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Health and Safety Manager

Guest Ian Magrath

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Guest Ian Magrath

Good Morning,
I am the health and safety  manager for a large retailer, and i am based at the head office and main distribution centre.
Our office consists of ground, 1st and 2nd floors, and we currently have an issue with storage of items under the ground floor of both fire exit stairwells.
They are not large amounts, but before i communicate for this to stop across the business, the stair wells are also protected by a sprinkler system, including under the affected ground floor stair wells, does this make a difference as to if items can be stored here or not? i would have said no, but if anyone can advise, before i send out communications, i would appreciate it. 



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Not usually, no, the preferred solution is to build a cupboard/store room out of the space using 30 minute fire resisting construction & fire doors.

Sprinklers are the slowest means of detection and your stair could be smoke logged before activation, plus with the storage you will not get the 500mm sprinkler head clearance to the understair head so it won't be effective and you will loose the escape route - likewise if there is no understair head the nearest ceiling head discharge will be obstructed by the stair rise and you will loose the escape route.

If you are a large retailer you ought to have a Primary Authority arrangement - if you put a FRA proposal together with suitable fire engineering calculations that justify your case you can run it past them like Sainsbury did with fire alarm weekly testing going to monthly.

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