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BS 5839-6 and communal staircases
BS 5839-6 is for domestic premises, so in a building with a number of apartments, say one on each floor, the standard does not cover fire alarms within the communal staircase?

Therefore a Part 6 system (mains wired and interconnected) could not be certificated if fitted within the staircase as it's not s part of a building that Part 6 is applicable to?

Part 6 states for purpose-built flats there may not be a need for fire alarms within the staircase, but assuming that there are fire alarm detectors in said staircase...
Many purpose built have no detection to the communal, just within the flats.

3 storey and above generally have smoke vents.
Assume not strictly 'purpose built' but an old building perhaps converted into apartments, also assume that the staircase to all of the apartments (three/four floors) has a Part 6 mains and interconnected system (e.g. AICO).

Should the staircase have a Part 6 system? Surely not as it does state this in the standard?
If it's a non compliant conversion that would be thus termed a s257 HMO, then you would have a mixed system - part 6 Grade D in the flats and part 6 to the common parts with it being either Grade D or A dependant on the size of building. The common system would go into flat hallways as the site should be full evacuate.

If it's a conversion that fully implements the requirements of ADB it would be stay put and have no common cover except where AOV or smoke shafts are fitted.

Because many architects and project managers aren't fully clued up on the guidance and AI's/BCO just paper pushing (as the residential sector has found to it's cost with billions being spent on remediation works) you still see random provision of self contained equipment to stair landings (only) from a few Grade F2 smokes up to loads of sounders and call points on a part 1 L5 that was only ever needed to open a window in a stair
Anthony Buck
Fire Safety Technical Lead @ BAFE SP205 accredited company
Extinguisher specialist
It's not HMOs that I'm referring to, it's buildings with individual apartments that are either each privately owned or rented out etc. Yes, part 6 for HMOs but not staircases in communal areas of apartment buildings?
No you misunderstand - the law classifies non compliant conversions under section 257 of the Housing Act as a HMO - this allows local authorities to require them to be licensed if they so desire under the Additional Licensing powers of HMO legislation (most don't as they couldn't resource it but some do license them).

It may well be individual apartments, but if it's a conversion that isn't Building Regs compliant (& thus stay put, no common alarm) then its a s257 HMO even though it isn't actually a House in Multiple Occupation, it was purely a tool to make enforcement easier in these premises.

That's why it's covered by LACORS not the LGA Guide and where Part 6 Grade A or D common systems for full evac required.

I FRA'd a flat conversion in London once and as it was in a London Borough that had in the past licensed it it had a Grade A common system including devices through the flats themselves (rather than a mixed system with a common hallway sounder & heat and separate smokes) and even EL to the flat halls but had always been a conversion into two flats and never an actual HMO
Anthony Buck
Fire Safety Technical Lead @ BAFE SP205 accredited company
Extinguisher specialist
Thanks, so in simple terms it's convert an old building into flats that's not building regs compliant, it's an HMO and Pt6 is okay?

Section 257 supposedly  only covers  buildings where less than 2/3rds are owner occupied, so what if every flat is privately owned and occupied (but, in addition,  some of those could be rented), it's still covered?
A lot of these conversions are mostly rental, but as you say if they are largely/wholly owned then they can't be subject to additional licensing as s257 doesn't apply - but even in this case the physical building is exactly the same, so it would be appropriate to cover in the same way - after all the LACORS guide section for conversions doesn't differentiate between s257 ones and wholly owned ones.
Anthony Buck
Fire Safety Technical Lead @ BAFE SP205 accredited company
Extinguisher specialist

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