Malcolm Thomas: Fire Safety In Residential And Commercial Buildings
Leasehold Life is pleased to publish another article from guest contributor Malcolm Thomas, Associate Director of Property Tectonics focusing on the requirement that not only should a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment be undertaken on all common areas in blocks of flats and maisonettes under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 but that those assessments should be undertaken by a competent person defined as “someone with training and experience or knowledge and other qualities”.
The responsible person may be a residents’ management company, managing agents and landlords.
Undertaking the fire risk assessment and recording the findings satisfies certain duties under the RRO. These assessments invariably identify shortcomings in fire safety measures and recommend improvements. Issues which may be highlighted in fire risk assessments include the adequacy of fire safety measures such as emergency lighting; installing fire resisting doors to flat entrances; posting fire action and other notices and signs; servicing door closers in corridors; providing advisory leaflets and notices for occupants on storing mobility scooters, bicycles, recycling waste, furniture and furnishings which may obstruct escape routes.
Fire and rescue and environmental health authorities are keen to establish with housing landlords where there are deficiencies in fire safety and to determine what plans have been prepared to implement improvements where necessary. Building insurers will probably take a keen interest as well.
Properties often comprise a mix of commercial and residential users, and risk assessments have to be exchanged and acted upon in such circumstances. New housing schemes may have engineered fire safety solutions and landlords need to ensure that risk assessments in these properties are carried out by competent assessors. Landlords also need to have in place a re-inspection regime to keep assessments under review.
The Local Government Group published new guidance in July 2011 entitled “ Fire safety in purpose built blocks of flats”. This guidance seeks to complement the guidance “Fire safety risk assessment – sleeping accommodation” published by H M Government and issued in 2006. Both documents are freely available to download.
Interactive Web Classes
Property Tectonics run live and interactive web classes on fire safety and other topics which are also made available on DVD. Our latest DVD, available via www.tiny.cc/ct4fs, explains the purpose and content of the July 2011 fire guidance “Fire safety in purpose built blocks of flats”.
If you require any further information please contact:
E-mail: [email protected]
T: 07764 687578