Mixed use (commercial & residential)- linked fire system?

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    Mixed use (commercial & residential)- linked fire system?

    I have just purchased a property, firstly for an investment, and secondly for my wife's new business. The property comprises: -
    2 commercial properties on the ground floor (one is a hairdressers, and the other one is soon to be a furniture/accessories shop).
    1 residential flat on the first floor
    1 residential flat on the second floor.

    Both flats are leasehold (999 year leases), and I own the freehold. The previous landlord did very little to maintain the building, and there is therefore a lot of work required to bring the property to a decent standard.

    My question is...as freeholder, what obligations do I have to provide a linked fire system in all of the various properties? If a fire were to occur in one of the ground floor shops, there is currently no means of alerting the flats. From a responsibility point-of-view, this concerns me.

    Would appreciate any guidance that anyone can give....

    #2
    First your contractual obligations are set out in the lease. If there is one then there is little choice but to maintain it.

    Second in those leases and in law you have obligations under "'elf n safety"

    Thirdly you have general obligations in law, too numerous to mention.

    If the building was constructed with the consent of the local authority and without a fire alarm the mimumum requirement at construction was met, and the lease reflects that if no system exists. That does not mean you are "covered"...

    Thats when 2/3 comes in. As freeholder you must ensure that not only your premises, but the other commercial unit, and the common areas have a fire risk assessment, and a workplace* and health and safety risk assessment carried out ( in the other commercial unit they are repsonsible for their own activities, but I would always reserve the obligation for the Fire RA to you and recharge under the service charge).

    How far you have to go depends on the design of the building.

    Have a consultant do this, not a contractor who does fire alarms and assessments as well.

    * If you send a man in to change the lightbulbs in the common areas its a work place.
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

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      #3
      If the commercial units are seperate from the flats by fire resisting compartmentation (at least 30 mins) then a linked fire alarm would not be required. I am assuming that the occupiers of the flats do not have to go through the units on the ground to escape?

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        #4
        Linked fire system

        Thanks for the replies. Darren, yes the flats have their own means of escape, via the communal entrance/exit, and also via fire escapes at the rear of the building.

        I am considering installing a linked wireless smoke detector system that would link up all of the properties, and cause as little damage as possible to all the premises. I think that this is possibly 'over and above' my legal responsibilities, but, with the consent of the flat owners, I think this will provide the best protection.

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          #5
          Originally posted by Hendo View Post
          I am considering installing a linked wireless smoke detector system that would link up all of the properties, and cause as little damage as possible to all the premises. I think that this is possibly 'over and above' my legal responsibilities, but, with the consent of the flat owners, I think this will provide the best protection.
          Yes you could do that but from what you have described, probably no need. You also have to consider the false alarm issue in that if a detector in one of the commercial units goes off at 3am the flats occupiers get to know as well and may not be too impressed! Just food for thought? Wireless systems are also not cheap about twice that of a wired system.

          Darren

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            #6
            I know that you want a simple yes or no, but as freeholder, you are responsible for the Fire risk assessment in their common areas.

            An expert with knowledge of the building can then ADVISE you, and if it goes wrong then there is someone to sue, not just you.
            Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

            Comment

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