Carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment in a block of Flats

Carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment in a block of Flats

Carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment in a block of Flats should be easy, shouldn’t it? After all, there is clear guidance in Approved Document B (Volume 1) of the Building Regulations, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, Approved Document M, guidance documents from the Local Government Association (withdrawn, and republished by the Home Office), PAS 79, and a host of other documents, some old, and some new like the Fire Act 2021 which will come soon become enforceable.

Some of these apply to all blocks of flats, and some only to new ones, but all of them say any multi-occupied (residential) premises need a Fire Risk Assessment. That includes a house converted to two flats, as well as multi-story blocks, and everything in between.

There are 4 types of Fire Risk Assessment. The most common is a type 1 where only the common areas are inspected, and it is non-destructive. Type 3 also includes the individual dwellings (flats). Types 2 and 4 are destructive, and we rarely carry out destructive risk assessments.

A Fire Risk Assessment is based on the Fire Strategy, and many landlords / owners (Responsible Person) do not even know what one is, let alone if they have one. So, we are here to help.

We at Precision Safety have to know what, and when to apply these regulations and guidance documents, and apply them in a consistent and reasonable manner. We have to give suitable and sufficient advice to keep residents safe even if, despite everyone’s best efforts, a fire did break out.

At the same time, there has to be a balance between what is absolutely required and you must do it; and what is not but still presents a significant risk to those in the building. We will guide you on your Fire Strategy, on assessing the level of risk, and possible solutions to lower or eliminate risk. Not only will you do what is legally required – all that is reasonably practicable to reduce risk, but you can prove that you have done it.

Often, the solutions are easy, and cost little or nothing to achieve like documenting your Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan, and giving it to all residents (for example, let them know whether to get out, or stay put). Others might require more time and effort, like upgrading the flat doors to fire resisting doors which is now the landlord’s responsibility. We discuss with you what you already have, and what you still need to do, and when. And all of this is based on an increasingly rare commodity – common sense.

The new Building Safety Bill puts special emphasis on the 18-meter height rule, and Approved Document B has a trigger height of 11-meters. 

But where do you measure from and to? It matters! Knowing which Regulation applies to your building can save many thousands of pounds by, for example, not needing to fit a sprinkler system.

And it does not need to stop there. You are required to “Manage” your building. We at Precision can maintain the fire safety systems of your building. There are fire extinguisher certification checks that need to be completed annually, Emergency Lighting and Fire Alarm systems also need bi-annual certification checks. And if one goes wrong, we can fix or replace it after your agreement. We can even do lightning conductors, if your building has one. 

There is so much that needs to be done. Precision help and guide you, providing completed documentation where we can, and drafts which are simple to complete and understand when we can’t. Do you need a checklist? We will provide one. Do you need a Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan? We will help you create one. Why should you reinvent the wheel? Let us help.

 

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