Call our team for a personal consultation regarding your businesses fire and security needs on 01733 246 990

5-Star Fire Systems

Fire Alarm Categories and Grades UK

Call our team for personal guidance on Commercial Fire Alarm Systems and Solutions on 01733 246 990.

BAFE Accredited for fire alarm system design, installation, commissioning, handover and maintenance.

Fire Alarm System Grades

By law, your fire alarm system at your commercial premises must be ‘fit for purpose.’ By ensuring your fire alarm system falls into the appropriate category, you can ensure you are complying to industry standards and protecting your people and commercial premises.


In the BS 5839 code, there are eight separate categories. Each category falls under the three main types of system: manual (M), life protection (L) and property protection (P). The fire alarm system and category your business needs is based on the following factors:


  • The contents within your business 
  • the nature of your business 
  • Evaluating the level of risk
  • the type of your commercial premises 


The best to establish what fire alarm system is appropriate for your business is through a fire risk assessment (FRA). Here at Britannia Fire and Security, we use independent and experienced fire safety experts. This is to ensure that there are no conflicting interests and you get a truthful evaluation. You can then come to our expert team if you are looking for the best equipment and installation team for your required fire alarm system.

Fire Alarm Categories

Fire alarm system categories


The eight categories of fire alarm systems include:


•Category M – Manual fire alarm system

•Category L1 – Maximum life protection automated fire alarm system

•Category L2 – Additional life protection automated fire alarm system

•Category L3 – Standard life protection automated fire alarm system

•Category L4 – Modest life protection automated fire alarm system

•Category L5 – Localised life protection automated fire alarm system

•Category P1 – Maximum property protection automated fire alarm system

•Category P2 – Minimum property protection automated fire alarm system

Category M – Manual Fire Alarm Systems


Manual systems rely on the building’s occupants to detect and provide a warning to others. The definition of manual is because there is no automatic trigger and fire alarms have to be manually activated. The most common application is a series of break glass call point units.



Category L – Automatic Fire Alarm Systems For The Protection of Life


Within the L category are five subcategories based on their effectiveness. L category fire alarm systems are categories as the most suitable for protecting life in premises and are specifically designed for this purpose. These systems are automatic and more advance than the previous category Manual (M) systems.



Category L1 Fire Alarm Systems – Maximum Life Protection


This is the fire alarm system with maximum coverage and is installed throughout all areas of the building. Automatic detection and manual call points are linked to a centralised alarm system which alerts the whole building if a fire starts. This is crucial as it offers the earliest possible warning of fire, so as to achieve the longest possible available time for escape, ensuring the safety of people inside. Because of the features of an L1 system, there are ideal for large premises and premise where early detection is crucial to increase the chances of escape and protect life.



Category L2 Fire Alarm Systems


L2 fire alarm systems include smoke detectors in all rooms and corridors that form parts of an escape route. Detectors also need to be included in rooms that are deemed high risks such as boiler rooms and plant rooms. L2 fire alarms are incredibly effective at warning people of fire before escape routes are impassable owing to the presence of fire, smoke or toxic gases.



Category L3 Fire Alarm Systems – Standard Life Protection


L3 standard life protection systems include detectors in all escape routes and also rooms that open onto escape routes. The primary objective of these systems is to give individuals in the building enough of an early warning to escape the premises before their exit is hindered by flames, smoke or toxic fumes.


L3 fire alarm systems are typically installed into commercial buildings such as office blocks.



Category L4 Fire Alarm Systems – Modest Life Protection


L4 Category fire alarm systems include detectors on escape routes only, comprising circulation areas and spaces such as corridors and stairways



Category L5 Fire Alarm Systems – Localised Life Protection


L5 fire alarm systems are typically used to tackle specific fire risks in a single location of the building. In some cases, a level 4 system may be appropriate with L5 system being installed in a high-risk area of the premises to recognise the increased risk.



Category P – Automatic fire alarm systems for the protection of property


Category P fire alarm systems are designed to protect property. These types of fire alarm systems need to have a remote link to an external monitoring station. The objective of category P fire alarm systems is to provide the earliest warning of a fire and minimise the time taken from ignition of a fire to detection and the subsequent attendance by the fire services, minimising loss to the property.



Category P1


Category P1 fire alarm systems are installed into premises where the building is crucial to the day to day operation of the business. Fire detectors are installed into all areas the property has maximum protection and any fire breakouts as detected as early as possible, reducing the risk of fire damage and subsequently reducing the financial impacts.



Category P2


With less coverage category, P2 systems are installed into high-risk areas of a premises only. The purpose of P2 fire alarm system is to provide early detection to high-risk areas which are the most likely sources of fires.

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Why Choose Britannia?

Established in 1998 Britannia Fire & Security has a reputation for quality and expertise. We provide a comprehensive range of fire alarms, CCTV and security services to offices, schools and commercial businesses across Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and throughout the UK. We hold ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 accreditation’s.

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Tailor Made Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

From complex integrated packages to simple fire detection systems, we can tailor make a solution to suit your requirements.


Britannia are part of the Gent 24 Network of Approved System Integrators operating across Peterborough, East Anglia and the UK installing a wide range of Gent fire products. For more information on the range of products manufactured by Gent and supplied by Britannia Fire & Security click here.


With more than 30 experienced engineers across Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and the UK we are able to provide nationwide coverage for fire alarm installation and maintenance.


Whatever the size of your office or commercial premises, Britannia Fire & Security can give you the expert advice and guidance needed to design the most effective fire alarm system for your premises.

    "Britannia Fire & Security are a very approachable and knowledgeable company, proactive in giving quotations within timescales given, very professional on site and backed up with great office support."

    - CeeTech

    "We really enjoy working with Britannia, we find them to be extremely helpful throughout the process from tendering, design, installation and right through to completion. They have been extremely supportive and most importantly in a professional and timely manner."

    - Wady’s

    "Britannia have a vast and incredibly competent knowledge base, that has helped with many challenging issues with complex systems. Planned installation work has always been completed to a high standard and high level of professionalism, with the added reassurance of supportive after sales care."

    - City of London

    "Having utilised Britannia for many years as part of our MEP supply chain, would highly recommend their services. Professional and knowledgeable team members complimented by an experienced and skilful engineering team they have assisted us in delivering some high quality projects."

    - Playfords

    "Concept-MEP carry out a large number of projects in conjunction with Britannia Fire & Security both in the UK & overseas. This has been a long-standing relationship due to the high quality of service and workmanship that they provide"

    - Concept-MEP

    "More than happy to assist"

    - Algeco

    "I have used Britannia Fire & Security over the past 15 years at various company’s I have worked for. They offer a very professional service in all aspects of Fire and Security, and everyone in the business is aways willing to assist. I wouldn’t have an issue in recommending Britannia."

    - Ken Bird

    The Britannia Promise

    Unrivalled Customer Service

    Our service and maintenance capabilities and technical back up are second to none, ensuring that our customers have peace of mind using the best quality security system on the market.

    Complete Security Solutions

    From complex integrated intruder alarm packages to simple fire alarm detection systems, we can tailor any solution to suit your requirements. We provide the best class systems for your business.

    Experienced Engineers

    With more than 30 experienced engineers at Britannia Fire & Security we are able to provide nationwide coverage for clients in all areas of fire alarms, CCTV and security systems.