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Author Topic: Purpose Built Flats  (Read 788 times)
James Farmer
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« on: September 26, 2017, 02:38:58 PM »

Hi

If one of the flats in a purpose built block is used as a commercial office by a business am I right in it then becomes a mixed use building and would require fire alarm system or is it dependent upon the level of compartmentation?

A stay put policy is currently in place and I am wondering how this would be effected by the commercial element in the building.

Many Thanks
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Fishy
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2017, 07:44:04 AM »

Think about who the fire (detection) and alarm system might benefit?

  • Occupants of the flat / office?  Maybe - depends upon the layout.  If the occupants can see the entire flat and a fire that threatens their escape into the common parts will be quickly identified then maybe not?  If the building layout is conventional flats then there will be no detection and alarm system covering the common parts, so an alarm system inside the flat won't help if there's a fire that compromises those.

    Would it help the other occupants of the building?  Probably not, as it would still require the occupants of the 'business' to call the brigade, and they ought to do that whether there was a fire alarm or not (and if it's unoccupied out of business hours the alarm either won't be set off (manual) or if automatic it will just wail to itself).  Also (assuming, again, a conventional block of flats) there won't be a common means of giving warning to the other occupants - which is absolutely right and proper in 'stay put'.

No straightforward 'yes/no' answer on this one... all down to a sensible application of risk assessment,
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nearlythere
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2017, 08:44:07 AM »

The office workers are probably more at risk from the flat occupiers. As for stay put the office would be a non sleeping situation and be occupied less than a flat. As Fishy says it is about a FRA. Has BC been advised of a change of use from dwelling to office?
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David Rooney
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2017, 09:05:03 AM »

So am I right in thinking the RFO applies to the Office space ..... and the escape route, presumably a staircase through the building?

I can see that if the compartmentation is good enough for "Stay Put" then regardless of the use the occupants of the office or the flats would be of no greater risk .

But is there an obligation to protect the escape route??
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nearlythere
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2017, 12:45:31 PM »

So am I right in thinking the RFO applies to the Office space ..... and the escape route, presumably a staircase through the building?

I can see that if the compartmentation is good enough for "Stay Put" then regardless of the use the occupants of the office or the flats would be of no greater risk .

But is there an obligation to protect the escape route??
Would the escape route not be protected anyway for the dwelling situation? The office would just be one unit of a multi occupancy building where the escape route outside the flat will have been Assessed by the landlord. It will have most if not all of the fire safety measures necessary in place anyway.
Do you mean the protection of the escape route within the flat? Would there not be fire doors protecting it in place anyway because there usually is?
Remember that stay put should mean delayed or managed evacuation.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 08:48:39 AM by nearlythere » Logged

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Animal
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 09:10:06 PM »

Is it a bloke working from home in a flat in a purpose built block of flats? if so it is semantics and only the man/woman wearing a curly wig will decide if it is a workplace or a flat.

If not and its a flat converted into an office..................

Have you looked at the current benchmark guidance for flats in mixed use buildings? Fire safety in Purpose Built Residential Flats, page 106.

It may not be as simple as it looks; the workplace should be lobby protected from the remaining flats, now this maybe be easy if the flat has a protected flat entrance hall, however the doors may only be 20 minute doors and the self-closing devices may have been removed under current guidance, but that is not a big problem to fit 30 minute doors with self-closing devices or lobby protect the front entrance door to the workplace(but then again I have not seen the layout).

Now for the hard bit; technically the flat now a workplace should be provided with a fire detection and alarm system which should then extend in to all flats to provide a full evacuation. The fire alarm system is not for means of escape of the workplace but for early warning for the flat residents for the perceived higher risk imposed by a workplace opening on to residential flats.

Now back to reality is that all going to happen? very doubtful, the landlord or lease hold flat owners will not want a fire detection and alarm system, more likely they will try and get rid of the workplace first by asking nicely, stating it is a breach of tenancy  or by use of the housing act or RRFSO.

Well that my ten penny worth in old currency, hope it is of help.
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