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Fire alarm in block of flats


Guest Emily
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Guest Emily

Hi! I live in a building that has been converted from a hotel to a block of flats in the late 80s, Grade II listed. It has 3 floors and I’m on the top floor. I have been in contact with the management agency to get a fire-alarm system installed as there is only one means of exit, down the stairs. They admitted one has never been fitted and obtained the relevant quotes. The use of the service charge has now been agreed by owners. There are fire doors on each flat but I’m not sure if each flat has an alarm installed inside (mine does in the hallway, battery operated). This has been going on for nearly a year, since my initial enquiry with the management agency. They are still dragging their heels saying that there is a backlog with companies due to covid. Any advice on moving this forward would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you feel there is a serious risk to people in the flats you should contact the fire safety enforcement department of the local fire service, who will audit the situation & if required  take steps to ensure the situation is remedied.

Since 2006 your agent should have been having Fire Risk Assessments carried out of the premises which would have addressed this issue well before now.

If an alarm system is needed (flats don't routinely need common systems) it needs to be specified correctly - a common system only to the stairway and landings may not activate until it is too late to safely leave your flat (as there already needs to be smoke/fire there to activate it) and wouldn't be loud enough in the flats to wake deeply sleeping occupants.

Usually a common fire detection & alarm system needs to include heat detectors & alarm sounders inside the flats so it will wake people and will go off before the fire breaks out of the flat of origin.

Individual smoke & heat alarms to flats for the protection of each individual flat alone are outside the scope of the fire regulations, but if a flat is rented housing legislation does have minimum requirements.

The guidance to be followed for a conversion, particularly of the age of yours, is here:

https://www.cieh.org/media/1244/guidance-on-fire-safety-provisions-for-certain-types-of-existing-housing.pdf

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If you feel there is a serious risk to people in the flats you should contact the fire safety enforcement department of the local fire service, who will audit the situation & if required  take steps to ensure the situation is remedied.

Since 2006 your agent should have been having Fire Risk Assessments carried out of the premises which would have addressed this issue well before now.

If an alarm system is needed (flats don't routinely need common systems) it needs to be specified correctly - a common system only to the stairway and landings may not activate until it is too late to safely leave your flat (as there already needs to be smoke/fire there to activate it) and wouldn't be loud enough in the flats to wake deeply sleeping occupants.

Usually a common fire detection & alarm system needs to include heat detectors & alarm sounders inside the flats so it will wake people and will go off before the fire breaks out of the flat of origin.

Individual smoke & heat alarms to flats for the protection of each individual flat alone are outside the scope of the fire regulations, but if a flat is rented housing legislation does have minimum requirements.

The guidance to be followed for a conversion, particularly of the age of yours, is here:

https://www.cieh.org/media/1244/guidance-on-fire-safety-provisions-for-certain-types-of-existing-housing.pdf

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