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Fire Protection Between Residential & Commercial Property Question

Guest Pete

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Hi a friend of mine lives in a ground floor flat in a three storey victorian house split into 3 flats, located next door to a commercial property used as a flower shop.

I have a lot of building trade experience and they asked me why their flat was so cold and mentioned that the cellar below the flower shop next door extends directly below the house.

Back in the day the house and flats would have probably been the shop keepers house.

My friend asked me why the flat was so cold and difficult to heat, I asked if the landlord had the free insulation installed a few years back, but they weren't sure.

Then they mentioned that the cellar under the flower shop next door extends under the flat and in the kitchen area below a kitchen unit there is a hole in the floor and the cellar below is clearly visible there is no ceiling in the cellar.

Which made sense why the flat felt draughty and cold, the ceilings in the flat are high so when you turn on an electric heater the hot air just rises to heat the bloody ceiling rather than warming the room.

The cellar is also below the entrance hall into the house so if there was a fire it would compromise the only escape route for everyone in the flats within the house.

Obviously the dividing wall between the properties provides fire protection, but with the cellar having no lath and plaster or plaster board ceiling there is absolutely zero fire protection.

It looks like the landlord owns both properties, any advice how to get the right people to take notice would be much appreciated.

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It appears that the premises does not conform to the requirements of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 because the landlord as the Responsible Person (RP) should have conducted a fire risk assessment (FRA) for the premises and act upon the significant findings.

The situation you described would not in my opinion meet the guidance and should be flagged up in the FRA and remedied by the RP. You should ask to see a copy of the FRA and find out why this situation has not been addressed depending on his/her reply you may have to consider reporting it to the enforcing authority the Fire and Rescue Authority.

If necessary check out Contact details for local Fire and Rescue Services.

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