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Why do I have to have a service contract ?
This is such an important question that it deserves a page of it's own. 

Apart from the obvious reasons why fire alarm systems should be serviced (they save lives, false alarms in six months un-serviced etc.), you should take the following legal requirements into consideration :

Fire Safety Order 2005

This legislation replaced over a hundred pieces of fire legislation. In brief, it now makes the building owner personally responsible (the Responsible Person) to have a Fire Risk Assessment undertaken, have all your fire safety measures maintained correctly and ensure that only competent persons are allowed to do this work. For more information, see our page on New Fire Regs.

British Standard 5839, Part 1.

Requirement that fire alarm systems should be covered by a service contract from date of hand over (regardless of whether building is occupied or not)

Fire Precautions Act

It is a requirement of the act that the "responsible person" for a property is required to ensure that any equipment provided for the protection of the means of escape of a building, shall be maintained in working order at all times.

Corporate Manslaughter

The new law on corporate manslaughter means that if it can be proven that in the event of loss of life, the actions or non-actions of a company lead to a death (in this case, failing to ensure the continued operation of fire safety equipment), the directors of that company can now be prosecuted for manslaughter.

Human Rights Act

Another introduction in the UK is the human rights act. It is now possible for a company (or individual) to be prosecuted under the human rights act for failing to ensure the continued safety (i.e. the continued operation of the fire safety equipment) of staff or visitors to your premises.

Insurance

If you have had any dealings with Loss Adjusters working on behalf of Insurance companies, you will be aware that they will seek to find a way of stopping a claim progressing for the full amount if they can. One of the first things they look for in a fire damage claim is alleged negligence on behalf of the claimant. Lack of correct servicing of the fire protection equipment is a classic case. Unless there is documentary evidence (contract, worksheets, log book, etc.) that correct servicing has been carried out, you may find that the Loss Adjuster will hold the insurance pay-out. Not having the system serviced can be seen as negligence in failing to minimise damage caused by a fire (a correctly serviced alarm will raise help faster, reducing overall damage), and can be seen as an attempt at "betterment" in the claim. A void Fire Certificate will also void your premise's insurance policy (see below).

Fire Service Act

Failure to ensure that a fire alarm system is serviced correctly is seen as inaction leading to the issue of false alarms. It should be borne in mind that it is an offence under  section 31 of the Fire Services Act to knowing give or cause to be given a false alarm to the fire brigade.

Fire Certificate

Should the property be the subject of a fire certificate, compliance with BS5839 servicing requirements is mandatory. Failure to comply will result in the certificate becoming void. It should be kept in mind that the brigade has the power to issue a Restriction Order in extreme cases, which forbids, by law, the use of the property.