By David Searl • 15 October 2020 • 10:49
Is fire alarm obligatory?
QUESTION: I live in an 11-storey block of 44 apartments and two pent houses on the Costa del Sol. The building is over 40 years old. There is no fire escape and there are no fire alarms. There are fire extinguishers on alternate floors. Fire engines cannot access the rear of the building. The Administration state there is no legal requirement for either fire alarms or a fire escape. Can this be true? M.G. (Costa del Sol)
ANSWER: Yes, it is true. In buildings put up before 2006 there was very little legal requirement in national law regarding fire safety. Even if your own municipality has some stricter regulations in place but no building inspector has called on you to enforce them, you are not legally obligated. More modern buildings are designed for hallways and staircases to block direct airflow that feeds fires but even they are not required to have alarm systems or fire escapes. If you wish to discuss this at the AGM, you might want to consider individual smoke alarms in each flat which is a solution favoured by many large buildings.
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