Small HMO fire safety requirements?

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    Small HMO fire safety requirements?

    Hi,
    Does a 4 bed HMO that doesn't require a license need to meet certain fire safety requirements?For example fire doors, linked fire alarms and external fire escapes. It is above a commercial unit covering 1st and 2nd floors of the property.
    Thanks
    Yas.

    #2
    Firstly, flats above commercial premises are generally considered high risk by the fire services.

    You property needs to have a fire risk assessment, and you would be strongly advised to have that done professionally. That risk assessment will decide what precautions are required, but being a third storey level, over commercial premises, it is likely that it will need extensive safety measures. You need to comply with its recommendations.

    I think you can assume that you will need mains powered linked alarms, and probably ones with a central control panel. I think you can also assume you will need fire doors. The need for external escape routes will depend on how well protected the internal ones are. You may well need emergency lighting.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the reply. One more question, from a legal perspective is it a requirement to have a fire assessment done and then implement recommendations?

      Comment


        #4
        If there are any communal areas, and, by definition, HMOs have communal areas, it is an offence under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, not to carry out a fire risk assessment, or not to regularly review an existing one. If I remember correctly, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment, although, if there were a fire with loss of life, you would also risk manslaughter charges. <http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/article/32/made>

        Failing to produce the risk assessment would be covered by section 9. Failing to implement it would, at least, be a breach of section 8.

        Comment


          #5
          Not sure why I wrote "produce", but I meant failure to implement the recommendations. The recommendations basically reflect fire safety defects and it is an offence, under section 8, not to deal with those.

          I am concerned that you should even be quibbling the legal enforceability.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
            ...by definition, HMOs have communal areas...
            I'm being a bit pedantic here, but that's not the case if they are let on a single joint and several AST (as many are).

            However, even in such cases it would be more difficult to show that you've complied with the safety aspects of the HMO management regulations if you don't have a fire risk assessment in place (and recommendations implemented), and having one would ensure that you're complying with the fire-related elements of HHSRS. In addition, a risk assessment will often be required if an HMO licence needs to be applied for.

            Comment


              #7
              To be honest, I'd say it was impossible to comply with the requirement that "appropriate fire precaution facilities and equipment must be provided of such type, number and location as is considered necessary" without carrying out a fire risk assessment.

              The "appropriate" test is impossible to meet otherwise (unless you're very lucky and happen to meet the requirement accidentally).
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #8
                Does anyone know if an external fire escape is always required for a HMO above commercial premises?
                I have my HMO licence and I was not told anything about an external fire escape by the council, nor that I needed to obtain a fire assessment.

                If the answer to this is yes, but a fire escape is not possible to be erected (due to the nature/configuration of the property above the commercial building), would I have to cease operating a HMO?


                Comment


                  #9
                  Please don't ask new questions on only vaguely related threads.


                  Every case has to be considered individually. The legal requirement is for safe routes. The guidance requires they be reachable within a certain distance. Whether you need fire escapes will depend on how well protected the primary route is, and whether a safe part of it can be reached within a certain distance.

                  If there isn't a safe route, the manager of the communal areas is probably committing an offence, regardless of the presence of an HMO.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Mogino View Post
                    I have my HMO licence and I was not told anything about an external fire escape by the council, nor that I needed to obtain a fire assessment.
                    Amongst a whole shedload of requirements to operate an HMO is the one related to fire safety.

                    This is (lifted from a local authority website) " To ensure that all fire escapes are clear of any obstacles and that they are kept in good order, to ensure that all fire safety measures are maintained in good working order and that adequate fire safety measures are in place with regards to the design, structural conditions and number of occupiers in the HMO."

                    In practical terms, that's not possible without a properly conducted fire risk assessment.

                    That will determine, for the particular building, what needs to be in place for the property to have "adequate safety measures".

                    That's one of the more basic requirements of someone managing an HMO - it might be worth checking if there's anything else you might have missed.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment

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