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


Guest LauraGibs
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Guest MargBeck

Hello,

I am a one third freeholder in a Victorian house that was converted to flats in the 1930s. All three freeholders live in the flats we own. I have had electrical checks and rewiring done by a qualified electrician and had the work signed off by local Building Control. There is a shared front door and internal stair. There is no furniture on the stair and only a metal table in the hall for our post. Please could you direct me to the correct Fire Risk Assessment Form so I can conduct an assessment. Thanks, Margaret

 

 

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As owner/occupiers you are responsible for fire safety in your own flats and collectively you are subject to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Which designate you as Responsible Persons who are required to conduct a fire risk assessment in the common areas ( front door and internal stair) and rectify any faults you may find. To help you conduct a FRA you should study http://www.firesafe.org.uk/fire-risk-assessment/ and the guide for Sleeping accommodation.

Check out http://www.safelincs.co.uk/free-fire-risk-assessment-form/ for FRA form.

Edited by Tom Sutton
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi there, I wonder if you could help me. I live in a purpose built block of 10 flats, 6 of which share the same door and stairwell. I arranged a fire risk assessment for the communal area by a recommended company but as soon as the guy arrived he didn't know why he was here! He explained it's very unusual to get them done in blocks of flats it's mainly for office blocks and schools etc.

He did the assessment anyway but recommended we don't need it again! A quick Internet search tells me otherwise and I'm now very confused!! 

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I am afraid like the present day builders we have many cowboys and you have to be very careful who you employ, it looks like you chose badly. You do require a Fire Risk Assessment and selecting a good FR assessor may cost more money but in the long run he/she could save you money, also less chance of you having to appear before that man with a curly wig.

Check out Guide to Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor

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Hi Tom,

The point I have seen you make twice in this thread is that the assessment of the communal areas covers suitability of each flat's front door for the Fire Regulations (a phrase you taught me just now :))

We have two converted flats in the house, each owning the other's freehold. The other flat is empty and so I have to ask, how would the door be tested?

As the other flat is empty would the property be classed as owner occupied (ie me) and thus would a battery powered smoke detector be sufficient electrical installation in the communal area?

The doors are heavy but the conversion (late 70's) wasn't very thorough and the new partitions are noticeably thinner and much less solid than the original lathe and plaster.

I'm moving so I want to minimise costs and last time this caused the sale to abort, I guess I felt people were just getting greedy for commissions. In retrospect £100 would be fine if it was a fixed price, I just can't afford the responsibility of potentially becoming a landlord!

Thanks,

Jim

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Both flats have an owner and are responsible for the common area therefore the owner of the other flat is still the Responsible Person under the RR(FS)O.

This means you are responsible to ensure your front door is a FD 30s Door or equivalent and the other person the other flat front door. I am assuming the premises is in England or Wales, therefore the guidance for you premises is HOUSING – FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing and it recommends that a cat D LD2 fire alarm is satisfactory, ie a battery operated smoke detectors. You should study the above guidance and with the help of the other owner  conduct a fire risk assessment or if you do not feel confident then get somebody who is.

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When I read the linked pdf (http://www.cieh.org/uploadedFiles/Core/Policy/Publications_and_information_services/Policy_publications/Publications/National_fire_safety_guidance_08.pdf) I see

    Grade D

        The mains supply to smoke and
        heat alarms should either be a
        single independent circuit from the
        dwelling’s main distribution board
        or a separately electrically-protected regularly used local
        lighting circuit

When I google Cat D LD2 I find http://www.safelincs.co.uk/pages/bs5839-6.html, which says:

    Grade D - System incorporating one or more interlinked mains powered smoke alarms (and heat alarms if required), each with an integral stand-by supply. The interlink can be hardwired or radio-interlinked.

To me that suggests the need to hire an electrician.

As for the doors, I was under the impression only the communal areas would be assessed. Do you know how I can test the door? As an educated guess I would presume them to be identical, except mine is painted :)

Say I do conduct the assessment myself, as it is only me living here and the assessment is meant to consider the occupants a key feature, can I just recommend a battery powered smoke alarm and the situation be reviewed when the other flat is made habitable?

I see a lot of fires are caused by electrical equipment, or people, and as such I feel this is a costly and disruptive formality, potentially disrupting the decoration in the communal area. Wiring behind a locked door is out of the question. The situation is plainly absurd. Wiring the other flat? Checking their locked door? Totally invasive and destructive.

Many thanks, Jim

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The British Standard simple says grade D is a smoke alarm or alarms fed from the mains electricity supply with a backup battery it also may include heat  alarm in the kitchen and if more than one they must be interconnected. These other descriptions are trying to clarify the definition and yes you do need an electrician to fit them initially but once the base has been fitted you can change the alarm part yourself.

The front doors form part of the common area and protect the common area. There is no such a thing as a test, once the door has been manufactured deciding if a door would meet a 30 minute fire resisting standard is a matter of training and experience. For more information get in touch with the Fire Door Inspection Service and/or  http://www.firesafe.org.uk/fire-doors/  which may be helpful.

Both you and the other owner are the Responsible Persons and are culpable under  The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the other owner under article 22 has to co-operate with you to ensure those regulations are met. There are no short cuts or cheap options it has to be met in full because the penalties are severe.

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  • 1 month later...

 

I live in a house converted into three flats which has a communal hallway (small). The freehold is shared between us by way of a ltd company of which we are all directors but the other two flat owners/directors are constantly in breach of the lease including blocking the hallway with bikes, a pram, boxes etc and have damaged the doors and the hall light. We have to make all decisions regarding the building together including having a fire risk assessment which they have already said no to paying for, said we can do it ourselves, it's fine and have refused to move their stuff or fix anything. One of them has said that if I move anything they will accuse me of theft. The hall is not big enough to wall mount bikes either. While I can try and deal with this via the FTT court system this will be complicated (effectively suing myself) and take time and money and my main aim is to get the fire risk assessment sorted asap. Can I self appoint myself as the RP in this instance to get a fire risk assessment done or are we all the RP despite their refusal to take it seriously. I don't mind paying for a fire risk assessment myself, I'd rather do that and bring the problems to their attention in a more official manner and even pay for the repairs if it comes to that. As it stands if there was a fire none of us would be able to get to the front door easily and if at night would be trying to do so in the dark. The same problem would be faced by the fire brigade trying to get it.

Thank you

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You are all corporate RP's with equal authority the other two could be guilty of an offence under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 article 22 and you all are guilty of offenses under the above legislation. If I was you I would contact the enforcing authority the local fire and rescue service, however it would be putting you in the line of fire but most FRS's are reasonable and i would think understand your situation by bringing the other two into line. It will not make you very popular with the other two but by the sound of it your not the best of friend at the moment.

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

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  • 1 month later...
On 13/08/2012 at 10:13 AM, Guest LauraGibs said:

Hi there

 

I want to know if I need to carry out a Risk Assessment under theRegulatory Reform (FIre Safety) Order.

 

I am the Company Secretary of a Management company that owns 3 flats. The Directors of the Management company are the flat owners themselves.

 

There is only one communal area and that is a stairway that leads up to the front doors of the two upstairs flats.

 

On 13/08/2012 at 8:19 PM, Tom Sutton said:

As the management company you would be required to complete a fire risk assessment of the common areas, the only debatable point would be, does the FRA need to be recorded, but as it would be be a very simple task I would suggest you do record it.

I am in the same situation as above, with the same number of flats with a small communal area etc. Our insurance company has asked for Fire Safety Order, i have looked at the risks and see that we need to fit an optical smoke detector and put up a sign saying no smoking. As company secretary i am assumed to be the 'responsible person' you say that it is a simple task to record the FRA, how is it simple? and what do i need to send to the insurance company.

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If you have to conduct a fire risk assessment, the following link should show you the basics http://www.firesafe.org.uk/fire-risk-assessment/ and the report can be tailored to suit your premises. What your insurance company requires, is up to them, you have no requirement to send them anything.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi I am hoping someone can advise me on fire door regs in purpose built flats. I have read the 2010 Document B info and tbh am struggling!

The fat is on the first floor but with a private access door and hallway on the ground floor. There are no communal areas as totally self contained?

I am doing the flat up and removed what i think are old fire doors.....do they need replacing with fire doors or can i put on standard internal doors??

 

Sorry am clueless

 

Jennie x

 

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Jennie without more information on the building and the layout of your flat I cannot give a definitive answer but if I assume the building is only two storey's high, then it appears the architect has gone for all habitable rooms opening onto a protected hallway which leads to a final exit. Check out ADB vol 2 paragraph 2.12 as suggested by para 2.15 and if this is the case then the doors you have removed should be replaced by fire doors (FD30) no self closing device required.

 

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Guest Monaletta

Hello,

I have just had a fire and risk assessment done on a common hallway I share with another flat (I am the freeholder). The risk assessor recommended FD30 fitted fire doors to be installed to the individual flats with intumescent strips and self-closing device all within a month. Is this a recommendation or something that I need to do by law? I seem to find guidelines, best practices and recommendations but nothing that would spell it out whether this is something we must do and if so what time frame we have for this. I'm not sure if it's a factor but the risk rating of the communal area is LOW and SLIGHT HARM - Tolerable.

The recommendations also advised an electrical installation condition report to be done. We have no electrical appliances, wires, not even a light bulb in our common hallway. Was this a mistake on their part?

Many thanks. 

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As the freeholder you own the premises and therefore the Responsible Person (RP) under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which requires you to reduce the possibility of a fire breaking out and conducting a fire risk assessment in the common areas, which includes article 14.Emergency routes and exits.

 

In your case the guidance to achieve these duties is HOUSING – FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisionsfor certain types of existing housing which requires the flats to be separated from the common areas by a FD30s, which your advisor, the FR assessor has brought to your attention. He has advised you it should be completed in one month but as RP that is your decision but if anything should happen in the meantime and somebody was seriously injured or died as the result of a fire, you could find yourself in court with serious consequences. You may need to prove that you have done everything possible to upgrade the front doors to the flats as soon as possible.

 

The recommendation for the electrical installation condition report is to reduce the possibility of a fire breaking out, due to an electric fault, you must surely have lighting in the common areas, also there may be other legislation that requires it.   

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Guest Confused

I own four flats in a converted 3 storey + basement Victorian House. There are 6 flats altogether. The other 2 are owned by 2 different people. The freehold is owned by the original developer.

We are trying to form a management company and are aware that we have to have a fire risk assessment, which we intend to do ourselves.

Who is responsible for the fire alarm system for the communal areas? The flat owners or the freeholder? There is an existing system, but the wires have been pulled out.

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