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Everything posted by AnthonyB

  1. Change your contractor - they are trying to fleece you by scare tactics by saying it's the law. Firstly it's not and secondly it's been in the guidance for a lot longer than 6 months! Common sense and a risk based approach dictates that smaller areas, especially if only one exit, would be more than amply covered by a single unit. You will never get prosecuted for this, the only time you might have to accept the overkill is if your insurer insists. The Standards are influenced by those who make and sell extinguishers or represent their trade and are not as objectively independent as they should be.
  2. I'd double check Scottish Technical Standards as they are increasingly different from England & Wales in may aspects.
  3. Do bear in mind that as a Care Home it should be operating progressive horizontal evacuation and you may not be putting 60 through the route at once, so you may be able to justify the existing configuration.
  4. PAS 79:2012 Fire Risk Assessment. Guidance and a recommended methodology
  5. Your internal doors are likely to have been fire doors, the standard at the time (CP3 chapter lV part 1: 1971 referenced in The Building Regulations 1985 - assuming the conversion was Building Regulation compliant) was to have all doors as self closing fire doors other than bathrooms and toilets. These would have been solid doors with 25mm stops and internal chain type closers. You can't make anything worse than the original standard at the time of install so you would need fire doors (but only FD20 20 minute standard, although in practice they can be difficult to find so a FD30 blank is often used) which wouldn't need intumescent seals just the stop. You don't need the self closer any more though - current standards don't require them any more except to the front door.
  6. It's based on numbers and persons using the door. Normally 60 persons is the cross over from good practice to a must, based on official benchmarks going back many decades, if there are gatherings of the public where they could be a mass panic and the risk of crushing this can affect the risk assessment.
  7. AnthonyB


    There is the old fashioned method of interlinking via cable using standard interlink smoke alarms. I doubt they transmit continuously as the batteries wouldn't last too long but the manufacturer will know the full info - if it's any use to you they transmit on 868MHz
  8. The old answer was the last flight of external escape stairs was cantilevered and only lowered to ground when used: You need to consult your Approved Inspector or Local Authority Building Control immediately with your issue - they may not accept certain solutions, the fold out ladder is unlikely to comply, chutes have been accepted but normally in very specific circumstances and not for the public. You may find it more appropriate to seek a fire engineered solution to avoid the need for the alternative route - bigger projects than yours have avoided the need for entire stairs by use of domestic sprinklers and a enhanced smoke control solution.
  9. No, any fire alarm system in a place of work must have two power supplies to meet the Health & Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations, which usually means mains and battery. You would need all alarms in the relevant area to sound, not just one in a local area. This assumes the bays are not open air and the system isn't a proper BS5839-1 wireless fire alarm system where individual devices have dual battery power.
  10. AnthonyB


    Depends on the make of panel - some have far greater ability for complex C&E than others. It's not by any means beyond possibility though. You could ask on firealarmengineers.com/forum
  11. Yes it could affect insurance and could be a criminal offence without needing for a fire to even occur as there only needs to be the potential risk to life rather than it being realised by an incident. I'd get a new FRA though by someone that knows what they are doing and the specific standards for domestic premises- a common areas only system would be inadequate as it would only sound when the escape was already affected by fire and would draw people from the relative safety of their flat into the smoke & heat filled stair, plus wouldn't penetrate the rooms of the flats with enough audibility to wake occupiers. Also, depending on the nature of the construction of the building and it's conversion it may not need the alarm at all.
  12. The single light on a standard EL fitting (green or if a very old unit red) shows the mains supply to the fitting is on and the batteries should be charging, if the unit is still showing it's LED it would imply it's mains feed is still on and the light is fed off a different circuit to the one on the test switch you used......or that something else is wrong. If it has more than one LED then it's likely to be a self testing unit and could have a meaning specific to the fitting.
  13. You should have a smoke & heat alarm installation which would warn you before the route becomes untenable. How old is the building and it's conversion to current configuration?
  14. They need to be blue as a mandatory type sign in order to satisfy Regulation 4(4) and (5) of the Health & Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations 1996 as defined in SCHEDULE 1 PART 1 "Minimum requirements concerning safety signs and signals at work" It's a moot point as to whether it makes a practical difference as these signs don't include a specific pictogram, older buildings sometimes have the previous style of fire door keep shut sign using a red diamond on white with text in the middle, I certainly don't loose sleep over it - it's better than nothing - so would consider it a low priority compared to other signage issues (including no sign at all).
  15. AnthonyB


    You would expect to find a fire detection & warning system which, depending on how the premises are viewed (HMO, educational sleeping risk, etc), would be a commercial grade system of call points, sounders and detectors linked to a control panel or at the very least interlinked mains smoke & heat alarms, with detection to at least the stair and landings and usually the kitchen and other rooms as well. The stair would usually need to be protected with fire resisting construction & fire doors, exceptionally good fitting normal doors are accepted depending on how the premises are classified. Basically the premises should be set up so that a fire is detected and kept out of the stair with more than sufficient time to escape before the stair itself is compromised. If you have concerns then depending on the status of the premises either the fire service or local authority housing department are the enforcing authority.
  16. AnthonyB


    As long as the cables remain metal clipped in place it shouldn't be an issue. EL cable doesn't need to be fire resistant unless part of a central battery system (not seen much these days)
  17. You are, of course, not obliged to follow a particular assessors advice and can seek alternative advice as the legislation is functional and not specific to a particular solution. In addition to chairs there are evacuation mats, managed use of lifts, delayed self evacuation and many more options depending on the individuals needs. You don't mention a lift - do you have one?
  18. Not normally, as they are built for evacuation, it's an unusual situation, but the point of the current legislation is functional so as long as you can demonstrate that it would operate safely you could in theory justify it.
  19. If your CO alarm goes off for for than just a very brief period realistically you should follow the official advice: If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds or you suspect a leak: Stop using all appliances, switch them off, and open doors and windows to ventilate the property Evacuate the property immediately; stay calm and avoid raising your heart rate Call the Gas Emergency number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident, or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363 Don't go back into the property; wait for advice from the emergency services Seek immediate medical help; you may not realise you've been affected by the carbon monoxide and going outside into fresh air won't treat any exposure by itself
  20. They are pretty rubbish fire risk assessors if they can't determine which doors need to be fire doors to protect escapes, maintain compartments and enclose high risk areas! South East is out of my personal area, but as a company we do cover the whole UK
  21. It has been known, yes! Hopefully that's all or it's an expensive job!
  22. Depends how decorative you need it! https://www.diy.com/departments/doors-and-windows/bandq/fire/_/N-92gZ1z13zsvZ1z1398t?page=2 The door and frame need to be matched ideally as testing and approval is usually as a doorset (whole assembly, door, frame, etc) Check the lease for the block doesn't have conditions on the appearance of the door, it may have to match the others.
  23. You are right not to believe him, the fire protection market is awash with chancers wanting to make a quick buck and the doors are likely to not be certified (sadly not illegal) or even recycled (old out of existing buildings). Consult a certified fire door provider who will help you out.
  24. AnthonyB


    Yes - https://envirograf.com/ They are specialists in tested and certified methods to upgrade existing heritage doors.
  25. If the conversion was Building Regs compliant and is a 'Stay Put' building then ultimately they should be present, but based on the size of premises they are not an immediate requirement (based on the LGA Guide covering fire safety in purpose built flats) If a non compliant conversion and thus using full evacuation then under the LACORS guide they should be FD30S doors with strips & smoke seals
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