standard




If you want to find more information and support about NBN S 21-100-1:2021, you can consult the official sources and documents of the standard. These include:


  • The NBN website ( where you can buy and download the standard in PDF format.



The NBN e-shop ( where you can orde


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