Fire risk assessment

In my flat, I'm getting intense cooking smells from the flat downstairs whenever they cook. Browsing this and other forums, I saw some people claiming that if the cooking smell can penetrate the ceiling, so can fire smoke and fire.
Therefore, I decided to appoint a fire surveyor to assess whether there is a risk, and if something needs to be done.
My questions are
  1. Am I going in the right direction with this, i.e. is a fire surveyor the right person to appoint?
  2. Do they need to hold any certification?
  3. One surveyor I spoke with mentioned something about a "compartmentation survey". Any clues on how handy this is?
  4. How enforceable is this against the freeholder if I get a survey done? (all residents own part of the freehold btw).

Comments

  • 35har1old
    35har1old Posts: 945
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    edited 15 January at 11:33AM
    Skag said:
    In my flat, I'm getting intense cooking smells from the flat downstairs whenever they cook. Browsing this and other forums, I saw some people claiming that if the cooking smell can penetrate the ceiling, so can fire smoke and fire.
    Therefore, I decided to appoint a fire surveyor to assess whether there is a risk, and if something needs to be done.
    My questions are
    1. Am I going in the right direction with this, i.e. is a fire surveyor the right person to appoint?
    2. Do they need to hold any certification?
    3. One surveyor I spoke with mentioned something about a "compartmentation survey". Any clues on how handy this is?
    4. How enforceable is this against the freeholder if I get a survey done? (all residents own part of the freehold btw).

    Do you own the flat?
    There is four types of fire  assessment 2 that are non destructive and 2 that are destructive 

  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,488
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    Skag said:

    One surveyor I spoke with mentioned something about a "compartmentation survey". Any clues on how handy this is?
    This is the important bit.

    You could be getting cooking smells in your flat because your windows aren't properly closed, or you have trickle vents slightly open.  In terms of fire risk that wouldn't be so much of a worry.

    But if the flats aren't properly compartmentalised then fire and smoke can spread internally within the building.  In effect each flat should be within a 'shell' which is smoke and fireproofed to a given standard (e.g. 30 minutes).  Common issues are things like non-fire rated downlighters, or gaps around services (e.g. an internal stack pipe).

    The problem may be that to get a thorough compartmentation survey typically involves some intrusive inspection - so you may want to find out more from the surveyor about exactly what they need to do, and/or limitations on the usefulness of the survey if there are inaccessible areas.
  • Skag
    Skag Posts: 480
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    edited 15 January at 12:14PM
    35har1old said:
    Skag said:
    In my flat, I'm getting intense cooking smells from the flat downstairs whenever they cook. Browsing this and other forums, I saw some people claiming that if the cooking smell can penetrate the ceiling, so can fire smoke and fire.
    Therefore, I decided to appoint a fire surveyor to assess whether there is a risk, and if something needs to be done.
    My questions are
    1. Am I going in the right direction with this, i.e. is a fire surveyor the right person to appoint?
    2. Do they need to hold any certification?
    3. One surveyor I spoke with mentioned something about a "compartmentation survey". Any clues on how handy this is?
    4. How enforceable is this against the freeholder if I get a survey done? (all residents own part of the freehold btw).

    Do you own the flat?
    There is four types of fire  assessment 2 that are non destructive and 2 that are destructive 


    Yes I own the flat.
    Incidentally, the flat downstairs has opened a hole in their ceiling to replace a pipe, and it's currently left open to dry, so destructive assessment won't be so destructive.
  • Skag
    Skag Posts: 480
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    edited 15 January at 12:11PM
    Section62 said:
    Skag said:

    One surveyor I spoke with mentioned something about a "compartmentation survey". Any clues on how handy this is?
    This is the important bit.

    You could be getting cooking smells in your flat because your windows aren't properly closed, or you have trickle vents slightly open.  In terms of fire risk that wouldn't be so much of a worry.

    But if the flats aren't properly compartmentalised then fire and smoke can spread internally within the building.  In effect each flat should be within a 'shell' which is smoke and fireproofed to a given standard (e.g. 30 minutes).  Common issues are things like non-fire rated downlighters, or gaps around services (e.g. an internal stack pipe).

    The problem may be that to get a thorough compartmentation survey typically involves some intrusive inspection - so you may want to find out more from the surveyor about exactly what they need to do, and/or limitations on the usefulness of the survey if there are inaccessible areas.

    Ok, good to know that I got some useful information over the phone.
    Part of the issue is that there are gaps on my kitchen floor, but I figured that, the smell shouldn't be penetrating the ceiling -any ceiling- at all. Since it does, it means that there are gaps.
    Now, in a 1900s mansion block, I don't think that any compartmentation has taken place. There's practically lath/plaster, joists, and floorboards.
    How do you ensure compartmentation based on that, and whose responsibility is it to ensure that steps are taken towards good compartmentation?




  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,488
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    Skag said:
    35har1old said:
    Skag said:
    In my flat, I'm getting intense cooking smells from the flat downstairs whenever they cook. Browsing this and other forums, I saw some people claiming that if the cooking smell can penetrate the ceiling, so can fire smoke and fire.
    Therefore, I decided to appoint a fire surveyor to assess whether there is a risk, and if something needs to be done.
    My questions are
    1. Am I going in the right direction with this, i.e. is a fire surveyor the right person to appoint?
    2. Do they need to hold any certification?
    3. One surveyor I spoke with mentioned something about a "compartmentation survey". Any clues on how handy this is?
    4. How enforceable is this against the freeholder if I get a survey done? (all residents own part of the freehold btw).

    Do you own the flat?
    There is four types of fire  assessment 2 that are non destructive and 2 that are destructive 


    Yes I own the flat.
    Incidentally, the flat downstairs has opened a hole in their ceiling to replace a pipe, and it's currently left open to dry, so destructive assessment won't be so destructive.
    I think 35har1old may be confusing 'testing' with 'assessment'.

    Materials and assemblies of materials are sometimes 'tested' to determine their fire performance - e.g. a door is installed in a small panel of brickwork to verify that the fire performance of the door when installed is as expected.  This kind of test can be destructive or non-destructive.  In this sense a 'destructive' test could involve creating a fire on one side of the door and seeing how long it takes to burn through.

    For obvious reasons you don't really want destructive testing of your flat.

    Intrusive inspection/testing is a different thing - e.g. a hole cut in the ceiling to see whether the void around a pipe is correctly sealed where it passes through into the flat above.

    Responsibilty for ensuring the fire safety of buildings is complicated, especially with older purpose-built flats.  Really you need to get specialist advice if the assessment identifies issues.  The building freeholder (if applicable) may have some responsibility, but in any event will need to be involved (if only to agree to what is being done) if work has to be done to improve compartmentalisation.
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