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No risk in communal area


Guest SarahC
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I live in a flat and share a communal area with two other flats. Our managing agent advised us to have the fire alarm removed as it was out of date and very temperamental. We have done an FRA and concluded that there is little/no risk of a fire breaking out in the communal area as it is only a hallway with no furniture in it. Under the fire safety order 2005 I cannot see an obligation to have a mains wired fire alarm system so would we need to get another one installed?

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Are you the owner/freeholder of the building as he/she is the Responsible Person and it is the RP who has to conduct FRA who has to make the decision on any fire safety matters. Also the managing agent usually takes on the role of RP for the owner and any decisions should be theirs?

A fire alarm may have been required because of poor compartmentation between the flats and the common areas resulting in a fire in a flat spreading to the common areas.

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A lot of residential premises were wrongly fitted or retrofitted with common residential smoke alarms or full fire alarm systems, so removal is not necessarily incorrect.

However the fire sterile nature of common parts does not automatically mean some form of site wide system isn't needed - as Tom says if the compartmentation of the flats is poor then something may be required - the FRA should detail what is/isn't needed and why.

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  • 5 months later...

how about making someone who has had a door mat for 30 years remove it as it is a fire hazard

ironic thing is they let people park outside and if there was a fire the fire brigade will not get near half of the flats its a 5 storey building apparently they are adopting a sterile approach since Grenfell

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I think I would agree with you but it is the common areas are the responsibility of the Responsible Person (owner/freeholder/managing agent) which ends when it reaches the public thoroughfare and have the right to make it a sterile area if they think it is necessary.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a really good read. 

One thing that really confuses me in respect of fire safety in purpose built flats, is to why the RP (managing agent) is only duty bound (in most cases) to assess the common areas?  Lets say the common area is in great shape fire safety wise, with fire rated doors to flats, and with suitable escape routes, even with all of this, without a form of detection and warning in common areas, surely if a fire occurred within a flat, it puts peoples lives at risk.

Should alarm systems be mandatory in all common areas of blocks of flats?

Alternatively, should the RP be duty bound to consider what form of detection and alarm is available within the residents flat (i.e. heat detection so to at least warn the occupant if a fire occurred within the flat or an adjoining resident noting an alarm going off for a considerable length of time)?

Learn so much on here, its really appreciated people take the time to add their views and experience to questions which arise.

Thanks all.

F

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Because flats are private dwellings and the historical approach legally has been for almost ever is that "an Englishman's Home is his castle"  so the government does not intrude into the privacy of the home except where absolutely necessary (most often at the build and alteration stage through Building Regulations).The Housing Act does apply, mostly focusing on housing that is let.

 Correctly built flats do not usually benefit from communal alarms and these have led to deaths in a couple of cases.

Where you have flats not built to standard or that are poorly converted then alarm systems that include some elements in the flats would be appropriate.

A history of the legislation as well as the current approach for new & existing flats is in https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/fire-safety-purpose-built-04b.pdf

Information for HMO's and certain conversions is at https://www.rla.org.uk/docs/LACORSFSguideApril62009.PDF

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  • 2 years later...
Guest Georgina Eastwood

Hi, 

I live in a private block of flats, it’s two floors , 

there’s no fire risk assessment, no smoke alarms and no fire doors, is this legal?

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England/Wales - No, possibly and No.

Scotland - Yes, possibly and No

Assuming England/Wales
Every premises, including buildings containing two or more dwellings, have to comply with the Fire Safety Order (only the actual dwellings are exempt) the cornerstone of which is the Fire Risk Assessment.

Smoke alarms/Fire Alarm Systems depend on whether it's purpose built or a conversion, the former often don't require them as the common areas are risk free and each flat is a fire resisting 'box' with only the flat on fire needing to leave. Conversions (& in some specific situations purpose built flats as an exception rather the norm) usually require full alarm systems.

Where a block of flats has a smoke vent system it will have smoke detectors attached, but as it's not an alarm system you wouldn't expect sounders or call points.

Fire doors - Flat front doors should be (& this is the case for the best part of 60 years) fire doors

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Cara

Purpose-built block of 6 flats (none rented), 2 on each floor, built 1964: we have just been informed that all our front doors have to be changed to FD30 fire doors.  Five out of the six doors have been changed over the years and I am shocked to learn that fire doors were a legal requirement 60 years ago and cannot understand why the freeholder and two previous managing agents did not apply the regulation.  It certainly would not have cost the £2300 each that we have been quoted!  Do we have cause for formal complaint against the freeholder?  Thanks for previous helpful info on flats.

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Fire safety legislation did not include flats until RR(FS)O 2005 therefore now it is enforceable. With the increase of fire safety knowledge the enforcement authorities have become more aware of the importance for front doors to meet the full FD30s standard.

Whether you have a formal complaint against the freeholder is a matter for solicitors.

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