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Fire Safety Confusion

Guest Decca2

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Guest Decca2

Background: 1965 purpose built 2-storey block of flats sharing common entrance.

Problem: 2018 fire safety inspection recommended LD1 alarm system OR replace existing Flat Entrance doors with FD30s compliant doors. Contract placed for composite doors but after Grenville fire manufacture halted and still unable to contract for replacement.

Commissioned new fire safety survey in July 2020 by different inspector who recommends immediate installation of Linked D1 smoke alarms in all Flats and Common entrance AND later installation of FD30s compliant Flat Entrance doors!

Question. Can we ignore the second fire safety survey recommendation and continue to seek an installer of certified fire doors?







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Guest Decca2

All Flats are Leasehold with freehold held by landlord RMC.

General Description 

There are 8 blocks on the site.  Each block comprises two storeys.  Apartments 1 and 2 have separate front doors and no 
communal areas. Apartments 3, 4, 5 and 6 are approached via a communal entrance lobby.  A similar entrance lobby gives 
access to 
apartments 9, 10, 11 and 12. Apartments 7 and 8; 13 and 14; and 15 and 16; all form smaller blocks.    

Each block has a substantial concrete mid-floor. There is no basement. The walls are of brick.  The roofs are pitched and tiled.  
Each first floor apartment has an external balcony.    Each  ground  floor  flat  has  access  to  the  outside  via  patio  doors. This 
effectively serves as an alternative means of escape from each ground floor flat.    

Party walls separate the blocks where they are attached to each other.   

Garages for the use of the occupiers are installed on the site, all being well clear of the 

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I cannot give you a definitive response without a physical inspection or detailed plans but I am reasonable certain all flats should have domestic smoke alarm and  CO detector installed by the landlord, check out The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and a LDI system should only be installed if you have a full evacuation fire procedure.

All front doors opening onto a common area should be fitted FD30s fire doors.

I also think all tenants should be given a detailed note on the action to be taken in the event of a fire especially now while the works are being actioned and should be a full evacuation until at least the work is completed.

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I'd need to see the site but for a purpose built mid 60's small block of flats you don't need a communal fire alarm, are unlikely to need to retrofit smoke vents and associated detection and your main risk assessment mandatory finding would relate to front doors being fire doors with effective self closers and a recommendation only for emergency lighting.

Associated with this finding would be one that, as a result, fire detection & warning inside the flats is outside the scope of the freeholder's common responsibility and the as built stay put policy should stay in place.

There could of course be other findings, but in essence, based on what I've found and what the build requirements of the day required, it's most likely

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  • 3 years later...
Guest John from redhill

Renting from social landlord, they want to replace smoke and heat detectors , I've never seen a heat detector so not sure what they are talking about. Communal doors so hard to open. They want to install a new fire alarm system panell linked through out the building to all new detector heads within the flats all sounders ? Don't know what that is ) and cabling throughout,  fire escape hard to open communal doors? Fire doors  to each of  the 4 flats open gaps of 1inch at bottom of doors , ? Woried landlord will charge us for this work by increasing rent or service charge as they have done in the past with service charge increase by 100 %. Communal doors if there was a fire no way would you be able to open or get outt quickly. 

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Domestic detectors generally have a 10 year life. Original standards were to only put a smoke alarm in the hallway, but current practice is to also have a linked heat detector in the kitchen and possibly another smoke alarm in the living room, so most responsible landlords use the need to rewire a flat or otherwise renew the alarms as an opportunity to upgrade protection to the latest standard.

The common alarm as described would only be required where there is some defect that cannot be readily resolved in the fire resistance/compartmentation of the building or, in anything other than the smallest blocks, the smoke control and Government guidance says this should be a last resort. This would also accompany a move from 'stay put unless affected' to 'simultaneous evacuation'.

As for the doors, whilst they have limitations on gap sizes and should have close fitting smoke brushes, they shouldn't be difficult to open, there are standards governing how much force is needed to open a door and this would suggest a problem with the installation.

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