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Escape from Basement


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Hi there. I'm tasked with providing an FRA for a 5 storey premise - B,G,1, 2, 3. Floors 1-3 are 2 flats, they have a separate communal entrance. AFD is provided throughout, mains interlinked to the Basement and Ground which are a restaurant. Control panel is in the communal area. Fairly straightforward here. 

The restaurant is provided with 2 exits at the Ground floor. Entrance door and rear fire exit. Basement is served by one staircase, with no exits at Basement level. Should the alarm sound, persons in the Basement have to make there way up the stairs back to where they came in. Trouble is, the kitchen/cooking area is situated here. I'm trying to contact Building Control in the area I'm working in but they've not been much use. Does anyone have any ideas? The restaurant is not that big, approximately 50 persons in the basement at any one time.

But still, having to pass the risk area on your only way out!!?? It just doesn't seem right to me. Any thoughts/ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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Sounds similar to a scenario on an FRA based course I did at the Fire Service College a few weeks ago where the conclusion was the situation was not tenable and required structural alterations to provide protected routes removing the need to pass through the kitchen.

Building Control may well not have been anywhere near the job, a lot of stuff gets done under the radar - it's also sadly likely that they have and OK'd it (some horrific stuff gets passed as there is little sanction against the certifier).

It doesn't really matter who went before and said it was OK - if it doesn't look right and you don't feel comfortable do not accept it as unlike BC your neck will be on the line if something goes wrong. It might not be what the client wants to hear, but sadly that's life. Try and come up with some suggestions to make it better.


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