Fire Safety in residential property is a very important responsibility.
Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 come into effect on the 1st July 2017.
The fire safety requirements under these standards effective from 1st July 2017 are as follows:-
- Each house shall contain a suitable self-contained fire detection and alarm system.
- Each house shall contain a suitably located fire blanket.
- Each self-contained house in a multi-unit building shall contain a suitable fire detection and alarm system and an emergency evacuation plan.
- A suitable fire detection and alarm system shall be provided in common areas within a multi-unit building.
- Emergency lighting shall be provided in all common areas within a multi-unit building.
- Fire detection and alarm systems and emergency lighting systems required under Regulation 10(4) and 10(5) shall be maintained in accordance with current standards.
Landlords have a statutory obligation to comply with Housing Standards in Rented Houses Regulations, and these include fire safety obligations. These are detailed in S.I. 462 of 2009 and are effective until the 30th June 2017 outlined below
11. (1) Subject to sub-article (2), the house shall contain a fire blanket and either a mains-wired smoke alarm or at least two 10-year self-contained battery-operated smoke alarms.
(2) Each self-contained house in a multi-unit building shall contain a mains-wired smoke alarm, a fire blanket and an emergency evacuation plan.
(3) Emergency lighting shall be provided in all common areas within a multi-unit building.”
The Fire Services Act 1981 was amended in 2003 and section 18 and its amendment are outlined below:-
Fire Services Act 1981
Fire Fighting and Fire Safety
General obligations with regard to fire safety.
18.—(1) This section applies to premises or any part thereof put to any of the following uses—
(a) use as, or for any purpose involving the provision of, sleeping accommodation, excluding premises consisting of a dwelling house occupied as a single dwelling;
(b) use as, or as part of, an institution providing treatment or care;
(c) use for purposes of entertainment, recreation or instruction or for the purpose of any club, society or association;
(d) use for purposes of teaching, training or research;
(e) use for any purpose involving access to the premises by members of the public, whether on payment or otherwise; and
(f) use for any other prescribed purpose, but excluding—
(i) premises used as a factory within the meaning of the Safety in Industry Acts, 1955 and 1980;
(ii) premises used as a store and subject to licensing under regulations made under the Dangerous Substances Act, 1972 ;
(iii) a magazine, store or registered premises within the meaning of the Explosives Act, 1875; and
(iv) an oil jetty within the meaning of regulations under the Dangerous Substances Act, 1972 .
(2) It shall be the duty of every person having control over premises to which this section applies to take all reasonable measures to guard against the outbreak of fire on such premises, and to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable the safety of persons on the premises in the event of an outbreak of fire.
(3) It shall be the duty of every person, being on premises to which this section applies, to conduct himself in such a way as to ensure that as far as is reasonably practicable any person on the premises is not exposed to danger from fire as a consequence of any act or omission of his.
(4) A fire authority may give advice in relation to fire safety to the owner or occupier of any premises or to any person having control over any premises.
Fire Services Act 2003
29. —Section 18 of the Act of 1981 is amended—
(a) in subsection (1) (f) by—
(i) the substitution for “but excluding” of “including”, and
(ii) the insertion after subparagraph (iv) of the following new subparagraph:
“(v) any workplace.”,
(b) by the substitution for subsection (2) of the following subsection:
“(2) It shall be the duty of every person having control over premises to which this section applies to—
(a) take all reasonable measures to guard against the outbreak of fire on such premises,
(b) provide reasonable fire safety measures for such premises and prepare and provide appropriate fire safety procedures for ensuring the safety of persons on such premises,
(c) ensure that the fire safety measures and procedures referred to in paragraph (b) are applied at all times, and
(d) ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of persons on the premises in the event of an outbreak of fire whether such outbreak has occurred or not.”,
(c) by the insertion after subsection (4) of the following subsections:
“(5) Advice referred to in subsection (4)—
(a) may include a warning that a fire safety notice may be served under section 20 or that the owner or occupier may be liable to prosecution by reason of a contravention of a provision of this Act,
(b) may be given on behalf of the fire authority by an authorised person authorised for the purposes of this section by a fire authority in accordance with subsection (11) of this section, and
(c) may include recommendations, orally or in writing, to such persons concerning fire safety measures and procedures.
(6) An authorised person may require a person having control over premises to which this section applies or to an owner or occupier of such premises—
(a) to carry out a fire safety assessment of such premises and to notify the fire authority of such assessment, and
(b) to carry out works specified under subsection (9) to such premises within a period of time so specified.
(7) An authorised person may issue a warning, in writing, concerning any matter arising out of fire safety procedures and measures on such premises.
(8) An authorised person may enter and inspect a premises to which this section or section 24 applies at all reasonable times for the purposes of this section.
(9) An authorised person may specify works to be carried out at a premises to which this section applies and may specify a period of time within which such works are to be carried out.
(10) Section 20(4) shall apply with any necessary modifications to works to be carried out under subsection (6).
(11) A fire authority may authorise a person to be an authorised person for the purposes of this section by an order made by a city manager or a county manager as the case may be.
(12) In this section ‘authorised person’ means a person appointed in accordance with subsection (11) of this section.”.
Are You Aware of the Fire Safety Requirements under the Multi-Unit Developments Act? An excellent article was written for the IPOA Newsletter in December 2011 by John Noone Senior Fire Engineer at Arup. This is on page 6 of the IPOA December 2011 Newsletter
Fire Safety in Flats
The Department of Environment produced a document some years ago called Fire Safety in Flats which is attached here