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Do flat owners under their own management need fire risk assessment?


Guest LauraGibs
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Article 9(6) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states,

As soon as practicable after the assessment is made or reviewed, the responsible person must record the information prescribed by paragraph (7) where-

  • he employs five or more employees;
  • a licence under an enactment is in force in relation to the premises; or
  • an alterations notice requiring this is in force in relation to the premises.

So if you do not employ five or more employees you do not have to record the prescribe information in paragraph 7 but you do need to conduct a fire risk assessment and if you choose you can record it.

(7) The prescribed information is-

  • the significant findings of the assessment, including the measures which have been or will be taken by the responsible person pursuant to this Order; and
  • any group of persons identified by the assessment as being especially at risk.

Record means to record the information by writing it down, typing on a typewriter or computer and any other recording means that provides a copy to be read.

​I am not going to argue with a solicitor but just point him to the above legislation.

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Hello there

On a private management flat of six, freehold two storey two separate entrances. we do all our on cleaning maintenance inside

the only regular worker on our premises is the window cleaner outside who uses a long brush to clean the top windows.

Do we need to hang in up in our communal hallway of three flat each, a "certificate of employee liability insurance"?

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Is he an employee, or a contractor, if he is a contractor, why do you need employee liability insurance? Check out page 4 of http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hse40.pdf

"I know" But we have a new neighbour here, who works in insurance. She has re-done our insurance quote, then shortly afterwards puts up on the wall a 'Certificate of employees insurance 'in a frame at the bottom of our stairs. (Ideal place to leave it, if someone falls down the small flight of stairs)

I took this down, as I believe "that our private block which is a Private limited company manage by us residents of 6 directors".

This certificate on the wall "for me" gives the impression that we are a commercial or community dwelling. Having this in view in a private block could give anyone or even a contractor to claim against us. As I have described our situation. Do we need this certificate on the wall?

Thanks sue

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Sorry Sue I do not know, my expertise is in fire safety not law and you should be talking to a legal beaver. However the question I would be asking is " Why do you need employee insurance let alone displaying certificates if you do not have employees" the window cleaner is most probably a contractor not an employee and the HSE handout explains that. On my house and car I have third party claim insurance in case anybody makes a claim against me but not employee insurance.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Tom,

We have a victorian House that has been cponverted into 3 flats and I understand that a fire risk assesment needs to be done for the common areas. I was just wondering how often does the fire risk assesment need to be done?

Thanks

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The regulations state,

Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if :-

a there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid;

or

b there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates including when the premises, special, technical and organisational measures, or organisation of the work undergo significant changes, extensions, or conversions, and where changes to an assessment are required as a result of any such review, the responsible person must make them.

Interpret how you chose, I would consider it as a dynamic risk assessment and you would be assessing it on a daily basis looking for any changes that may effect the safety of the premises, if there is then conduct a fire risk assessment if not then take no action. Every two to three years would conduct a full FRA to ensure the premises was satisfactory and I had not missed anything.

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  • 3 months later...
Guest ColinCr

we are an owner-run management company which owns the freehold of a building containing 21dwellings (8 terraced houses and 13 flats on 2 floors) We understand that we should carry out a fire risk assessment for those areas which are 'in common' and for which we have responsibility. Can you confirm that this is the case, and direct me to the relevant forms and guidance. We will be completing the risk assessment ourselves and would be grateful for any assistance you can give. Some of these areas are covered access passageways to front doors and are open on one side - would these need to be included as well?

Regards

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I have responded to this question before and the response is the same. You are subject to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and you are required to conduct a fire risk assessment (FRA) of all the common areas including the open walkway you speak of, however these walkways will make the FRA a little simpler. If I were conducting a FRA I would use Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats and http://www.firesafe.org.uk/regulatory-reform-fire-safety-order-2005/ and http://www.firesafe.org.uk/fire-risk-assessment/ also https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-sleeping-accommodation .

To my knowledge if you want step by step guidance I am afraid it is not available unless you employ a fire risk assessor.

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  • 2 months later...
Guest cliff

Hi

Just had fire officer round saying we need 3 fire alarms all wired into mains.

My downstairs neighbour and i live in a terraced house converted in the 60s to 2 seperate flats,both of us own our own flat and both have exits at the back,we have a shared hall about 10' x 6' a joint front door and then our own doors, his for downstairs mine for upstairs.

The fore service came round a year or so ago and put smoke detectors in the hall and each of the flats now he says they are no good and we have to have the wired system,is this right?

many thanks

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According to the LACoR's guidance you require Grade D: LD2 coverage in the common areas and a heat detector in each flat in the room/lobby opening onto the escape route (interlinked) so the fire inspector is correct but I would contact the fire and rescue service and ask for them to put it in writing.

www.cieh.org/uploadedFiles/Core/Policy/Publications_and_information_services/Policy_publications/Publications/National_fire_safety_guidance_08.pdf

hhttp://www.firesafe.org.uk/uk-fire-rescue-services-details/

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Guest Knowledge seeker

Hi

I have a flat in a converted Victorian house, flats on each of the three floors, each flat owner jointly owning the freehold. One flat is rented out to private tenants, the other two are owner occupied. We were advised by our solicitor when we bought the flat 18 months ago to carry out a FRA for the communal corridor and stairs (actually he asked for it from the vendors before we purchased but they weren't able to provide one so we waived it to secure the sale). We are now looking to get the FRA done and based on previous comments it looks like this should be a straight forward with the freeholders as RP's.

The one question I have is whether the rented flat changes any of the requirements of the FRA? Or can we just carry out the FRA ourselves as RP's and not have to formally record our findings? (though I think we will want to record it as solicitors clearly seem to be asking for this at sale anyway)

Thanks

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Guest Ron Williams

Hi,

I have a flat, in a block of 6, two flats per floor, with a communal entrance and a single stairwell leading to the upper floors, we have just been informed that we must pay £7000 per flat to bring up to Fire Regulations. The cost is mainly

to move the service boxes which are located in the communal halls and relocate them and to close in fire proof cupboards. The stairwell has a fire door on each landing. I believe the property is aprox. 20 years old. To me this figure seems rather excessive and although we have a tenants association the management company must surely have some responsibility for the costs.

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Hi Ron

The management company are the Responsible Person (RP) under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and have to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) in the common areas. The results of the FRA have to be implemented and without a copy of the FRA it is impossible to say if it is reasonable. The matter of costs is between the tenants association and the management company. Although the management company is the RP it is up to them how they recoup their costs and is not laid down in any legislation.

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Hi Knowledge seeker

The FRA only covers the common area and the flats are not involved, except the front doors. The only problem you may have if the front door of the rented flat does not meet the required standard and they decide not to co-operate. Although you may not need to record the FRA I would, it saves a lot of aggravation in the future.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest cliff

Hi

Just had fire officer round saying we need 3 fire alarms all wired into mains.

My downstairs neighbour and i live in a terraced house converted in the 60s to 2 seperate flats,both of us own our own flat and both have exits at the back,we have a shared hall about 10' x 6' a joint front door and then our own doors, his for downstairs mine for upstairs.

The fore service came round a year or so ago and put smoke detectors in the hall and each of the flats now he says they are no good and we have to have the wired system,is this right?

many thanks

Hi

Thank you for your reply,most helpful. the answer and yourself,would you know if a wireless interlinked system would suffice? as not too keen on the wired system, power cuts etc,slim chance i know but i would feel more comfortable with a wireless system

many thanks

cliff

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I would say yes, PROVIDING you have mains powered but radio interlinked smoke alarms, safelincs can supply them Click here

The idea of them being mains powered is so that you can not take the battery out, thereby stop the smoke alarm from working.

I feel I should also point out that safelincs can supply mains interlinked smoke alams too which work out at around 1/3 of the cost of a mains radio linked smoke alarm. Click here

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

I have a flat, in a block of 6, two flats per floor, with a communal entrance and a single stairwell leading to the upper floors, we have just been informed that we must pay £7000 per flat to bring up to Fire Regulations. The cost is mainly

to move the service boxes which are located in the communal halls and relocate them and to close in fire proof cupboards. The stairwell has a fire door on each landing. I believe the property is aprox. 20 years old. To me this figure seems rather excessive and although we have a tenants association the management company must surely have some responsibility for the costs.

By service boxes do you mean fuseboards/consumer units? If so this is a suspiciously overpriced & complex solution to what is at the end of the day a low risk.

Alternative solutions are available, for example it would be a fraction of the cost to simply replace all the consumer units with ones having non combustible casings (as per the new wiring regulations)

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The common areas are the responsibility of the management company your flat is a domestic property and is your responsibility. If the Fire Risk Assessment considers a fire alarm is necessary in the common areas then the management company is responsible but the costs could be shared amongst the tenants through the management fees. If it is domestic smoke/heat detectors in your flat it is your responsibility and you should provide them/maintain them.

In October providing smoke and CO detectors in rented properties will be the responsibility of the landlord, check out, The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Bianca

Hello, may I ask for advice? Kind Tom?

I am a leaseholder in a 3 storey Victorian conversion with two neighbours above me.We share a communal hallway and stairwell. Our managing agent has told us we must make sure our individual entrances comply as fire doors but has not offered an assessment. A couple of years ago the agent had the electrical cupboard in the hall made safety compliant (out of the blue) but didn't open this service up to the leaseholders regrettably. Now it seems a communal fire safety issue is to be an individual leaseholder responsibility and expense.

I don't believe our doors(to my eyes identical) are fully compliant but would like professional help confirming this and advice whether small modifications or a replacement are necessary.

Is it totally outside the managing agent's responsibility to provide this service? If so, who should I turn to (and pay) for 'independent' advice? I'm not in the market for paying for a full fire risk assessment, but I'm keen to have a trustworthy opinion of my current door. A builder has advised one of my neighbours says that his door is fine but I am sceptical...

Grateful for any advice,

Bianca

London

 

 

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It is the managing agent who is responsible for ensuring your front doors meets the required standard and for you to co-operate. The front doors of all the flats are part of the common area and should be included in the FRA conducted by the Responsible Person (RP) and it should be them who tell you what is required. They will most probably recoup their costs by increasing the service charge.

If you wish to have it checked out by an independent person check out http://fdis.co.uk/ 

Edited by Tom Sutton
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