Welcome Guest! The IOSH forums are a free resource to both members and non-members. Login or register to use them

Postings made by forum users are personal opinions. IOSH is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any of the information contained in forum postings. Please carefully consider any advice you receive.



Go to last post Go to first unread
#1 Posted : 09 February 2024 09:32:32(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

There is a 3 storey (Ground/First/Second) office block. On the first / second floor there are two means of escape- one into a protected stairwell, and the other outside to and external fire escape.

The problem I have is that the external fire escape has just been condemed as unsafe and so there is only a single fire exit into the protected stairwell.

The repairs are going to take two weeks to complete until the external fire escape is put right.

The max travel distance is 18 perhaps 20m but we can rearrange the office as its open plan and tell people to sit closer to the exits.

I'll probably be met with a barrage of questions that the building is unsafe but I thinks were good.

Automatic fire detections / Fire doors /smoke strips / 9-5hours / 30 staff / all fire checks completed etc.. anyone see a problem with the interim approach while the external fire escape is being repaired?

#2 Posted : 09 February 2024 12:32:52(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Hi Mersey, the external escape must have been installed for a reason and without it you have 50% less MoE, which means you have two storeys now having to use one MoE instead of two.

How about a fire evacuation practice to see how the employees cope with the single fire escape stairs, time the evacuation and see how long it takes.  Don't advertise the fire Drill in advance.

I advise you contact the local fire station FPO to ask for them to visit and provide guidance.

Take care.

#3 Posted : 09 February 2024 20:33:26(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

Is this 18 to 20m to the protected stairway ?

To be honest, it doesnt sound too bad and with a competent assessor doing a  FRA, its just possible (dont forget I am doing this blind) that you might not need to external staircase There are 100s, maybe 1000s of single staircase ofice buildings  in London (where I work) with similar dimentions who utilise a protected staircase and L3 detection for building of 4 and 5 floors. I have seen 6 floors at a push

With the greatest respect to FS101 (who I admire greatly), I would NOT contact your local fire safety team as they might panic and slap a prohibition notice or similar on you if they send a less than experienced Inspecting Officer over and get you in a heap of bother

When I was an IO I had lots of occasions where we were called to advise when a business lost their mutal escape route through next door in the city centre. There was nothing we could do other than agree a voluntary prohibition - rather than a notice. So I always suggest buying in advice is better for business in the long run You obviously need to review your FRA, it might work out cost effective to buy help to do the review and widen the scope to see if the staircase is necessary  BS9999 and other standards now allow for a more flexible approach than the old FP Act and building regs allow so you never know.....

#4 Posted : 10 February 2024 16:08:12(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

Hi Mersey and Messey, I disagree on the asking the Fire Safety Officer because I believe it is best to get the opinion from the professionals.  I have worked in Merseyside for all my working life and had occasion to request guidance from the local Fire Service FSO who were always sensible and looked at the bigger picture.  My views were not always correct in their eyes but I had the satisfaction of having their professional opinions.

I don't see it as you do Messey, the feeling is mutual by the way, and do not think a notice would be issued without guidance in the first place.

You have a PM from me in your in box.

#5 Posted : 12 February 2024 08:33:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user


This is a significant change, even though it is temporary and should trigger a full review of the FRA. Your competent assessor will then be able to assess the situation and make the required recommendations on how the situation should be managed, This is what is required to remain legally compliant.

With all due respect, canvassing opinions on this forum is not an appropriate method to determine what you need to do. Without actually seeing the building all specific advice is just guesswork. It may well be the correct advice, but without the FRA to back it up, it's not defendable in court.

All the best,


thanks 1 user thanked antbruce001 for this useful post.
firesafety101 on 12/02/2024(UTC)
Users browsing this topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.