Fire assessment of buy to let

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    Fire assessment of buy to let

    Hi all. I have had a council inspector come to my BTL house for a separate damp issue with one wall, and he said I need a fire door from the kitchen to cupboard under the stairs AND need to get the under stairs fireboarded with FD30 fire board. I’ve found it difficult to find a fire safety assessor in Northampton. So I have 2 questions
    1) Does anyone know the best way to get a property assessed for fire regulations conformity?
    2) Do I need a fire door AND under stairs fire boarded, or one or the other?

    thanks

    #2
    Sounds unusual assuming it is a single household. Did you ask why? The guidance below is from Lacors.

    Case study D1: Single household occupancy of no more than two storeys (see figure D1)

    No requirement for full 30-minute protected route, but the escape route should have sound, conventional construction and should not pass through risk rooms

    No requirement for fire doors, but sound, well constructed and close-fitting conventional doors are required. Alternatively, provide suitable escape windows from bedrooms and living rooms.

    No requirement for additional fire resistance, but walls and floors should be of sound, conventional construction

    If a basement/cellar is present, 30-minute separation between the cellar and the ground floor escape route is the ideal.

    Fire detection and alarm system - Grade D, LD3 system battery back-up located in the escape route at ground and first floor levels; and battery back-up located in any cellar

    No requirement for emergency escape lighting, but conventional artificial lighting is required

    It is recommended good practice to provide a fire blanket in the kitchen.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi all. Can anyone tell me what fire regulations apply to BTL single occupancy house (standard mid 2 bed terrace)?
      I had a council inspector at my BTL for a separate damp issue and he said I have to get a fire door from the kitchen to cupboard under the stairs AND fire board under the stairs with FD30 fire board.
      Does anyone know if it needs both? What regulation say it has to be 60 minutes safety for the protected escape route (that’s what the council inspector said)?
      Thanks

      Comment


        #4
        As it currently stands, fire doors are only legally required in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). All doors leading to an escape route must be fire resistant and close automatically and it's advised that fire doors are also fitted to high-risk rooms, such as the kitchen.

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          #5
          Originally posted by johnsmith0774 View Post
          Does anyone know if it needs both? What regulation say it has to be 60 minutes safety for the protected escape route (that’s what the council inspector said)?
          Thanks
          The regulations that apply to houses would be building regulations when it was built and the Housing Act now you are using it as a BTL.

          None of which ask for what is being asked for. The requirements are in my previous reply. Ask the council inspector to put it in writing, then challenge it.

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks. I emailed the inspector today about what regulation says I need the fire doors and understairs fireboarded and he said 'building regs part B'. I know that building regs are for house building and are not retrospective. Below is copied and pasted from the Section 11 & 12 improvement notice (the typo about the space no longer being used is directly copied from the report):

            Hazard: Fire– Category: 1 Band: B

            The deficiencies giving rise to the hazard including a description of the hazard identified 28/1/2020

            The under-stairs larder - sited off the kitchen, by the very nature of which is a high risk area, is not protected from the ingress of fire increasing the risk of entrapment if a fire should travel between levels and compromise the primary escape route form the first floor bedrooms

            Hazard Works Timescales

            It is recommended that the under-stairs larder is
            • Fitted with an FD30 and 3 x fd30 hinges and sealed off so this space can no longer be used by the tenant
            • fitted with a FD30 door and FD30 hinges x 3 and the bottom of the stairs fire boarded to ensure the primary fire escape route is not compromised.
            • • Submit your intentions/schedule of works to

            Borough Council advising of your intentions for completion of

            the require remedial works By 20 February 2020

            Start Remedial Works on or before 20 February 2020

            Comment


              #7
              The council have served a section 11 & 12 improvement notice saying I have to have fire doors fitted in my house and understairs fireboarded . I asked what regulation states this and they said Building Regs part B!

              I'm sure that Building Regs don't apply to BTL houses and are not retrospective? Am I right?

              (note: the house is a 2 bed mid terrace with single occupancy)

              Comment


                #8
                They just make this sh*t up. Why did council inspect in the first place?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Building regulations apply to houses, but only when they are built or there is a significant change.

                  The guidance documents may well be used as the basis for compliance with fire safety laws. Those documents are not the regulations, they are ways of complying with the regulations.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                    Why did council inspect in the first place?
                    Please see OP's previous thread.

                    https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...-of-buy-to-let

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Complaints of 'damp' eh? I take it that was tenant not opening windows?

                      Sounds like he just caused himself to lose the use of his larder, doesn't it?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Your original post did say two storey (ground and first floor) if this is correct then he is wrong. In fact he is so wrong it's embarrassing and shows complete incompetence.

                        Approved Document B says nothing of the sort, fire doors protecting staircases in single domestic properties are only required in three storey properties. You can download a copy of ADB free to check for yourself.

                        Also, he doesn't enforce building regulations, yes, use it for reference as a benchmark by all means, but the correct guidance for your situation is Lacors.

                        Also, it is my understanding, unless something has changed in the last four years that the inspector has a duty to consult with the fire service when a fire related Category 1 or 2 Hazard is identified.

                        I know it is difficult to challenge enforcers, but ask him where in ADB it says this because you are confused. Point out that it is your understanding that the relevant guildance for your circumstances is case study D1 in Lacors. And ask to speak to his line manager, and if you do the work appeal it afterwards and claim compensation for you costs and time to deal with it.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I like the idea of doing the work and claiming compensation afterwards. I still can't believe they are asking me to do these improvments even though they are not a requirement.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I think you need to understand that the law only requires there to be a safe means of escape. Everything else is just guidance on how to achieve that, although fully complying with that guidance is likely to be accepted as a defence in court.

                            In the case of a two storey house, the normal answer would be that they would lower themselves to the ground, from bedroom windows if the stairs were on fire.

                            The issue in this case is that the layout means that the stairs could be compromised very early in the case of a kitchen fire.

                            Generally rented property is treated as higher risk that owner occupied (e.g. owner occupiers don't need to fit smoke alarms).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Just a thought, How would this idiot deal with a BTL that had a open plan ground floor with the kitchen. Suppose he would make you enclose a staircase, put sprinklers or knock it down. When actually the solution is the upstairs occupants are allowed to use window escape in domestic properties. And so are you.

                              Comment

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