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BS 7273-4:2015


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I would be grateful to receive some advice on the application of BS 7273-4:2015.

I work for a housing provider in Northern Ireland and we have recently completed the construction of a new build HMO, which is a hostel for prisoners released on licence.  The building has four levels: a lower ground floor, ground floor, first floor and second floor.  The premises are managed by a homeless charity with a minimum of two staff on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Due to the clientele living in the HMO the internal communal doors (i.e. in corridors and stairwells) are access controlled with a fob; staff have access to all areas and residents have access to the floor upon which their room is situated, and any associated common room on that floor.  The front and rear main entrance doors and front lobby door have EODs fitted.

The fire alarm system is an L1 system per BS 5839-1 with Category A (critical) actuation in accordance with BS 7273-4:2015.  The locks revert to the unlocked position on operation of the fire alarm and loss of power or system error per BS 9999.

Originally, the electrical drawings had noted installation of green break glass units at all internal communal doors however, following discussions with the homeless charity managing the scheme it was decided not to fit these as it may compromise security within the building.  Wiring for the GBGs has been installed for future proofing however, the GBG points have been covered with blank plates.

A pre and post-completion Fire Risk Assessment identified minimal risk to life and the local Council issued a Building Control Completion Certificate and a Fire Safety Certificate.

The problem now is that a separate Fire Risk Assessor has carried out a post-occupancy assessment and has deemed the building at a substantial risk due to the absence of green break glass units.  Is this a correct position to adopt?

Many thanks for any help.

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If a risk assessor is just ticking the boxes they would be correct, but a true risk assessment that is, like the law, non prescriptive and based on the risk, can quite correctly dispense with parts of BS7273-4 (which itself allows for situations where an element such as a green break glass double pole isolator can be omitted) where other risks higher from having them.

I've assessed specialised housing and children's homes where it's been agreed the risk to residents from escape is higher than from fire and the green break glass units can be omitted and all parties including the fire authority have accepted this.

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