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Topic Title: smoke alarms in rented property
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Created On: 06 September 2010 11:26 AM
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 06 September 2010 11:26 AM
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itwentbang

Posts: 283
Joined: 25 February 2009

Hi all,

Sorry if this topic has been done to death, but was hoping it might be a quick Q&A for those who know.

A none HMO 3 story property currently has non-linked battery only smoke alarms fitted.
1 on the wall of kitchen, 1 on first landing, 1 at top landing. (the only one that works)
The top stairwell is very steep, the smoke is mounted well out of reach.(would even be awkward to access with a ladder)
Due to the microwave in the kitchen going bang, the top smoke would not stop sounding. The only practical way to stop this so the tenant could sleep that night was to carefully de-mount the smoke from the ceiling. (when i say de-mount, that means i borrowed a 3m length of 22mm cu pipe from the plumber and jousted/smashed the noisy thing down)

Property now has no functioning smokes. (tenant has just gone on holiday for 3 wks, so have time to sort this before they return)

From a brief phone call via the plumber, Landlord's agent has asked me to 'do something' with them.
Im pretty sure that he is expecting a small bill for three new batt. powered smokes.

As i would only be 'maintaining or repairing' that which was already installed, am i required to upgrade to mains linked?

Personally, i think they should be mains interlinked and within reasonable reach. I was just hoping that someone might give me a definitive answer to back up my reasoning to the L/L's agent. Unfortunately, i dont have access to a copy of BS5839.

many thanks in advance.

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seriously, if you shock me one more time, i'm gonna isolate you!
 06 September 2010 12:02 PM
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Avatar for OMS.
OMS

Posts: 18929
Joined: 23 March 2004

Battery operated Grade F is a risk in rented property as tenants tend to avoid replacing batteries (indeed they cannot for the sensor at head of stairs). A mains operated Type D system would be better

Personally speaking, I would suggest an LD1 system (the landlord has a duty of care here).

Category LD1: a system installed throughout the dwelling, incorporating detectors in all circulation spaces that form part of the escape routes from the dwelling, and in all rooms and areas in which fire might start, other than toilets, bathrooms and
shower rooms;


If you want the usual approach then LD2 may be acceptable

Category LD2: a system incorporating detectors in all circulation spaces that form part of the escape routes from the dwelling, and in all rooms or areas that present a high fire risk to occupants


Do minimum is an LD3 system

Category LD3: a system incorporating detectors in all circulation spaces that form part of the escape routes from the dwelling.


The following notes might be useful:

8.1.2 Systems for the protection of life (Category LD)

All dwellings need to be provided with an appropriate fire detection and fire alarm system. The greatest benefit to life safety is given by a full-coverage system (Category LD1). Such a system will give the earliest practicable warning of fire to occupants, wherever ignition occurs.

However, a good level of protection can normally be obtained from a Category LD2 system, in which detection is only provided at points where the fire risk is high or where combustion products would present a significant hazard to life. A Category LD2 system might, for instance, have detectors only in the circulation areas of the dwelling, the living room and the kitchen; other areas might be left without detector coverage.
The areas protected by a Category LD2 system include escape routes, i.e. those areas that would be protected by a Category LD3 system.

A Category LD3 system is intended only to protect circulation areas that would be used as escape routes, by giving a warning if smoke is detected in these areas, so that occupants can escape before heat or smoke make this impossible. A Category LD3 system cannot be expected, with any degree of reliability, to protect people
who might be involved with the fire at ignition or in its early stages. This Category of system might not therefore prevent the death or serious injury of occupants in the room where the fire originates; it is intended
only to ensure escape for those not immediately involved. If no detector is installed in the room in which fire starts, the time available for evacuation of other areas once fire is detected in the circulation area might be quite short.


Time for your client to undertake a risk assessment I suggest - based on the above information

Regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 06 September 2010 12:10 PM
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Avatar for rocknroll.
rocknroll

Posts: 8808
Joined: 03 October 2005

Whilst there is no legal requirement to have smoke alarms fitted in rented properties at the moment, the system you have at present is Grade F, better than no alarms at all, what you should be looking at is the minimum requirement under the Building Regulations of Grade D LD3, and use your skill to convince the agent that this system is far superior to just battery ones, if you cant it is still better to have new battery ones than none at all, at the end of the day tenants will always find ways of disabling fire/smoke alarms no matter what you do.

regards

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"Take nothing but a picture,
leave nothing but footprints!"
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"Oh! The drama of it all."
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"You can throw all the philosophy you like at the problem, but at the end of the day it's just basic electrical theory!"
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 06 September 2010 02:56 PM
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slittle

Posts: 3377
Joined: 22 November 2007

Have a look at the AICO ones, they do a hush/sound switch which would help solve your tenant's jousting activities.

Whilst a full system would be best, as R&R says, anything must be better than nothing. AICO ones can also be radio linked although you would have to check about the hush switch as this makes for easy install. (link it off the local lighting circuit !)

Stu


ps not connected with AICO, but quite like their products
 06 September 2010 05:20 PM
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gel

Posts: 185
Joined: 13 February 2005

A smoke in the kitchen is a no no of course as is likely to suffer regular nuisance trips from steam, invisible cooking particles.

Heat is the only suitable chouice for that location, but must be interlinked to smokes, so again pointing at hard wired solution.

As for battery being better than nothing they can give false security if tenant assumes they're providing a level of protection; they won't be if batteryless/clapped out battery/ alarm not maintained.

For rented properties always best to go for sealed in 10 year battery Ion & Optical smoke alarms, as Fire Brigades use.

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Gel__Big Brother is here
 07 September 2010 01:19 PM
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itwentbang

Posts: 283
Joined: 25 February 2009

Thanks for the input, much appreciated.

I would always prefer to see linked alarms, in any situation, required or not. I think the loss of a few quid buying/installing linked alarms is far less of a problem than the possible loss of life or property.

Having spoken to the Landlord, he is actually quite agreeable. Far easier to convince him than i imagined it would be!

cheers

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seriously, if you shock me one more time, i'm gonna isolate you!
 07 September 2010 06:15 PM
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gel

Posts: 185
Joined: 13 February 2005

This may assist in cause


Landlord Fire Safety Guide

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Gel__Big Brother is here
 11 September 2010 07:30 PM
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lyledunn

Posts: 583
Joined: 13 August 2003

Generally HMOs are subject to Licence (usually under the control of the Local Council) . For properties such as you describe, our own Council specifies a L3 system in accordance with BS5839-1 2002 for the common circulation areas with astand -alone LD3 Grade D system in each flat. This is referred to as a "mixed system". It has advantages and disadvantages but the key advantage is in the control of false alarms. The biggest disadvantage may be that one servicing company may not look after all the systems. You should make sure that the common system (if there is one) has heat detectors immediately behind the door in the hallway of each apartment. Obviously, an audible warning is essential in each flat when the common panel goes in to fire. Any separate system wihin the flat should at least have a method of silencing that can be activated by the tenant from floor level. Your Certification should refer to any shortfall in the common system. C-Tec offer an excellent system using an addressable panel for the common areas and conventional detectors connected through a Hush button in each flat. If you have gas or other fossil fuel heating also consider carbon monoxide detection. NB 75dbA at the bedhead may require careful consideration.

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Regards,

Lyle Dunn
 12 September 2010 07:45 PM
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baldelectrician

Posts: 311
Joined: 11 June 2005

Should you be fortunate enough to live in Scotland there is a legal requirement in this case

It is acceptable to replace batteries in pre september 2007 detectors, but any new detectors installed post 2007 should be mains interlinked

See Landlord Electrical Guidance

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