Over the last few months I have been working on an apartment complex, there was a fire in one of the blocks which resulted in fatalities.
Some of the concerned owners contacted me and asked if I would meet with them to discuss their options. We met at the complex and went into the worst block which was closed down due to the severity of the damage that was caused by the fire. I had an initial walk through to access the damage and to decide what was required to re-open this block. This block remained closed for almost twelve months costing the owners in lost rent. The owners were not aware that the building did not comply with the fire safety certificate that was issued when they purchased their apartment. The owners and the management company did not want a re-occurrence of the previous incident so they retained my services to bring the entire complex up to standard. This incident resulted in fatalities, injuries, and property damage. You can read more about the issues that we discovered and the method that we used to bring the complex up to standard.
Does the apartment or apartment block comply with the original fire safety certificate? A fire safety certificate has been put in place for the safety of the occupants of a building.
There are some very easy ways of checking to see if it does comply.
This week we will look at the fire alarm system:
• Is there a fire alarm system that has been serviced and certified by a competent person. When you look at the control panel of the fire alarm system it is self-explanatory and easy to follow. Take your time and read the information that is available. Most competent installers will attach to the wall easy to follow instructions and a contact number in the case of an emergency.
• Is the common area protected by the fire alarm system, the common area is something that a lot of tenants are not familiar with.
The common area will include the stairway enclosure, the lobby area between apartments and the attic area.
Each of these areas will require detection, if you can get access to the attic area have a look to see if there is a smoke detector present. This will also be indicated on the control panel.
• The main fire alarm system will also be connected to each apartment, this will be done by the installation of a detector and sounder located just inside the apartment door.
• Each apartment will also require a standalone detection system. The areas that require smoke detectors are, bedrooms, hallway and living room, the Kitchen will require a heat detector, thesedetectors must be interconnected with a mains feed and a battery backup.
If you have concerns about the fire alarm system or the lack of an alarm system contact the management company and express your concerns.
If you need to contact me for advice feel free to do so.
Over the next few weeks we will discuss other issues that you will need to look out for in your apartment block.