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  1. I'd second that, your service provider obviously has no clue about extinguishers and is ripping you off. Cartridge extinguishers are rare these days and have no gauge. Correct servicing of these each year involves (amongst other things) opening them up, replacing the O rings to the neck, removing and weighing the cartridge, examining the interior of the body (removing the contents as required to do so) checking the spindle and valve, blowing the diptube and hose to check for obstruction. Stored pressure extinguishers have gauges and cannot be opened up for annual inspection and are check weighed and the gauge tested for free movement using a special tool and the hose removed and blown to check for obstruction and the o ring replaced (amongst other things). If the gauges are in the red then, even if still full of foam or powder the pressuring nitrogen has leaked off (either due to partial use and even less than a second of discharge can lead to this; or through wear and tear of the spindle o-ring; or generally a faulty valve; or rust leading to pinhole rupture) and this THEY WILL NOT WORK! Get them replaced along with the cowboys who are 'servicing' your equipment.
  2. You wouldn't normally design that in a building, but I have seen it done in existing buildings where historically it was the only and lowest risk way of adding a second exit.
  3. That's for new builds or refurbs and where Approved Document B is not being used. BS9999 is NOT a risk assessment guide, is NOT a legal requirement and is NOT retrospective. The law is quite clear that all provisions are risk based. Far too many practitioners spend other peoples money by getting RP's to put stuff in that is not legally required as it's easier than actually assessing the risk and giving RP's an informed choice. Would it be nice if every lift was upgraded to include fire alarm interfacing? Yes Does it actually need to be done? No, not across the board for existing buildings. When was the last time in the UK when there was a fatality or even a near miss from someone using a lift in a fire? Never seen it done in 20 years of evacuation drills either, except where managed use of the lift was part of an evacuation plan.
  4. AnthonyB

    Fire suppression sprinklers in care homes

    Based on the draft revision to Building Regulations then yes: [Care Homes] Sprinkler systems 2.53 When a sprinkler system is provided in accordance with section 10, the following variations to the guidance given in paragraphs 2.42 to 2.52 are acceptable. a. Fire doorsets to bedrooms need not be fitted with self-closing devices. b. Protected areas may contain more than 10 beds. c. Bedrooms may contain more than one bed. If any of the variations are made, the management procedures should take account of the larger number of residents that may need assistance, and the need to manually close bedroom doors during sleeping hours. NOTE - this is only a DRAFT, however is likely to be accepted and come in during 2019.
  5. The height of the premises is such that benchmark guidance would require them, the risk assessor is following the correct guidance for compliance with the law and not over reacting. The links Tom has posted will confirm this. The fitting is a lower priority than fire door or compartmentation issues which should be addressed first
  6. AnthonyB

    FRA's Commercial Premises Shops

    All non domestic premises regardless of size must carry out a fire risk assessment and must implement suitable and sufficient preventative and protective measures as required from that assessment. The 5 employees bit only relates to the requirement to record the significant findings of the FRA: Where one of the following applies the FRA must be recorded: - The Responsible Person has 5 employees or more (be it one premises with 5 staff or three premises each of 2 staff) - There is a requirement to be licensed to carry out an undertaking regardless of if anyone is employed and how many - The Premises have been served an Alterations Notice by the Fire & Rescue Service Whether it need be recorded or not it must be carried out and precautions put in place
  7. If it's there then yes (if it was built in the last 20-30 years it would have been put in as a Building Regulation requirement) and a 3 hour test on a small block of flats shouldn't be that expensive you should get other quotes. If it wasn't there because it was an old development then due to size it would be recommended (but a lower priority than fire door issues) as oppose to a high priority action. You have no option but to maintain it appropriately, it would be an offence not to do so.
  8. It depends! Is there are party wall separating the adjacent neighbours thus providing compartmentation that negates the need to consider them or is it less substantial? If the shout (or air horn, whistle, rotary gong) can be heard throughout the barn readily you may not need a manual electrical system (call points, sounders, control panel). The other consideration would be if a fire could develop unseen and prejudice escape, for example if all the staff were in the mezzanine office. In which case automatic detection would be needed - if the barn is large enough to need an electrical manual system then you'd add the detectors to this, if not then a fire risk assessor may justify the use of mains powered interlinked domestic smoke alarms (BS5839-6 Grade D) with detectors to the risk areas and office (the latter to act more as an alarm sounder more than a detector) although technically only commercial alarm systems (BS5839-1) should be used.
  9. AnthonyB

    FD 30 door replacement mandated?

    No new legislation is on the cards at the moment other than the Approved Document for Fire Safety under Building Regulations is up for review - but this is only guidance and only affects new builds and alterations to existing. Well done for standing up to the misinformation that's flying around at the moment.
  10. AnthonyB

    Store room Doors

    If it's a cupboard/store then you can omit closers and mark fire door keep locked shut. It would need to be FD30 (intumescent strips) unless protecting an escape route in which case it would need to be FD30S (strips and cold smoke seals). An existing notional fire door with no strips or seals and 25mm stops may be acceptable, but the FRA must indicate why this is so. This assumes that the location and contents of the room even need to be of fire resisting construction and doors in the first place, whilst desirable for property protection it's not always a legal necessity for life safety.
  11. Why did you have it installed in the first place, is it a Section 257 standard of conversion or purpose built?
  12. AnthonyB

    Store room Doors

    What signage? If you are talking fire door signs then they must be to fire door standard and not just normal doors if you are signing them this way. Your FRA, if carried out by a competent person, will detail which doors need to be fire doors, with closers or kept locked shut, and to what standard they need to be (notional, upgraded or current FD30/FD30S/FD60/FD60S standard)
  13. AnthonyB

    Church fire situation

    I don't want to go into too much detail (as you'd need to pay me as I'd be doing your FRA!) but it looks like use of the hall for up to 100 would be acceptable with the two front exits - for the larger functions (and certainly over 60) I'd want to consider securing the outer oak doors in the open position whilst in use. Travel distance wise it looks like even the rear rooms don't need to use the stairs down and the exit signage would be best removed as the route is locked anyway. I'd want some protection of the alternative route from the rear via the vestibule by the doors from the hall being fire doors.
  14. AnthonyB

    Church fire situation

    Hi, a) I'd need to see the layout, measure exit widths, travel distances etc as part of a Fire Risk Assessment to give a definitive answer - it's not perfect, but could be worse and there are workable solutions b) No as they only have a single power source and aren't interlinked. The point of detection is to give early warning to allow an escape before exit routes are blocked where a fire could start undiscovered. With a single station detector if you are at the other end of the building you won't hear it and if you are near enough you may end up detecting the fire yourself way before it activates. Your FRA will determine requirements, but for this size of building you only need a manual alarm system and possibly dependant on layout some detection on top (all systems start as manual and then add detection as the risk requires). Detection and call points should be on the same system, which as not a dwelling should be a proper Part 1 system with a control panel and not Part 6 domestic smoke alarms, although a risk assessor might be able to mitigate the use of Part 6 equipment (for which you can actually get compatible call points. c) Old 240V 3-wire systems without panels were very common even in large buildings back in the last century as the only minimum requirement then (& now for many premises) is a manual means of fire warning, some had a diversion relay which was a box with a button on the front that would silence the alarms for a period to give you chance to replace the broken glass in the activated call point. These are also now illegal due to having only one power source - fire alarms are required to have two power sources under the Health & Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations. d) Many competent fire alarm contractor would shy from this due to the age of cable (assuming it's fire resistant MICC otherwise it has to come out regardless if not fire resistant) although it is possible to reuse 3-wire system zones on a new conventional panel as most can be set up to be able to operate a 3-wire zone - as you are changing from 240V to 24V you would need new sounders and call points though (still cheaper than rewiring). Any detection you need should be part of this and can be wired into new soft skin fire resistant cabled zones. Unfortunately premises like yours have a lot of catching up to do as until the Fire Safety Order came in they were not covered by fire safety law unlike workplaces, so you are having to jump from the 1960's to 2018 in one go rather than over decades. The only reason there are any existing older fire precautions at all in places like these is because they will, in part or whole, have required a local authority license (often entertainment and dance) and the old licensing legislation allowed councils to require certain fire safety provisions as conditions of granting a license. The premises must have a Fire Risk Assessment, which normally if not used by someone employing over 5 persons would not need to be written, however as the premises are no doubt being used for licensed activity (even if it's lapsed, something else to look into as you may need a new license) then the FRA must be written even if it had no employees (e.g. just volunteers, self employed, etc)
  15. AnthonyB

    Fire Safety Officer

    If it's a notice of deficiencies it's not formal enforcement - does the covering letter say they are coming back to check (often they don't). Without seeing the premises I can't say for sure, you need a competent fire risk assessment to determine this and prove to the fire service it's OK. Assuming the director has consulted the LGA Guide I linked to and read it correctly then if the doors are the original notional fire doors and the flats are under the relevant numbers of floors, etc as per the guide then replacing the closer and upgrading with intumescent strips and cold smoke seals may well suffice and as long as this is all recorded in the FRA the FRS should accept it (or risk a determination that they may loose)