Fire Safety Requirements in a Purpose Built Block

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    Fire Safety Requirements in a Purpose Built Block

    Morning all,

    I was wondering if someone could point me in the direction of the specific requirements in relation to fire safety for flats within a purpose built block (post 2000 construction) within England.

    I am particularly interested in the obligations in relations to fire detection and suppression/fighting and also safe escape arrangements for flats that only have a single point of access/egress.

    I have looked at the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 however I was wondering if there were any other relevant sources to consider.

    #2 is the relevant guidance document. It is not law.

    Some key points, but please read the whole document:

    In normal cases detection is undesirable except, possibly to control automatically operated smoke vents., in which case it is silent.

    With regards to suppression, although desirable, you would require unusual risk for sprinklers to be justifiable on the service charge in most blocks. Taller blocks will require dry or wet risers for use by the fire brigade.

    Fire extinguishers in communal areas are strongly discouraged. There should be nothing to extinguish there, people should not be going back into a burning flat, and they should only be used by trained people.

    For safe escape, the original fired doors including those to flats must be present or upgraded to current standards. The most important point requirement is that flat entrance doors and fired doors between parts of the escape route must have effective, fire rated, self closers. Some larger block cannot use grandfathered flat entrance doors, but require a partial or full upgrade to current, FD30S standards.

    All doors on escape routes must be openable, in a single action, without a key, from the inside.

    Escape routes must be unobstructed and not contain anything flammable (e.g. no soft furnishing, or non fire rated carpets). There need to procedures in place to insure this remains the case.

    The gold standard for construction is the current Approved document B2 for building regulations, but you are not expected to reach full compliance with those.


      Many thanks.

      Now with regards to the regulatory requirements internal to the dwelling I am looking for the legislative positions in regards to fire safety of furnishings and PAT testing of electrical appliances and also whether it is incumbent upon a landlord to provide any form of fire safety equipment within the flat itself (such as a fire blanket within the kitchen).

      One particular area of concern in this case is also in regards to the front door, I cannot locate a fire rating label anywhere on the door so worry about its compliance. The doors are also painted by the management company of the building however I don't know whether there was any additional requirement for flame retardant materials to be used in the painting so may have to ask for the specification of the paints used on the doors just to be sure.


        Furnishing: see Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988.

        There is no explicit requirement for PAT (testing), just a general requirement to ensure electrical safety.

        All rented accommodation is required to have smoke detector on every floor. (The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015). Best practice is that it be mains powered and there be a linked heat detector in the kitchen.

        A fire blanket, in the kitchen, is also best practice.

        If the block is less than seven storeys, there is not requirement for certified fire doors on flat entrances, unless they were required by the building regulations at the time. The guidance for five and six story blocks is that the doors be of generally fire resistant construction, as per when built, and have fire and cold smoke seals around their edges, and effective fire rated self closers.

        If it less than five storeys, only a good solid door, as originally fitted, and a self closer, are required.

        The outside of the door probably needs to decorated with a Class 0 product, but that might not be well known. There is a good chance that they will not know what was used!

        For a building of that age, you may also find that the internal doors have to be fire doors, but without any smoke seals.

        For older flats, only the kitchen and lounge might have them. You should make sure none of these have been "improved".

        You should ask for a copy of the fire risk assessment for the building.

        If you are really concerned, you should sample the front doors of other flats, as you are likely to find missing or defeated closers, or even PVC replacements, unless the management are really on the ball. It is the other doors that are there for your tenants safety. Yours is mainly there for the other occupiers.


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