fire alarms in communal areas of flats

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  • fire alarms in communal areas of flats
  • I’ll try and get the details for you tomorrow morning once I’m finished nightshift, don’t have to type on my iPhone and have spoken to someone in legaslative fire safety dept.




    We are in the process of getting quotes etc for a fire alarm for the communal area for our block of flats (NB not an HMO, these flats are individual units, with a communal stairway). Anyone have any idea what the legalities of this are (fire officer / surveyor?)- I understand that the communal areas come under the regs which cover work places and as such need smoke/heat detectors, sighnage and emergency lighting.
    Am I corret?

    What about individual flats? It seems our freeholder has is going with a quote which implies that we will also have to have something installed in individual flats? Is this correct? (I dont think it is – obviously doesn’t come under communal areas, but are there any regs I have missed?) – whilst I am very pro fire safety – smoke alarms, planned escape route etc (been caught in a fire myself when I was younger and it was blinkin’ scary – never ever again) I have a number of issues with their plans (we are supposed to hand over keys to our flats so the workmen can get in (supervised by the freeholders dodgy site manager who I wouldn’t trust with my gran let alone the contents of my flat), they wont be making good any damage to paint work – that is down to us), so want to arm myself (and my fellow lesees from other flats) with as much ammo as we can get before we tell them what they propose is unacceptable in its present form (and hence the reason why we are going to excercise our right to manage and get more say in the running of the site).


    Paul – that would be great if you do get time. Cheers!


    We had the same thing last year, individual heat or smoke detectors in each flat , and indicator lights outside every door of each flat and store to show if there was a fire in there, , emergency lighting, and new signs, after takeing advice, we fitted two extinguishers on each floor, and green running man signs.

    The cost of full fire alarms and emergency lighting was high as would be the disruption and cableing for them all. so we knocked that idea on the head.

    If you go for smoke alarms on battery, make sure you put them in the bin stores, and like me in the hallway and above the front door on the inside, so if anyone puts something through the letter plate, or theirs a fire outside the flat this should alert you.

    Remember never ever wedge fire doors open, and never use fire extinguishers for fun, as a fire we had a few years ago, the flat was totally burn out, and the lad was dragged out unconcious by me, after i kicked in the door, if it wasnt for the front door(fire door) there would have been more damage to the block, hed taken the battery out of the smoke alarm, and left the kitchen door wedged open , while cooking deep fried chicken, and then fell asleep.


    Dont think there is any legal requirement for a communal fire alarm system unless the building is over 18 or 20m high. if there is some form of smoke ventilation (BRE shaft or actuated windows) then this will need to be controlled by smoke detectors on each communal lobby.

    Each flat only requires a standard domestic type smoke detector (mains operated with battery backup).

    emergency lighting and signage will be required to the escape stair/route to provide minimum 1 lux.


    I assume that the Freeholder is undertaking these works to forfil their obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

    Approved Document B – Volume 2 of the Building Regs outlines the current minimum fire detection and means of escape requirments. Specifically, detection systems are to comply with BS 5839-6:2004. I think it also refers to BS 5839-1. If you’re after information, these would be the places to start. Handily, fire detection sytems are grouped so you can ask the simple question ‘What type of system is being installed?’

    organic355 advice is good, except about the heights.

    In reality, your specific building needs to be considered as a whole. The bare minimum may please those with legal liabilities but may be useless to you – the reliant end user. The opposite is also true too in that a full system with sprinklers etc… may not be suitable.

    I didn’t get a chance this morning as we were turned out and the guys from FS were out by the time we got back.
    I will email my old gaffer who moved to FS and see if he’ll get back to me with anything. I’m off on hols now but will pop in and see if I get anything from him.
    When do you need the info for?
    Hopefully someone may get there before me (as seems to be the case above) but I’ll try and get info for you either way.
    You could call your local Fire Grigade and ask to speak to someone from Legislative Fire Safety dept. and they may well be able to advise you over the phone. We’re all about ‘Prevention’ now a days (but don’t get me started on that one) so they should be more than willing to help.


    We got all this stuff quite a few years ago now. Bloke from the council surveyed and recommended a company to do it. Emergency lighting, smoke detectors and alarms in each flat, fireextinguisher in hall, and a couple of bits of signage. We have to have it serviced twice a year I think, and recently had to have the fire extinguisher replaced. All a pain, really, but I may change my mind if the alarm goes off and it turns out not to be the idiot in flat 1 burning the toast again.


    Cheers for the info guys – all food for thought and gives me somewhere to start looking. As I said earlier, not anti fire alarms having being in one (some joker decided smoking in bed was a good idea – lots of smoke but scared the beejesus out of me) – want to make sure the system is correct and also the work itself is carried out to our satisfaction (which at the moment it sounds like it isn’t going to be – trunking everywhere and no ‘making good’ by the contractors…mmm I think not)

    Barney Mc-Grew – will try the local brigade and see what they have to say, so no hurry on the info – enjoy your hols! and thanks

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