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Shop with two flats above


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My client has just bought a mixed use property. The previous landlord didn't appear to be doing weekly testing of the fire alarm. I am struggling to convince my landlord client that we will need to do this so have referenced BS standards. He has claimed that he has been told this isn't necessary by other businesses ? so I have told him he can manage it himself if he wishes. Unfortunately the fire risk assessor did not reference the lack of testing/ onsite docs by the seller so that hasn’t helped me.

I have been advised that the fire alarm is linked between shop and common areas (flat staircase) but the two flats have a separately linked fire and smoke alarms. Is this sufficient? I am conscious if a fire starts in the shop/ stairwell, the flats may not hear the alarm??


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It's not adequate. A common area only system will not provide the required audibility to rouse sleeping occupiers without sounders (& a heat detector usually as well so a flat fire in a flat where the occupant is out is detected before it affects the common parts) in at least the flat internal hallway to achieve 85dB at the bedroom doors as a minimum (should be 75dB bedhead but the 85dB at the bedroom door is a commonly accepted variation to avoid the need to extended into the bedroom).

This assumes the premises require a full evacuation strategy.

Sounds like you need a new better FRA as well!

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Thanks.  The Fire Risk Assessment was instructed by the seller, it doesn’t refer to much of the advice I have previously seen. I have asked the questions directly since and he has said the below. I’m totally confused how they can’t mention the lack of sounder visits too!

it is my understanding that if the fire alarm was interlinked with the shop this would result in false alarms causing unnecessary evacuation of the property. Hence the separation of the system. If a flat had an activation it would set the system off in the shop and vice versa.

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Oh dear, that's not right. If it needs to be linked it should be and why are there going to be false alarms - unless the system is poorly designed or poorly maintained or the shop operator is generally negligent in their work there shouldn't be any.

The flats wouldn't false alarm the shops as the communal alarm system only needs a heat detector in the flats. The local domestic system in each flat, which would be liable to false alarming from the hallway smoke alarm if the kitchen or bathroom door is left open and there was lots of steam or burnt food, is local to the flat only and wouldn't affect the shop.

Somebody has been very poorly advised - sadly there are a lot out there that really shouldn't be in the fire safety business e..g https://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/company-and-its-former-director-ordered-to-pay-more-than-100000-for-insufficient-fire-risk-assessment/ 

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