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  1. Fire extinguisher life length?

    Yes. With stored pressure extinguishers you cannot 100% ensure they will work or are in safe condition just by the annual basic service. The discharge test, strip down and internal examination is the only way of detecting defects affecting safety or efficacy. Stuck gauges on leaky valves, internal corrosion, detached diptubes, etc. Also the extinguishing agent deteriorates with age and requires renewal to maintained efficacy. Before end disposal we often use 5+ year old extinguishers on training courses (where failure to operate is less of an issue and we take more than we need) and it's not as uncommon as you might think where they fail or do not perform as well as designed. The user servicable P50 range (available from Safelincs) does have the benefit of a 10 year interval between tests and you can do the annual check in house.
  2. Stair Lift Removal In Community Blocks?

    Do the premises operate a stay put policy? If so the stair widths are nowhere near as important as where you would be trying to get all occupiers down in one go. Sounds like a lack of ability to correctly risk assess in the way often associated with H&S
  3. You are likely to require Building Control approval depending on a couple of factors - that process will answer your query specific to your house: https://www.labc.co.uk/your-project/homeowners/building-control-internal-alterations#buildingremoving
  4. Stair Lift Removal In Community Blocks?

    Probably coincidence. There has been no change in legislation or risk assessment guidance (other than specific guidance for premises with cladding issues). What has happened is that many housing providers have urgently reviewed their fire safety management and risk assessments and issues that crop up as a result are being addressed. It may be that your evacuation procedure has been changed as a result of your FRA so the full width is required to accommodate the evacuation of all flats as once rather than just the flat of fire origin initially, or that they deem the equipment an unacceptable ignition risk in what should be a fire/ignition sterile area.
  5. BS9999 occupancy calculations

    As Tom says. If the Government Guides lead to an untenable situation then Fire Engineering is sometimes an option as is the correct use of BS9999 (in whole not cherry picking sections) - but the later does't always work out. I used BS9999 to try and design out installing a third stair in a conversion of a mill into offices due to excess travel distances, but the upgrading in floor fire resistance, shafts and provision of fire service rising mains associated with a BS9999 design ended up making the traditional benchmark approach easier and cheaper!
  6. Not necessarily, the legislation is not intended to be unduly burdensome and guidance is provided for responsible persons to conduct their own FRAs. Having said that whoever does the FRA needs to be competent. In simple premises it could be the RP using the guides, where more complex the RP or an employee would need to have suitable training as well as the guides. Where the RP or their employees are not suitably competent then a suitable external contractor should be used, preferably one with third party certification such as BAFE SP205 or Warrington FIRAS. Regardless of whoever does it you will need an FRA for the common parts of the block
  7. Fire door sets in HMOs

    BS8214:2008 has been withdrawn, sadly councils are often poor at keeping up with standards even where responsible for fire safety enforcement and BS8214:2016 is the current edition. A fire door is only as good as it's frame and surrounding construction - the whole doorset must be compliant. Go to the BWF website to find a certified installer of fire doors/doorsets so you will be assured it's OK. We use Ventro for all our fire door work- http://www.ventrogroup.com/
  8. Space underneath stairs

    If it isn't a fire escape route I don't see any reason from a fire point of view
  9. FRA

    A dead end is simply a corridor (or similar) where you can only go in one direction, if you go down the other end you end up against a brick wall. Either it is protected by fire doors and walls to the rooms off it or the whole area is protected by automatic fire detection
  10. BS9999 occupancy calculations

    As Tom says BS9999 cautions against using it in FRAs in the first place (unless the property was designed and built to it) and against cherry picking which is not accepted. If the premises can meet the whole document in terms of it's design, build and management it's OK to use. You have to go by the narrowest point as if you over occupy based on the higher widths elsewhere you will get a potentially fatal pinch point (as was the case in the layout of the Station Nightclub where many of the 100 dead got stuck in a crush)
  11. The 1 hour/3 hour requirements are a bit of a throwback to the early days of emergency lighting when both types of fitting were available (both self contained and central battery) and technology was such that central battery systems were more common as they were the easiest way of getting 3 hours duration, self contained fittings technology was such that 1 hour was what you could easily manufacture using the technology. Therefore most applications in single stage evacuation premises would be 1 hour and the standards only asked for this as it was considered sufficient for the occupancy and risk. Technological advances soon meant that fittings could be produced with 3 hours duration that were the same size and almost same price as the old 1 hour fittings and to avoid duplication in manufacture 1 hour fittings were dropped by the majority of manufacturers several decades ago (you can still get them if you search hard). The standards however have not been updated to reflect the change in technologies available. As such virtually all fittings installed are of 3 hours duration, regardless of the minimum duration required for different Purpose Groups. BS 5266-1: 2016 has the following PPM regime: Functional operation should be checked at least every month. Testing for full rated duration should be performed on each luminaire at least annually. As the full rated duration of emergency lighting fittings is now almost universally 3 hours, as it is so long since 1 hour units were widely available and used, then it is correct to expect full duration tests. The 6 monthly partial duration test was removed in part due to the deleterious effect on NiCad battery cell life as most systems use this technology compared to back in the late 20th century when there were a lot of lead acid battery central systems and other battery technologies and full discharge cycling is recommended for this battery type. (With Lithium Ion batteries as used in phones the opposite is actually the case) The point over loss of service during recharge times is correct, hence on weekday operation premises it's best to schedule tests for Fridays. In premises with wider hours of operation then testing should be either at times of minimal risk (low occupancy, summer, etc) or alternate testing of units should be carried out. Testing a 3 hour system for 1 hour falls outside of BS recommendations and will have a deleterious effect on fittings (eventually the safety factor will be lost as they will eventually last for less and less than 3 hours down to 1 hour) and would not normally be accepted although it can be considered on a case by case basis
  12. Up to risk assessment - some places with similar issues use magnetic locks linked to the fire alarm in addition to the push bars. If the exit is serving less than 60 persons and there is suitable staffing to manage the fact that there would be two actions instead of one to open the door then it's not impossible to justify. Consideration should be given to whether the risk to the absconder from their ease of escape is greater than the risk from the exit no longer being panic proof and that in any case the risk from the latter is not itself intolerable.
  13. CO2 doesn't decay and of all the types of extinguisher they are the type most likely to still work if left sitting in a corner unchecked and unused for years. They can leak, usually from a cracked neck or defective neck or valve seat O rings, but this is rarer than in once was (it was an issue with early aluminium cylinders in the 60's, 70's and early 80's)
  14. This exact same question has been asked (& answered)on Firenet
  15. Dry powder extinguishers

    No problem, saves me typing it out again! The environment, occupancy/persons at risk and fire risks all are part of the factors to consider - most places I deal with they are removed/not installed, but there are exceptions. Powder is often installed in general commercial premises for Class C (gas) risks, overlooking completely the fact that tackling a class C fire other than by simply shutting off the gas supply is a specialist and potentially hazardous job and that the staff in these premises are not trained or equipped to do so (all 'general' fire safety training including extinguisher courses trains staff not to extinguish a gas jet fire) - the BS acknowledges this and so boiler rooms and gas intakes etc don't really need powder at all...