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Smoke alarms in self-contained flats


Guest FergTren
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Guest 2 flat house

Hello , I'm currently upgrading the smoke detection system in a house converted into 2 flats ( both separate levels ) into a hard wired system , the flats share a front door entrance with the light in the entrance ( hallway ) being supplied from the downstairs flat , so i am initially taking the supply from there for the system . Do both flats need to be interlinked in this situation ? Andy 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Richard

I am a leaseholder of a flat in a 3 storey house in England converted to 7 flats in 1983, 5 of which are let to short term tenants.  We are a Section 257 HMO.  4 flats have their own entrances from outside, the other 3 being entered via a communal staircase.  We have an integrated fire alarm system but only the 3 flats on the staircase have heat detectors and alarm sounders.

I am told that new fire regs in 2019 require us to install integrated heat detectors in the kitchens of all 7 flats.

If this be so, should the 4 flats currently outside the central alarm system not also have integrated heat detectors and alarm sounders? How else will they know if there is a fire in one of the other flats?

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Are you in Scotland?

That's the only area where there has been a change to the law. 

In the rest of the UK the law hasn't changed, only the British Standard for Residential Fire Alarms (BS5839-6:2019), which is not law and not retrospective. The let out flats still only need a Grade F LD3 system (battery only smoke alarm to the hall) although it would be best practice to be Grade D LD2 (mains & battery interlinked, hall, kitchen and principle habitable room) and if you have a rewire you will be upgraded to this standard. Owner occupied can do what they want (including having nothing)

As for your specific situation, the system covering the flats with the common areas as required under s257 remains legal as there is no retrospective requirement to extend. The flats not on the common system should not need including if never on before as the assumption is they are suitably fire separated from the other part of the building so as not to have needed inclusion - they therefore only need self contained detection if let out and strongly advise self contained detection if owner occupied.

Sounds like someone is  trying to make a few quid!

I can't be definitive without seeing the site, but even if (Unlikely) something needs adding it doesn't sound right the way they've said.

 

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Guest Guest Mary

We are leaseholders of a 2 bed apartment in a 10 storey block. All apartments have hard wired smoke alarms, but we are now being told we have to have heat detectors fitted in each apartment at a cost to the leaseholders of £400 to £600 each. Can the management company unilaterally push forward with this installation using their own choice of contractors without any consultation with the leaseholders and then pass the entire cost on to us? Do we not have rights that prevent work being carried out inside our apartments by the freeholders agents? More than happy to have a heat detector fitted, but not in this way, and at a cost that I find difficult to justify. 

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Unless your block doesn't meet the required fire safety standards for a stay put policy (i.e. built before the 60's or is a conversion before 1991 or has several critical defects) then there is no requirement for a communal fire alarm system for full evacuation which is when heat detectors and sounders off a communal system would be required inside each flat.

If such a system is required it sounds like the leaseholders are being charged a proportion of the overall cost of the whole system rather than just the addition of points into their flat unless wire free equipment is being used.

Your lease terms would dictate how the freeholder can act regarding costs, usually 2 or 3 quotes are required and certain service charge additions have to be approved by leaseholders - also as this is not repair the freeholder may not be able to go ahead like this - sometimes leaseholders have taken cases to tribunals regarding fire doors and similar fire precautions. This aspect is property law though and outside my speciality.

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  • 4 months later...
Guest Mick

In a studio flat would you recommend putting in heat heads rather smoke heads. As the cooking area is within the same area and could result in nuisance sounding of the alarm? 

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Depends on the size - a heat detector on it's own will not activate in time to save the life of the occupier. The usual trend is a heat over the kitchen area and an optical smoke (not ionisation smoke) over the sleeping area located as far from the kitchen whilst not being closer than 30cm to the wall.

I've been to many sites with studios that do it this way and report no issues.

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