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Topic Title: Power points for general use
Topic Summary: In a protected stairwell (fire escape)
Created On: 02 April 2013 05:07 PM
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 02 April 2013 05:07 PM
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slittle

Posts: 3523
Joined: 22 November 2007

A colleague of mine is having a row with his boss regarding sockets in a protected stairwell.

He's asked me for my opinion and I'm sort of thinking that if it's an escape route then there probably shouldn't be anything stored in there or left permanently connected.

Would anyone have any better ideas ?

Stu
 02 April 2013 05:17 PM
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Jaymack

Posts: 4647
Joined: 07 April 2004

Originally posted by: slittle
Would anyone have any better ideas ?

No sockets and battery operated or steam driven vacuum cleaners.

Regards
 02 April 2013 05:18 PM
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OMS

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Joined: 23 March 2004

Originally posted by: slittle

A colleague of mine is having a row with his boss regarding sockets in a protected stairwell.



He's asked me for my opinion and I'm sort of thinking that if it's an escape route then there probably shouldn't be anything stored in there or left permanently connected.



Would anyone have any better ideas ?



Stu


It should be sterile, Stu - outlets for cleaning and maintenance purposes are permitted as the use is transitory - once you start introducing power points for everyone to use, you end up with the classic fire trap of the photocopier in the single means of escape stairs - with horrible consequences if it goes wrong.

I always ask myself how would I defend my actions if addressing a senior fire officer across a courtroom knowing that he's lost two guys in BA sets trying to get occupants out of an upper floor under smoke because I was the designer who enabled the stupid action of a client.

I've refused to do this before, I will refuse again if I feel the circumstances are such that the crass actions of a client (who is just an ordinary person, regardless of thier capability) will be enabled by me (as a competent person) as a result of my poor design judgement (and I have this duty under CDM as the design is for a workplace)

So - you can have socket outlets no problem - what they are intended for is a matter for the design statement and the H&S file. I personally mark them on drawings with a different symbol that denotes them as being "cleaning/maintenance use only - not for general use". If people are then willing to disregard that - then i guess you can lead a horse to water ...................


regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 02 April 2013 05:20 PM
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slittle

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Thank you. I thought I was on the right lines.

It's not something I normally come across as means of escape in my world is normally legging it across a field from an angry bull

I'll send him a link to the forum page.

Stu
 02 April 2013 05:37 PM
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OMS

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I'll have a rummage later - I think I can put my hand to a British Standard that mentions the issue (in passing) in the context of single means of escape buildings.

BS 5588 and BS 9999 should throw something up, I'm certain - or at least something that can be interpreted that way - same argument for TPa diffusers and dist boards in corridors

regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 02 April 2013 06:19 PM
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rogersmith7671

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Quote;
A colleague of mine is having a row with his boss regarding sockets in a protected stairwell.
Do you mean a stairway, which is adequately protected from fire from adjoining accommodation by fire resisting construction and either discharges through a final exit or a protected route leading to a final exit?
Then of course anything in that area will might well be an obstacle to those trying to escape and/or those trying to rescue the trapped.
Things like filing cabinets, dust bins, cleaning equipment may cause a dangerous blockage in the event of a emergency evacuation of a building. If you think that by providing a socket outlet in such an area, some precedent may somehow be created so that, a tacit permission has been granted (over and above any statutory and contractual duty) to install current using equipment which may form a dangerous obstacle, then you should say so, and come to some arrangement with your client. so that any doubt can be satisfied.
Personally i see nothing wrong with a s/o for the cleaners on the landing stages of a protected stairway if circumstances require it. The persons in an office or hospital shop or similar will be "instructed" persons and as such will be made aware of the danger of blocking fire exits.

Regards.

See here;
http://www.staffs.ac.uk/assets...0F%26F_tcm44-14291.pdf

Edit for link to, Guidance on furniture and equipment on fire escape routes. Staffordshire University

Edited: 02 April 2013 at 10:40 PM by rogersmith7671
 02 April 2013 07:03 PM
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slittle

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Roger,

I didn't see anything wrong with a cleaners socket either (other than they are metal stairs so why would you want to hoover them ?) and the guy discussing it with me had suggested a suitably keyed or protected socket for exactly that purpose.

However his client is looking for a double power point top and bottom with we believe the thought of putting his air compressor in the stairwell.

It's not my job or really my problem but as I was asked I thought it prudent to share it on the forum and learn from the wiser ones. As I said in my earlier posts, in my world most escaping is from errant farm animals

Stu
 02 April 2013 07:39 PM
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rogersmith7671

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Quote;
However his client is looking for a double power point top and bottom with we believe the thought of putting his air compressor in the stairwell.
Well yes,i would agree with your colleague. Hope he can make his client see sense.

Regards.

See here;
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/...05/1541/contents/made

Edit for link to, The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Edited: 02 April 2013 at 10:32 PM by rogersmith7671
 02 April 2013 08:28 PM
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dbullard

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Had a similar (ish) issue recently but school based and no stairwell.

The school cleaners had been using a socket outlet in a means of escape area for disabled access and leaving a hoover plugged in but switched off occasionally.

The outlet was primarily used for outdoor events for a PA system for the occasional outdoor event (RCD protected of course) and the school site manager wanted the problem addressed so the cleaners couldn't leave anything plugged in in the access / egress route, my solution was to remove and replace the existing socket with a MEM Electrax outlet, allowing the purpose made plug top only to be used.

A little different to your problem but might offer a solution for occasional use.


Regards

Daren

-------------------------
..... Dont pee in my pocket and tell me its raining ......


www.quest-electrical-sw.co.uk
 02 April 2013 09:09 PM
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OMS

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However his client is looking for a double power point top and bottom with we believe the thought of putting his air compressor in the stairwell.


Nice - remind your mate about the CDM regulations - they also place duties on clients actually. What your mate musn't do is collude with a client to achieve a breach of stautory instruments.

I mentioned noting the purpose of the socket outlets on the design information - ther eis nothing to stop the sockets being there - the duty to manage is with the client not the designer, but the designer must take appropriate design actions.

Personally a single socket marked "for cleaners use only" and 30mA RCD protected situated within the stairwell would be reasonable - say one at each full landing. Duals at top and bottom isn't reasonable in my opinion.

The other option is to put cleaners sockets on the accommodation side of the staircase enclosure - but that gets a bit iffy in the sense that the fire doors are then open to allow the cleaner lead through and there may be different tenants at each floor so "who pays" for cleaning is an issue.

Clients eh - don't you just love 'em

regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
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