Jump to content

Fire alarm system Retail Unit who's responsibility?


Guest Anthony
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all, 

Recently purchased a building with 3 retail units on the ground floor and 2 flats above spread over the 1st floor. All are accessed by their individual entrances with no communal area/stairwell. 

One of the retail units the hairdressers does not have any fire detection (she said the hairdryers and steam used to set off the smoke/heat alarms she used to put up in the past).

  1. Is the fire/smoke alarm system the landlord or the commercial tenants responsibility by law in this case?
  2. Do I need to install an interlinked fire alarm system to all the units or will individual unit grade D battery/electrical mains systems suffice (with there being no communal stairwell/area there would be nowhere for the control panel of say a grade a ld2 system to be accessed)

Thanks Anthony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If there are no common areas then the obligation for legal compliance rests solely with the tenants. Each has to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment (which needs to be recorded if they have a business requiring any sort of license or if part of a company with 5 or more employees even if not all based at that site, or if an Alterations Notice is in force for the premises from the Fire Service) and provide/maintain adequate general fire precautions. Their assessment would have to account for the effects of fire on Relevant Persons including those in the flat above - if there is adequate fire compartmentation between the shop & flat then their obligations are met, otherwise there may be a need for a fire detection system in the shop linked to alarm sounders or work to upgrade the compartmentation.

Again, if there are suitable party walls between each unit then they don't need a linked alarm and just need to consider matters in their individual units. Any fire alarm system in the units (if needed, small units don't always need one) would need to be to BS5839-1 and at least Category M (manual call points) as Graded fire alarms to BS5839-6 are only for domestic premises

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
On 05/11/2019 at 20:22, AnthonyB said:

If there are no common areas then the obligation for legal compliance rests solely with the tenants. Each has to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment (which needs to be recorded if they have a business requiring any sort of license or if part of a company with 5 or more employees even if not all based at that site, or if an Alterations Notice is in force for the premises from the Fire Service) and provide/maintain adequate general fire precautions. Their assessment would have to account for the effects of fire on Relevant Persons including those in the flat above - if there is adequate fire compartmentation between the shop & flat then their obligations are met, otherwise there may be a need for a fire detection system in the shop linked to alarm sounders or work to upgrade the compartmentation.

Again, if there are suitable party walls between each unit then they don't need a linked alarm and just need to consider matters in their individual units. Any fire alarm system in the units (if needed, small units don't always need one) would need to be to BS5839-1 and at least Category M (manual call points) as Graded fire alarms to BS5839-6 are only for domestic premises

Thanks for your reply! I have recommended that they install interlinked smoke alarms considering the commercial tenants are responsible for all safety aspects of their unit. If however they do not heed my recommendation do I legally have to force them to do so? Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Responsible Person in each unit is the employer as detailed in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 article 3 which requires them to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment and fit a fire alarm if necessary. If you choose to take over any of these duties you would be considered responsible as the Person Having Control. (article 5.3)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 25/11/2019 at 19:12, Guest Anthony said:

Thanks for your reply! I have recommended that they install interlinked smoke alarms considering the commercial tenants are responsible for all safety aspects of their unit. If however they do not heed my recommendation do I legally have to force them to do so? Thanks

It's not your responsibility. The Fire Service enforce the regulations. Don't go into that much detail in advice or you could be liable - domestic smoke alarms are not usually suitable for commercial environments, just remind them of their obligations and point them to this guidance: https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Hi All,

Hoping someone can help me with a query?

If there is a commercial unit [a fast food outlet in this case] with two flats above, but the commercial unit does not have any access to the common ways of the flats, but there is a linked fire alarm system [i.e. a heat detector in the commercial unit link to the fire alarm panel in the common ways] who is responsible to ensure that there is a call point in the commercial unit? Is it the leaseholder or the freeholder?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the commercial unit does not have it's own self contained fire alarm system and is merely a zone off the common system then the freeholder has control over it - however the retail freeholder should have carried out an FRA and realised they need the call point and paid the freeholder to fit one. The freeholder will have put the detector in to protect the flats so could argue they have met their obligations whilst minimising false alarm risk - the retail unit may not, taken in isolation, be big enough to require a fire alarm system and the heat detector is only there to protect relevant persons in the rest of the building (flats above)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi AnthonyB,

Extremely grateful for your advice and help given above. Can I check one thing with you, as just need to be 100% sure.

When you say above...... however the retail freeholder should have carried out an FRA and realised they need the call point and paid the freeholder to fit one.....

do you mean the retail Leaseholder rather than the freeholder. 

The leaseholder in the unit in question is refusing to pay his contribution to Fire alarm maintenance costs, saying as there was no call point he should not pay towards any of the fire alarm maintenance contract, even though his heat detector was linked to our panel and the panel was tested weekly.

If indeed it was his [the leaseholders] responsibility to tell us there was no call point, and as soon as he did, we had one fitted, surely he has not reason not to pay all charges surrounding the maintenance contract?

You further advice is very much welcome. Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, my bad, meant leaseholder. They should think themselves lucky as usually they would have to install and maintain their own system (interfaced to the flats as required) at their own cost which is usually far more than a service charge contribution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...