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Nikon2013

Fire risk, Items to be removed from under Stairs

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Hi

I wonder if someone can give a little advice!

I live in a building with 9 flats over two storey's, its open plan from when you first enter the main door, there is not really a lobby as such, just the space to enter. There are two filights of wooden stairs which are 'open plan' and the staircases themselves are 'open' meaning when I go up the stairs I can see through under the stairs, (basically, if i drop my keys they can go through the back of the stairs to the level below or land on the electric cupboard if its the first flight)

Anyway, I have been there 13 years, all nine flats are privately owned and we used to have a resident who would organise the window cleaners, gardeners etc, and as we were all Directors of the 'Association' and own the leasehold, This tennant has now sold and moved away, and another tennant has obviiously moved in. As there was now no-one to organise the 'running' of the block we all decided to hand it over to a management Co who have been looking after the management for little over a year now, recently they have left a notice on the groundfloor staircase informing residents that all items under the stairs need to be removed as the passageway must be kept 'clear'

My argument is why?.. I understand about the fire regulations etc, but the items are not in anyway shape of form obstructing anyone from exiting the building at all, only one flat passes that area in anycase, (I'm not saying just because it only effects one person so it doesnt matter, besides, the resident there has no problems with items there, as there is some of their stuff among the items!!)

Should (hopefully not) a fire situation arise everyone has clear access to get out in any case, even in the dark you are more likely bump your head under the stairs before you got 'obstructed' by said items, Nothing has ever been said in the past, we have had no problems getting insurance for the block in the past so once again I ask, why?

Incidently I only knew of the notice because someone in the building mentioned it to me, its not an area I visit often, only to get my 8 year old daughters bike, the notice gave residents 7 days else things would be removed by the Management Co, but the notice never had a date on it, it could have been there for six days as far as I know and I still wouldn't have been non the wiser!, I would have a better chance of seeing the notice if they posted it on a lampost outside! Can they take away the items?

any help would be appreciated,

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When you decided to use a management company they became the responsible person under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and are required to implement the above order. It requires them to conduct a fire risk assessment in the common areas including the front doors of the flats and requires them to ensure under,

Emergency routes and exits 14. -(1) Where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that routes to emergency exits from premises and the exits themselves are kept clear at all times.

If they fail to carry out the conditions of the order they could be prosecuted which could include the tenants.

I would suggest you abide by their instructions and all this should have been done prior to them taking control, you were lucky the Fire and rescue service did not conduct an audit.

Check out http://www.firesafe.org.uk/regulatory-reform-fire-safety-order-2005/

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Guest Lee-anneBra

I live in a 2 storey flat and have stored my push bike in a cupboard under the stairs. This cupboard does not lead anywhere and is always locked. It contains the electric meter for the block of flats but does not have a smoke alarm and the bike does not cause an obstruction to anyone. Is this still classed as a fire risk?

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I wouldn't think so there is no ignition sources on a push bike and it is not going to cause an obstruction, assuming it is not one assisted by motor means.

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Guest ChristineSim

The is an open area under the stairs in my block of 3 apartments. It goes from ceiling height down to the floor. Can I store a pushchair out of the way under the stairs or will the landlords need to build a cupboard under the stairs to form a storage unit?

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Not necessarily it will depend on the adopted policy of the landlord, I would consider it a low fire risk and therefore not required to be protected by a fire resistant enclosure but it could cause an obstruction in the common area,m so I would speak to the landlord.

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Guest Vending under stairs

My educational establishment wishes to install three vending machines tucked away from any escape route but in an area directly below a staircase - would this contravene Fire Regulations?

Kind Regards,

John

 

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Possibly - the staircase is the escape route and the requirement is not only to keep protected escapes clear but also have them free from combustibles and ignition sources.

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Guest Christine

Does a push bike tucked under the stairs in the entrance of a two floor block of seven flats pose any fire risk? The bike in no way obstructs any fire escapes.I think as a bike is not combustible it can not catch fire?

Christine

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I agree it is not a fire risk, but the possibility that it could be an obstruction risk, depending on how it is secured under the stairs. Another problem is, if one person starts using the escape route to store items, others may follow which then causes problems for the Responsible Person (RP). You need to discuss it with the RP and see if you can come to some compromise. 

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