Hard Wired Sysyem

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    Hard Wired Sysyem

    I have a flat that I rent out that has a “tested with tenant” FireAngel ST 750T smoke alarm and a Carbon Monoxide alarm and a fire blanket in the kitchen.
    The Management Company have recently undertaken a Fire Risk Assessment and informed us that all landlords should comply with BS 5839-6 and should consider the minimum standard to be a hard wired mains system.
    They say in their new policy “a category LD3 system should be considered the minimum..........”
    i have rung the local fire station and they say “there is no legal requirement that they are aware of to have an hard wired alarm system” - so my question is: “Do I have to comply with this ruling?”

    #2
    This is probably poor wording. However, it may make a difference if your flat is converted or is in multiple occupation.

    For purpose built flats, the scope of a fire risk assessment doesn't cover the inside of flats. However it is normal to include guidance on best practice, and best practice for rented accommodation has been mains powered systems for some years now, because they are more tenant proof.

    For multiple occupation, you will need mains powered interlinked alarms.

    If you are subject to Selective Licensing you should check the licensing conditions.

    If this is a conversion with poor fire separation, I'm not sure of the exact rules.

    If this is recently built, it would be required to have mains powered alarms from the start, and any downgrade would be a building regulations breach.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you - this isn't multiple occupancy - 2 brothers (both about 50 yrs old) in a top - 2nd floor purpose built flat - built 1979. What annoys me is “owners” and 2 of them opposite and below are heavy smokers don’t have to do this and although recommended - the management company also state the advantages of having a stand alone alarm fitted - as though owners don’t have to even do this if they don’t want to!!

      I would be happy if if we were all being asked to fit mains powered systems but it seems very discriminatory to landlords if I am the only one of 6 flats to do this and possibly some below may do nothing at all - that cannot be right?

      Comment


        #4
        Unless there is Selective Licensing in place, this should have been worded as being advisory. Even if there is Selective Licensing, it is advisory from the point of view of the fire risk assessment.

        Selective Licensing apart, the owner occupiers should have been given the same advice.

        However, tenants are considered higher risk that owner occupiers, both in terms of starting fires and in terms failing to maintain smoke alarms. They tend to disable them when they get false alarms or battery low warnings.

        Current building regulations require mains powered ones, but they only apply for new builds, or where a lot of work has been done. From a building regulations point of view, the normal position is that you should upgrade if you are doing related work that makes the cost of upgrading negligible. Fire safety law, which applies to the communal areas, and their borders (you need closers on your entrance flat entrance door), can result in things having to be upgraded, even though building regulations would defer that until major work.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Ian2019 View Post
          it seems very discriminatory to landlords if I am the only one of 6 flats to do this and possibly some below may do nothing at all - that cannot be right?
          Landlords are the only ones taking money in rent for properties they have as a business

          BS 5839 Pt 6 is for mains smoke alarms, there are also good long life battery ones (I do NOT use Fire Angel) such as Aico that do 10 year battery alarms that have radio link built in

          The point of the linked ones is that they communicate with each other and save lives.

          If you want to be safer I would suggest the Aico 600 range with wireless link - the EI 650RF smoke detector (code 542HR in Screwfix) plus the EI 603 RF heat detector (code 992HR in Screwfix), you can install several of these and link them up wirelessly.

          Remember you are operating a business and have peoples lives under your control, in Scotland you would have to comply with the mains interlinked or the long life radio link battery ones by now.

          As things stand some governments in the rest of the UK are less prone to legislate to keep tenants safe.

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you once again. A number (over 50% of 48 flats in total) are replacing their front doors at a cost of just over £300 - including myself - as during the past 40 years front doors have been replaced with glazed ones to allow more light into a dark hallway - but these glazed doors generally were not fire safe 30 mins doors.
            In addition to this all 48 flats are having self closers and smoke seals fitted - so from your reply would this constitute “major work” and would that therefore mean I have to install a mains wired smoke alarm? Especially in this scenario where my neighbours are doing little or nothing different and seem only to be advised and not compelled to even fit smoke alarms in their homes.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by baldelectrician View Post

              Landlords are the only ones taking money in rent for properties they have as a business

              BS 5839 Pt 6 is for mains smoke alarms, there are also good long life battery ones (I do NOT use Fire Angel) such as Aico that do 10 year battery alarms that have radio link built in

              The point of the linked ones is that they communicate with each other and save lives.

              If you want to be safer I would suggest the Aico 600 range with wireless link - the EI 650RF smoke detector (code 542HR in Screwfix) plus the EI 603 RF heat detector (code 992HR in Screwfix), you can install several of these and link them up wirelessly.

              Remember you are operating a business and have peoples lives under your control, in Scotland you would have to comply with the mains interlinked or the long life radio link battery ones by now.

              As things stand some governments in the rest of the UK are less prone to legislate to keep tenants safe.
              I consider myself very responsible from what I have already stated about smoke alarm, carbon monoxide and fire blanket. I am however questioning if for example I were to fit the Screwfix option you suggest can the management company tell me that is not good enough and insist on a hard wired alarm.

              This is a small 2 bed flat - does it need a linked system?

              i am also concerned about owners who do not seem to be compelled to do anything - only advised - so if they go up in flames beneath me - my tenants may or may not survive ???

              Comment


                #8
                No it is nowhere near major work in the sense I used. I'm not even sure if completely rewiring the electrics would trigger the requirements.

                On the other hand, it does appear that over 50% of the flats have been owned by criminals, at one time or another, as replacing a fire door with something of lower specification is an offence.

                Incidentally replacing a with a glazed one would also trigger building control under insulation requirements under the current regulations. If anyone illegally replaced them recently I'd also question the contractor they used. I would hope that FENSA and CERTASS ones would have rejected the job.

                Comment


                  #9
                  If it is a purpose built flat, below you and has proper fire doors, the fire should be contained. The smoke alarms in those flats don't protect you, only the occupiers of those flats. On the other hand their entrance door does protect you.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Leaseholder64 - that now makes sense. I purchased my flat 12 years ago (to live in - with a glazed door) - but have now married and live at my wife’s flat - hence we rent my old one out. Having had a couple of “bad” tenants - I am beginning to think seriously about selling it now. Thank you.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      the management company can insist on what they want, I think it is unlikely they can justify you remove a compliant battery system and install a mains one as both now comply with BS 5839 Pt 6 (the standard has been amened as smoke detector and battery technology has developed)

                      I am fairly certain you can link the Aico ones you have to a external system they may put in as Aico do relay boxes that allow this

                      https://www.aico.co.uk/product/ei413...erface-module/

                      Comment


                        #12
                        What they are probably going by is appendix 6 of "Fire Safety in Purpose Built Blocks of Flats", which is the standard reference for risk assessing blocks like yours. This says:

                        A6.6 Smoke alarms in rented single-storey flats built before 1992 should only be battery
                        operated if the battery has an anticipated life in normal service of at least five years,
                        and if the battery is ’tamper proof‘ (ie removal necessitates the use of a tool). When
                        any major electrical wiring takes place in rented flats, battery operated smoke alarms
                        (and mains-operated smoke alarms without a standby supply) should be replaced with
                        smoke alarms that are mains operated with a standby supply.
                        With which you comply unless you have done any major electrical wiring work. And:

                        A6.11 Where more than one alarm is installed these should be interlinked to maximise the
                        audibility of the fire alarm signal. As well as models that are interlinked by wiring, radio-
                        linked smoke alarms are available. It is preferable that all smoke alarms incorporate
                        an alarm silence control, so that false alarms do not cause unnecessary or prolonged
                        disruption to the residents of a flat.
                        With which you don't currently comply.

                        However, these are both guidance only, except for flats built after 1992 and 2006, where certain levels of smoke alarm became mandatory and the smoke and carbon monoxide regulations, which require a smoke alarm in every flat, although it can be of lower specification than you are using.

                        The fire risk assessment only applies to the communal areas, and their immediate boundaries, so includes the entrance door but not the rest of the flat. You would need to look to the lease to see whether the management can impose restrictions on the interior of hte flat, beyond those in statute.

                        Incidentally, it is not only entrance doors that get illegally replaced. It is likely that the doors to the living room and kitchen are fire doors and it is common to illegally replace the former. All doors to habitable rooms will be fire doors in more recent flats.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thank you both for your information, clear and concise.
                          i will seriously look at the screwfix alarm option to replace the existing alarm and I take on board your helpful comments and the education update it has provided for myself.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Ian2019 View Post
                            ....
                            The Management Company have recently undertaken a Fire Risk Assessment and informed us that all landlords should comply with BS 5839-6 and should consider the minimum standard to be a hard wired mains system.
                            Fine: Reply, in writing, stating you have considered that standard. That's all they've asked you to do.

                            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                            Comment

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