Testing of fire detection and emergency lighting system in HMOs

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Testing of fire detection and emergency lighting system in HMOs

    The property is 4 stories (basement, ground 1st and second floor) 12 flats in total. All with self containing kitchens. No employee is working there permanently, except for the cleaner who spends nearly 3 hours a day cleaning. maintenance people visit when necessary.

    There is a fire alarm system (smoke detectors in all flats and all landing areas and by the fire exit doors, and call points throughout the building)

    Do I have carry out weekly testing of the fire alarm system? If yes, . Can I ask why even though it is not a place of work as such and is there a piece of legislation to support? I assume it is the same case with emergency lighting also except it would be monthly

    Your help is great appreciated and many thanks for the reply in advance.

    You will find some if not all your answers at post


    All i did was google your title, changed to :-
    "Who tests detection and emergency lighting system in HMOs"

    Regulations may have been ammended since the post.



      Hi Rom,

      The legal requirement to ensure the fire alarm and emergency lighting are in working order (i.e. a testing regime) come from the Fire Safety Order 2005 Article 17.

      17.—(l) Where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons the responsible
      person must ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect
      of the premises under this Order or, subject to paragraph (6), under any other enactment, including
      any enactment repealed or revoked by this Order, are subject to a suitable system of maintenance
      and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
      (2) Where the premises form part of a building, the responsible person may make arrangements
      with the occupier of any other premises forming part of the building for the purpose of ensuring
      that the requirements of paragraph (1) are met.
      (3) Paragraph (2) applies even if the other premises are not premises to which this Order applies.
      (4) The occupier of the other premises must co-operate with the responsible person for the
      purposes of paragraph (2).
      (5) Where the occupier of the other premises is not also the owner of those premises, the
      references to the occupier in paragraphs (2) and (4) are to be taken to be references to both the
      occupier and the owner.
      (6) Paragraph (1) only applies to facilities, equipment and devices provided under other
      enactments where they are provided in connection with general fire precautions.

      General fire precautions include the fire alarm and emergency lighting. The frequency of testing for fire alarms comes from BS5839 and for emergency lighting BS5266. Although these BS’s are not the law they would be used to establish if Article 17 of the fire safety order was being complied with. BS5839 would recommend a weekly call point test and the system maintained by a competent engineer every 6 months. BS5266 recommends visual checks and a monthly test and also 6 month checks by a competent engineer.


        The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

        The Fire Safety Order covers the communal area of any residential flats. The fire department are usually responsible for enforcing the fire safety order. The freeholder who has control of the communal area will be responsible for doing a Fire Risk Assessment and seeing any recommendations are carried out and then charging the leaseholders (the flat owners) if they are different from the freeholder, for any works and any ongoing testing.

        The EHO from the council will use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess the need for fire provision within individual flats that are HMO’s in their own right.

        HMO legislation comes under the Housing Act 2004

        The whole building may be an HMO if it’s conversion from the orginal use of the building is not up to certain standards (i.e. not purpose built from scratch). The council will also be very interested in the communal area if the whole building is an HMO.

        To sum up; both Council and Fire department have powers to enforce improvements. The Fire department will only be interested in the communal area. The council usually apply HMO regs to individual flats, but will also have power in the communal area.

        Whether you need to have a weekly alarm test depends on what your risk assessment recommends. If you do not follow your risk assessment recommendations and there is a fire, you could be culpable for manslaughter charges, should the worst happen. More likely is if the council have reason to be on your premises to check your records, they may insist that you comply with any shortfall they find.

        The lacors guidance is used as a reference for risk assessors. I believe it recommends weekly testing for the fire alarms in the communal area in your case.

        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

        * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

        You can search the forums here:


        Latest Activity