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Residential Property above a retail store


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Apologies in advance, I wasn’t quite sure where to post this. If it’s in the wrong place please let me know. but it’s driving me crazy and I’m not sure where to look for information. 

I’m in the process of purchasing a Duplex apartment above a commercial property. We’ve had a full building survey completed and some questions came up about fire regulations. When I asked for recommendations for specialists in this topic to hire for an inspection no one has been able to recommend.  The building was built in the 1930’s with a retail unit below which was refurbed in 2010 but still waiting on building regs for this refurb. The duplex has its own entrance and exit at the rear with no communal/shared areas. 

what should I be requesting from the seller and freeholder (also owns the retail space below) from a fire safety perspective?


1) Is a 60 minute fire separation law/required or is a 30 min suspended ceiling sufficient?

2) interlinking fire alarms, if one is in place what should I look for to ensure it’s up to standard?

3) Gas / electric certificates?

4) building regs from the refurb?

5) How do I potentially pay for a for safety inspection, is this something I can even do before purchasing the property?




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To remove the need for the commercial units fire alarm system to be linked to sounders in the flats above there should be adequate fire seperation between the different Purpose Groups, usually 60 minutes fire resistance.

If the refurb was to a degree that would be classed as 'Building Work' it would be subject to building regulations and there should be a Health & Safety File containing fire safety information that would answer your questions.

Your part of the building appears to have no areas covered by the Fire Safety Order (but the Housing Act does apply) so the obligations are solely on the commercial unit's Responsible Person to ensure your safety - as whilst you are not in premises covered by the Fire Safety Order anyone in your apartment would be a 'relevant person' who could be affected by a fire in the commercial unit so they still have to account for them.

There are plenty of passive fire protection companies that could look at the compartmentation as well as specialist Fire Engineering Consultancies that could help too.

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