What smoke and heat alarms do HMO landlords use?

by Readers Question

10:16 AM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

What smoke and heat alarms do HMO landlords use?

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What smoke and heat alarms do HMO landlords use?

Hi veterans! I am preparing my first HMO property. There are plenty of options in the market for smoke and heat alarms. I was wondering if the veterans here can share information on which smoke and heat alarms you use in your HMOs?heat alarm

Cardiff Council gave me the information that the property will need a fire alarm to BS 5839, Type LD2, Grade D, i.e. smoke detectors in every bedroom and lounge with a heat detector in the kitchen. It will be helpful to know if you can recommend me any make and model number?

Many thanks

Sumanta



Comments

Stan Barlow TEE LTD

12:59 PM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

I have shown the official wording and guidelines below/ Most of our HMO's have an alarm panel and detectors installed withing the landlords/public areas. It also may be a acquirement to install additional audible detectors. The idea of stand-alone smoke detection in each flat was to avoid everyone else in the property being disturbed when the toast was burnt for instance. Please call in a professional for guidelines and if you have not done so carry out a fire-risk assessment as required. I have copies available upon request. stan@teeltd.co.uk

Mains Powered Smoke Alarms with Back-up Battery - Grade D

The problems outlined above can be overcome by using mains powered alarms that incorporate, within each alarm, a stand-by supply such as a primary or rechargeable battery. The alarms have to be interconnected either through wiring or radio-interlink. The mains power supply can come from a dedicated power supply directly from the fuse box or from the nearest permanently powered light fitting, as long as the smoke alarm heads can be removed without removing the base as well.

Grade D is required for new, owner-occupied buildings of up to three storeys, two storey rented properties and existing, owner-occupied buildings of more than two storeys. Very large storeys (>200m2) might require Grade B alarm system.

A question remains for landlords - can they be sure that their tenants are paying their electricity bills? Given that many tenants may have low incomes (in many local authorities, 70% or more of all tenants are on subsidised incomes), they may well experience periods of disconnection - and yet the landlord could well be liable if the alarm fails to sound because the tenant has not paid his or her bills! Unfair or not, as the law stands, it obviously makes good commercial sense to ensure that a reliable, ideally re-chargeable and sealed-in backup battery is in place.

The minimum back-up duration recommended is 72 hours, and the Code acknowledges that there could well be circumstances where a longer stand-by period is justified e.g. tenants' inability to pay their electricity bill.

JohnCaversham

13:50 PM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi-I'm not sure you can get a definitive answer to such an important safety question on a forum-you really need expert advice from a local specialist as positioning, types (heat/rate of rise/ionisation etc), zones etc all need to be carefully considered and not something you want to get wrong. I'm sure the council won't certificate you with adequate or incorrect fire detection, but if its wrong you'll look very silly indeed when the building inspector comes to sign it off.
Rgds J

Stan Barlow TEE LTD

14:01 PM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Absolutely John,
From pure commonsense. Call in an expert for advise as I stated previously. Too many lives are lost in fire. The stats show 40,000+ that is why a prompt detection system is needed.

Mr Barua

18:24 PM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Thanks everyone.

Darlington Landlord

18:46 PM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Stan Barlow" at "29/02/2016 - 12:59":

One option is to have a separate landlords electricity supply that powers the alarm system and emergency lighting (& light and power to common areas) with all components to the required BS code.
Depending on your likely clients you may need to consider factors like securing or eleminating sockets but this would also give you the option of propertywide door entry systems, security lighting, burglar alarms, CCTV and shared WIFI.

Rob Crawford

23:17 PM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Sumanta, I assume from the Council's requirements that you property is not what would be termed as a large HMO (200 or more square meters per storey). The clues are in the letters and numbers. Grade D means: a System incorporating one or more interlinked mains powered smoke alarms (and heat alarms if required), each with an integral stand-by supply (mains rechargeable battery). The interlink can be hardwired or radio-interlinked. Type LD2 means: a system incorporating detectors in all circulation spaces that form part of the escape routes from the premises, and in all rooms or areas that present a high risk of fire to occupants. In a small HMO you would have mains connected smoke alarms in each storey escape route, a heat alarm in the kitchen and another smoke alarm in the lounge (the lounge and kitchen being high risk areas). You may have other high risk areas that will also need a smoke/heat alarm. For instance, if you permit smoking in bedrooms then these would become high risk areas. All detectors/alarms need to be interlinked. In a small HMO, you don't need control and indicating panels or a standby power supply. I use the Electronics (Ei) range of detectors, however, there are quite a few makes. Installation must be done by a competent electrician. You will also need escape route emergency lighting. Also fire doors on most rooms. I find most "experts" who are also traders will try and sell you a system that is more than you require, better to ask your local fire officer.

Gary Dully

8:08 AM, 1st March 2016
About 3 years ago

I use Aico radio interlinked alarms and they have been passed as suitable in all my HMO's by environmental health inspectors. (Cat D)

However, you will also require an alarm testing log book as the alarms have to be tested weekly by the tenants.

Aico also sell an alarm silencing unit, which looks like a 3 way switch that screws to the wall, they are brilliant at cancelling false alarms triggered by tenants. They also can be used to fire all the alarms off for testing purposes.

Make sure you get a cancellation unit of some description or they will get smashed.

Before this unit was fitted tenants would smash off the alarms to silence them and then say they were faulty.

It sounds odd that a tenant might tell a porkie to a landlord, but it does happen believe it or not.

Antonio Taylor

23:37 PM, 4th July 2017
About A year ago

Hi Gary

I happen to be a landlord who has installed the AICO radio interlinked alarms (the 9V lithium ten year sealed alarms, the only ones considered as an alternative to grade D systems), and I am trying to convince the council that these are just as good as mains powered systems.

Do you have the same ones installed? Under what council are your properties? I might try to get my council in touch with your one as an example of a council accepting these alarms.

Thanks in advance.

Antonio


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