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Q & A / Re: Long corridors
« Last post by JonAI on May 17, 2019, 08:28:10 AM »
I assume we are talking residential flats here?

I don't feel that an AVO alone would not be adequate compensation for the extended distance, certainly not without some further analysis. In a multi stair building AOVs are required on dead ends of 7.5 meters anyway.

BS 9991 would allow 15 meter dead ends if the building was sprinkler protected.
Fire Safety / Planning Use Classess-C3(b)
« Last post by alfire on May 16, 2019, 09:18:48 AM »
Hi All,
I have a client that has a number of premises where persons with an Autistic Spectrum Diagnosis are accommodated.
It has been confirmed by the local planning authority, on at least three occasions, that the use of such premises is;

C3(b): up to six people living together as a single household and receiving care e.g. supported housing schemes such as those for people with learning disabilities or mental health problems.

The premises are all suitably equipped, provided for and staffed 24/7 by waking staff.

A recent audit by the fire service resulted in a letter of non compliance and in discussing this it has become clear that they 'do not consider them to be dwelling houses' but 'institutions'.

They have made reference to various guides, but not to date the Specialised Housing Guide, however my question is that if, as has been confirmed and to all extents appears to be the case, that theses premises are 'dwellings' what would your response be??

Myself and the client are clear that there is a satisfactory provision but I am puzzled that premises that have been audited on a regular basis and found to be , in all cases till now, broadly compliant should now be having their status reassesd and wonder if others have experienced this.
Thanks in advance!

Fire Risk Assessments / Re: Recording FRA in purpose-built blocks of flats.
« Last post by alfire on May 16, 2019, 08:54:02 AM »
In regard to FRAs of blocks I only ever carry out Type 1.
The report will make this clear, in both the introduction and later, and it will also give a brief explanation of the other FRA types and where these might be considered.
When looking at existing blocks it is often not possible to sample any flat doors, the flat may be unoccupied or the occupier does not respond, and the FRA will comment on what the FED appears to be and contain a recommendation that the RP confirm this by way of available records or inspection.

The report will record the detection and alarm provision within common areas, where this can be confirmed, and it will advise, in the commentary, that the RP should confirm the provision within the flats, where this has not been possible, and give guidance on what an appropriate provision would be.

This week I looked at two new purpose built blocks of three floors. They have both been provided with a Pt1 in the common areas , with HD in the flat hallways, and a Pt6 in each flat to an LD3 standard.
They were advised in an off plan initial assessment that a Pt1 was not required.

Fire Safety / Re: Single chain Perko closers
« Last post by Fishy on May 15, 2019, 05:45:14 PM »
They are probably 'non-compliant' with the Construction Products Reg's as they probably can't comply with the ENs for self-closing devices, but this only covers kit on sale, not kit already installed.  They're a bad idea generally, though, because to close the door over a latch they generally have to be adjusted to slam the door closed, and a) this can wreck the frame & its fixings and b) it makes the flat occupants tend to disable them.

The whole idea of flat entrance doors of 'notional' fire resistance is being brought into question in some of the guidance issued by Government post-Grenfell, in any case - hence the vast growth in the sale of flush timber fire resisting flat entrance doorsets.
Fire Safety / Re: Stay put office?
« Last post by Fishy on May 15, 2019, 05:36:58 PM »
No - we sometimes design facilities with an element of 'stay put' where there are control facilities that serve operations that can't simply be shut down quickly, but I've never come across something as wacky as what you describe!
Technical Advice / Re: Room height
« Last post by JonAI on May 15, 2019, 04:21:48 PM »
Yes, escape routes need to be at least 2 meters apart from doorways. It's not uncommon in plant rooms to have ducts etc. that are lower than this and generally they are provided with some padding and highlighted to reduce the risk.
Technical Advice / Room height
« Last post by lyledunn on May 15, 2019, 03:58:02 PM »
I am told by the architect on a project that rooms no longer have a minimum height. We were discussing a large plant room which if constructed as proposed would have a general height of 2.5 m but with a structural steel beam crossing near the exit reducing height to 1.75m. Escape routes need to be at least 2m?
Fire Safety / Stay put office?
« Last post by AnthonyB on May 15, 2019, 11:27:03 AM »

I've an odd one here - a 5 year old 10 storey office block built with sprinklers, natural stair and powered lift lobby ventilation, L1 fire alarm and 120 minute compartmentation of floors and shafts. It already has extended TD and more than one door into the FF lobby that a retrospective fire strategy has addressed.

The original fire strategy is two sides of A4 and at first looks like phased evacuation with 2 floors initially activating.....but then it stops.

No more floors are evacuated until after the fire service arrive and decide what needs to happen next. They can then press a button to evacuate a floor and a bank of buttons for all floors is at the FS access point.

However the Building Manager has to keep time as if the FS don't arrive within 15 minutes then he has to decide which floors to evacuate next and manually work his way through the building trying to space his button pressing to no quicker than 3 minute intervals.

Apparently the FRS are happy with this (no proof) yet the barrage of correspondence over the years when duty holders in the building have questioned this suggests that the FRS were never even asked to comment.

Current management aren't comfortable, the more detailed retro fire strategy assumes normal evacuation, so we are planning to program in the normal 3 minute auto phasing of pairs of floors as in standard phased C&E.

Has anyone come cross this before?
Fire Safety / Re: Single chain Perko closers
« Last post by AnthonyB on May 15, 2019, 11:13:31 AM »
Even as far back as 1993 (& possibly 1986 but I don't have an original copy of the guide) the advice was they were not recommended in the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers guide to Ironmongery on  timber fire and exit doors.

See attached

Fire Safety / Re: Supported living refusing to evacuate
« Last post by alfire on May 15, 2019, 09:01:16 AM »
Hi All, Interesting question with, of course, a multitude of possible responses.
I give advice to a charity that accommodate people with an ASD diagnosis and staff have previously mentioned that there are SU who may not evacuate.
This was discussed and verbal advice given to consider the possibilities.

Subsequently I have advised staff, in writing, to give consideration to what actions/tactics they might use to ensure SU evacuate when there is a confirmed fire and in that specific situation ONLY.The sort of thing they consider are the prompts and enticements that are specific to each SU
We have discussed the use of a simple bolt fitted to SU rooms, with an appropriate sign to address DOLS concerns, if staff feel that the SU will not, as opposed to may not, leave but to date no managers feel this is necessary.

A fire officer, following an audit, has now decided that this is a 'stay put policy' and stated this in a phone conversation. This led to a call to me from his line manager where this assertion was repeated.
We await a meeting, which they have requested, to clarify things-their words.

In regard to the original question, I would advise that consideration be given to preventing the SU leaving their room in the event of a confirmed fire AND a staff evacuation and that the SU is be situated where rescue would be easier should this be necessary.

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