Water mist solution for HMO properties in Oxford
Mews is a block of 16 three storey town houses in Headington, Oxford, several of these properties are rented to students as a HMO property. A typical HMO in this block is two bedrooms and a bathroom on the ground floor, a communal lounge diner and kitchen on the first floor and two further bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor accessed from the lounge below.
At the end of August 2011 Quenchfire were contacted by an HMO Landlord from Lyndworth Mews looking to install a misting system to the lounge dining area of his properties.
This course of action had been brought about as a result of Oxford City Council extending HMO licensing to all HMO properties in the Oxford area. The licences are issued under part 2 of the housing act 2004 additional licensing. Previously additional licensing or selected licensing needed central government approval but in 2010 this requirement was removed. Oxford currently licence all HMO properties on a yearly basis.
The licence conditions clearly stated that:
"The building is required to have a thirty minute protected route allowing the occupants to escape without the necessity of passing through a risk room. In the current arrangement the open plan first floor lounge area does not meet this standard. In lieu of an enclosed 30 minute fire escape route, install an active water based fire protection system.
The system design is to be a Total Compartment Application Scheme designed to discharge water mist to protect the first floor lounge area in entirety. In the event of a fire the system must be capable of automatic detection and activation via a linked heat alarm or via a heat sensitive break glass sensor. The system can either be connected to the mains water supply (subject to satisfactory pressure), or can be self contained in an adequately sized water storage vessel.
Where an alternative scheme can achieve the same objective, for example, if the preferred option is to construct a fire resistant partition, the case officer should be notified in order that a suitable alternative can be agreed."
The licence also covers upgrading of smoke and heat alarms as well as fire doors and closers.
David Moyce, Managing Director of Quenchfire Ltd proposed that a Plumis - Automist Fire suppression system was installed in the property to comply with the licence conditions. This could be achieved by mounting the Pluvia pump set in the kitchen under the sink and the wall nozzle could be located on the lounge dining room stud partition wall, activated by a heat alarm. And they were awarded the contract to install the Automist system in both properties.
The landlord said, "Installing Automist was the obvious solution to my problem; installing a fire resistant partition would have reduced the lettable space and reduced the rental value of the properties. The Automist system was installed quickly with minimal interference to my tenants or damage to the property. There is very little visible equipment and the system provides 24 hour 365 day protection for my tenants in the event of a fire."
The landlord is a chartered surveyor and multiple PRS investor and expert in the sector. As a result of this project Quenchfire Ltd have installed Automist active fire protection systems to a further 6 properties in Lyndworth Mews as well as various other HMO properties in the Oxford area. And there is significant interest from other licensing authorities in Automist as a solution to improved fire safety in HMO properties.
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... Mews is a block of 16 three storey town houses in Headington, Oxford, several of these properties are rented to students as a HMO property. ...