HMO House of Multiple Occupation

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HMO

Blueproof

Regulations

HMO House of Multiple Occupation

A HMO is a house of multiple occupation and under license by the government of England and Wales rented out by at least 3 people. Reference UK government.

Blueproof is recognised as an automatic active fire suppression device.

The full version of the Statutory Instrument (SI) and the LACOR documents are not published here and should be consulted for further guidance. The relative sections regarding the application of Blueproof have been addressed in the following after numerous enquires to Bluerad.

Case Study

Blueproof is the ideal solution for homes of multiple occupancy that require a fire suppression system.

The Blueproof fire suppressant device was first installed by Ecologic homes Ltd into a House of Multiple Occupation in January 2015, shortly followed by installation in three, 16 storey tower blocks managed by Nottingham City Homes (NCH). It has now been fitted into vulnerable children’s homes, schools and private houses throughout the UK. It is also currently on trial in many other housing associations that belong to Arm’s-Length Management Organisations (ALMOS) across the UK.

Blueproof, developed by Bluerad LLP, fights fire and also reduces the amount of toxic smoke and fumes; it buys time and saves lives.

Nottingham City Homes took an executive decision to trial the fire suppression device Blueproof in its properties in keeping with its goals:

  • “To be a first class housing organisation in the eyes of our tenants and leaseholders
  • To be a major player in the transformation of neighbourhoods.”

Nottingham City Homes is keen to uphold its values, namely that it is:

  • Passionate about delivering outstanding services
  • Respectful – to our colleagues, our customers, our communities
  • Always looking for ways to improve
  • Providing great value for money
  • Committed to working effectively with each other, our customers and our partners.

Nottingham City Homes describes risk as:

‘Anything that poses a threat to the achievement of the Company’s objectives and programmes or the delivery of services to the residents and communities of Nottingham’.

Blueproof meets the goals and values expected by NCH, and at the same time provides an incredibly cost effective alternative to sprinklers and mist systems. It aims to satisfy the principle of ‘As Low as Reasonably Practicable’ by providing a fire suppression solution that is acceptable to the requirements to Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005.

These factors have contributed towards Blueproof being voted product of the year by ALARM (the Public Risk Management Association) and shortlisted for an innovation award by a major retailer.

Validation

The Blueproof validation concept is to underline the performance of the device in terms of its specified quality and reliability. This is proof that it performs consistently. Its efficiency and speed of operation has been demonstrated at both the Building Research Establishment (BRE), and at Ollerton (Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Fire Training Unit) in full scale fires.

Quality

Bluerad operates a fully integrated Health Safety Environmental and Quality (HSEQ.MS) Management System to ISO 14001:2015 underwritten by comprehensive performance standards.

Engineering design is certified to BS EN 442-2:2014 and BS EN ISO 4126-2:2003. Blueproof carries the CE mark 0038, validated by Lloyds of London.

It is manufactured under ISO BS EN ISO 9001 – 2008/ 13485 – 2012/ 14001 -2004/ 2859-1999-1, to which its quality is assured, validated and approved by UKAS 0059.

Reliability

Blueproof has been field tested for over 4 years with no leaks or failures reported from the thousands installed.

Blueproof has the following features:

  • Installation can be completed in minutes by a plumber or DIY enthusiast and it can be easily integrated into the yearly boiler maintenance programme.
  • It operates automatically and is self targeting. It does not require external power.
  • It has a ready water supply from the radiators to which it is attached.
  • It is maintenance free.
  • Its 20 year predicted lifespan (10 year if in direct UV light) means regular replacement costs are avoided.
  • No smoke ‘drag down’ occurs (forcing toxic gas to the floor) when Blueproof activates, in contrast to sprinkler activation.

Performance Comparison

During full scale fire experiments undertaken by BRE (Report No. 204505), the average time taken for sprinklers to activate was 7 mins.

Similar experiments undertaken (BRE Report No.296583) showed that the average time taken for Blueproof was 1 min.

NB No comparison was made to water mist systems as they rely on actuation by electronic means.

The results from the Installation of fire sprinklers monitoring project commissioned by the Welsh Government show that space, water supply and cost cause difficulties for sprinkler systems. This demonstrates that there is significant scope for alternative fire suppression systems.

Blueproof and the Law in England and Wales

Blueproof and the Law in England and Wales

With reference to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order SI 2005 No. 1541

Which can be found on the website www.legislation.gov.uk

Meaning of “responsible person”

  1. In the Order “responsible person” means—

(ii) the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.

Meaning of “owner”

“owner” means the person for the time being receiving the rack-rent of the premises in connection with which the word is used, whether on his own account or as agent or trustee for another person, or who would so receive the rack-rent if the premises were let at a rack-rent;

Meaning of “general fire precautions”

4.—(1) In the Order “general fire precautions” in relation to premises means, subject to paragraph (2)—

(a)       measures to reduce the risk of fire on the premises and the risk of the spread of fire on the premises;

‘Blueproof provides a measure which may be compensation or substitution for one or more passive measures normally required such as fire resistance of escape route structure and doors’

(b)       measures in relation to the means of escape from the premises;

‘Blueproof is a device proven to reduce the temperature and smoke effects throughout a multi storey premises.

 

The measures must provide a means of escape such that a person can turn their back on fire and make their own unaided way to a place of (ultimate or relative) safety. Blueproof reacts quickly to suppress the fire, slow its growth, reduce dense smoke and therefore help to secure and keep escape routes available’.

(d)       measures in relation to the means of fire fighting on the premises;

‘Blueproof contributes and provides those means.It does not require a person to activate it or place themselves in danger by firefighting. It is always available to operate while there is water in the central heating radiator. It will not be misplaced and does not require training in its use.

It does not require expensive additional, water supplies, space or regular maintenance. It is non intrusive and cost effective in comparison to the provision of testing and maintenance of portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets’.

(f)        measures in relation to the arrangements for action to be taken in the event of fire on the premises, including (ii) measures to mitigate the effects of the fire;

‘Blueproof provides those measures. It can mitigate the effect of fire and smoke, it buys time and can save lives. The cost of fire and smoke damage may be reduced – considerably, if there is no one present when fire breaks out.

It uses much less water, limiting the damage caused by alternative fire suppression systems, and reduces the demand required upon arrival of the fire service’.

Duty to take general fire precautions

8.—(1) The responsible person must

(b)       in relation to relevant persons who are not his employees, take such general fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances of the case to ensure that the premises are safe.

Fire Fighting Equipment

13.—(1) Where necessary (whether due to the features of the premises, the activity carried on there, any hazard present or any other relevant circumstances) in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that—

  • the premises are, to the extent that it is appropriate, equipped with appropriate fire-fighting equipment and with fire detectors and alarms;

‘Blueproof provides fire-fighting equipment. It is the enforcing authority which may accept to relax the requirement of Article 13 (1) (a) and (b); the enforcing authority will expect the fact to be recorded in the Fire Risk Assessment’.

 

(3)       The responsible person must, where necessary—

(a)       take measures for fire-fighting in the premises, adapted to the nature of the activities carried on there and the size of the undertaking and of the premises concerned;

(b)       nominate competent persons to implement those measures and ensure that the number of such persons, their training and the equipment available to them are adequate, taking into account the size of, and the specific hazards involved in, the premises concerned; and

(c)        arrange any necessary contacts with external emergency services, particularly as regards fire-fighting, rescue work, first-aid and emergency medical care.

(4)       A person is to be regarded as competent for the purposes of paragraph (3)(b) where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to implement the measures referred to in that paragraph.

LACORS Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services

With reference to LACORS (Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services)

infromation on LACORS can be found on the website:

www.cieh.org under Housing National fire safety guidance 08

HOUSING – FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisions

for certain types of existing housing

‘Published in July 2008 (4 years before the advent of Blueproof). As its name suggests, the LACORS Guidance is just that.  It is guidance.  It is not a prescriptive set of standards which must always be complied with because it acknowledges that other fire safety solutions may be just as good ref: Residential Landlords Association.’

5.3 The aims of the fire risk assessment.

5.3 The aims of the fire risk assessment are:

  • to identify the fire hazards;
  • to reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to As Low As Reasonably  Practicable; and
  • to decide what physical fire precautions and management arrangements are necessary to ensure the safety of people in the premises if a fire does start.

‘Blueproof is an active fire suppression system that contributes to As Low As Reasonably Practicable(ALARP) based on cost benefit analysis’

26.3 Consideration to be given to the role a water suppression systems can play in existing residential accommodation.

26.3 It is recommended that serious consideration be given to the role water suppression systems can play in existing residential accommodation.

The retro-fitting of water suppression systems in existing, occupied

residential accommodation does need a considered cost/benefit analysis.

‘Blueproof is a low cost solution for the benefits it provides, fitted in minutes, non intrusive, from as little as £10 per room compared to the thousands with alternative systems.

Ref: Cost Benefit Analysis of residential sprinkler-final report March 2012 264227 BRE Global/ Report of cost benefit analysis of residential sprinklers for Wales. BRE Fire and Security Client report number 276803v2

25.1 The provision of fire blankets and simple fire extinguishers in restricting the development and spread of small fires in their early stages.

25.1 The provision of fire blankets and simple fire extinguishers can be useful in restricting the development and spread of small fires in their early stages.

For larger fires people need training to know what type of fire an extinguisher can safely be used on. For these reasons extinguishers are not recommended inside units of accommodation unless there are resident staff who are trained in their use.

‘Blueproof has been developed to mitigate this risk and does not require anyone to delay their escape to operate the system, nor require training in its use. A version of Blueproof to dispense foam in kitchen fires is under development and will be available soon’.

26.7 Adequacy of the water supply and mains water pressure when considering a water suppression system.

26.7 When considering a water suppression system, regard must be paid to the adequacy of the water supply and mains water pressure.

adequacy of the water supply and mains water pressure when considering a water suppression system

‘With Blueproof the water is already available in the central heating system and the pressure is more than adequate on exposure to fire’

26.10 Standards for water suppression systems.

26.10 Standards for water suppression systems: where a water suppression system is agreed upon, its design, installation and maintenance should be in accordance with BS 9251:2005 or another equivalent standard approved by the enforcing authority. Approval of the type of system and its design should be sought from the enforcing authority prior to installation.

This is relevant to an installation required to satisfy an enforcing authority under the legislation, for example: as a compensating feature. However such approval would not be a requirement in the case where Blueproof was installed as a low cost property protection measure alone.

 

BS 9251:2014 which replaces 2005 in the legislation does not satisfy the ALARP criteria under item 5.3 in terms of capital expenditure and operational expenditure ref: Cost Benefit Analysis of residential sprinkler-final report March 2012 264227 BRE Global/Report of cost benefit analysis of residential sprinklers for Wales. BRE Fire and Security Client report number 276803v2/ The Scottish Government Research Project to Review the Cost Effectiveness of Sprinklers in Residential Properties Final Report May 2015 A9588006

‘Blueproof meets the EU General Product Safety Regulations and Pressure Equipment Directive 2014 BS EN 442 and BS EN ISO 4126-2:2003 and carry’s the CE 0038 mark with Lloyds approval. It has been proven in full scale fire experiments at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and in a multi floored building’

32.9 The responsible person must ensure that any water suppression system is fully maintained and ready for use at all times.

32.9 where provided, the responsible person must ensure that any water suppression system is fully maintained and ready for use at all times.

The landlord should enter into a maintenance contract with a competent person or company to maintain the system in accordance with clause 7 (maintenance) of BS 9251;

‘Blueproof minimises the cost of this undertaking and operational cost’

33.3 Alternative arrangement will need to achieve at least an equivalent level of fire safety.

33.3 The solutions recommended here are considered to be the most conventional and practical for most situations. There is no obligation to adopt these exact solutions, and it is possible that the relevant requirement can be met in some other way. However, any alternative arrangement will need to achieve at least an equivalent level of fire safety.

‘Blueproof is proven to deliver a high level a level of fire safety unsurpassed by alternative systems’

A.54 General fire precautions include where necessary.

A.54 General fire precautions include, where necessary:

  • Measures to reduce the risk of fire occurring;
  • Measures to reduce the spread of any fire through the premises; (Blueproof)
  • measures in relation to the means of escape; (Blueproof reduces smoke)
  • Measures to ensure the means of escape can be

Safely used at all times; (Blueproof reduces smoke and makes it easier to breathe)

  • Fire fighting measures; (Blueproof)
  • Means of fire detection and warning;
  • Action to be taken in the event of fire; and mitigating the effects of fire. (Blueproof mitigates the effects of fire)

Why Blueproof

Blueproof is the most cost effective system and provides un-suppassed protection in compassion to other systems.

According to the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA)

Technical Guidance Note No 1 • Second edition: November 2012

Experience has shown that the required pressure/flows may not be met even when a town’s main supply is considered adequate when fitting a system. In reference to the reports and LACORS

26.7 When considering a water suppression system, regard must be paid to the adequacy of the water supply and mains water pressure.

‘With Blueproof the water is already available in the central heating system and the pressure is more than adequate on exposure to fire.’ 

32.9 Where provided, the responsible person must ensure that any water suppression system is fully maintained and ready for use at all times.

‘Blueproof minimises the cost of this undertaking and operational cost.’

Mixed occupancy protection

The protection of buildings with mixed occupancies, such as flats above shops, needs consideration on a case-by-case basis as higher densities specified in BS 9521 may be required.

From Appendix 3

Statement of BAFSA’s views on non – compliant sprinkler systems in residential and domestic premises

BAFSA is often asked to express a view on the use of sprinkler systems that do not comply with BS 9251. It has to be understood that there is no legal obligation to comply with this, or indeed any other standard unless such requirement is written into law.

Note that In exceptional circumstances the need for fire fighting equipment may be wavered in a HMO occupied by vulnerable people on receipt of a risk assessment from a competent person which indicates that the occupants would not be capable of operating such equipment or may endanger themselves by the misuse of the equipment in a fire situation.

That is why Blueproof is now installed in vulnerable children’s homes, schools, tower blocks, HMOs and homes throughout the UK’.

Further Development

Blueproof K is now under fast track development to provide protection in the kitchen by dispensing foam onto deep fat fryer fires, and a version is already available to protect washing machines and dishwashers.

Bluerad have teamed up with John Guest, The Birmingham Plastic Bottle Company and Plastic Enclosures to produce the product.

For information contact: Pete Wignall (Client Liaison) peter.wignall@bluerad.eu