Fire risk assessment no nos. If your fire risk assessor comes across these scenarios in the communal area of your block of flats, they will need action. This is far from an exhaustive list. Another blog post with more scenarios to follow soon!
We think these stairs speak for themselves. These stairs were the only way in and out of two flats – also the only fire exit. Communal areas must be kept in a good state of repair. The carpet is a trip hazard. The carpet isn’t kept clean – dust and debris are highly combustible. Carpets for escape routes need to comply with the relevant BS 4790 – specification for the assessment and labelling of floor coverings. If your stairs look like this. Urgent action is required
In this block CCTV was installed. A great arson prevention measure. However, modern buildings are built in such a way that if fire breaks, the walls, ceilings, floors and doors contain the fire in that particular section of the building for a reasonable period. Here the contractors who installed the CCTV have failed to use cable fire stopping.
Communal areas are not storage areas, they provide a safe way in and out of the building. In the event of a fire these items are not only a trip hazard, they are a source of fuel for a fire. All materials used in fire escapes must comply with building regulations/meet legal requirements so the area provides a good amount of fire resistance so people can get out of a building safely. These items are combustible and at the bottom of the only stairs in/out of the building.
Whether or not your block has a fire detection system in the communal areas or what type is influenced by factors such as how the block is built, how it is used, who uses it and whether it is above commercial premises. Any installed fire detection measures must be tested weekly, visually inspected daily and maintained in accordance with manufactures guidelines. Smoke and heat detectors do save lives and the most likely outbreak of fire is likely to be in your home. If you don’t already have them get smoke and heat detectors in your own flat.
- Your local fire and rescue service have a whole host of information about fire prevention in the home and may do home visits to advise those who are elderly or vulnerable. Here is some information that applies to everyone from the London Fire Brigade
- Your local fire and rescue service also provide information about fire prevention in relation to property management. Here is some information that applies to tenants and landlords from the London Fire Brigade
- HM Government publishes a guide on fire risk assessments for sleeping accommodation. This includes communal areas of flats.
- The Leasehold Advisory Service is the Government funded advisory service for people who own leasehold flats. They have published an article titled – Healthy and safety in buildings containing flats: Obligations and who pays
- The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) has published a general guide to fire safety in blocks of flats
Rosecroft Property Services provide fire risk assessments for communal areas. Get in touch if this is something you wish to discuss or require.