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Fire risk assessment in communal areas


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Guest AdeleO

Do we need to do a fire assessment in a house with converted flats due to the communal areas of stairs and hallways? Also do the solid wood front doors to each flat have to be FD30s with self-closers? The conversions were done post-war.

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Yes you do need a fire risk assessment for the common areas and front doors to each flat have to be FD30s with self closers. IMO the best guide to your premises is Lacors guide "HOUSING – FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing" and the DCLG guide Sleeping accommodation

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  • 3 months later...
Guest Jpritch

Would you please advise if it is necessary for a fire risk assessment to be carried out to a newly converted building into 2 flats that share communal stairs and landing. The property has the benefit of a building regulation completion certificate for conversion works.

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Yes you are required to complete a fire risk assessment for the common areas in accordance with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 but if you do not employ five or more persons then it does not need to be recorded.

Check out http://www.firesafe.org.uk/regulatory-reform-fire-safety-order-2005/

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Guest ColinCrim

Dear sirs

we have an owner-run management company which owns the freehold of a building containing 21dwellings (8 terraced houses and 13 flats) 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

Colin

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It is the case you are required to conduct a fire risk assessment of all the common areas in a accordance with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 the best guidance is Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats and check out http://www.firesafe.org.uk/regulatory-reform-fire-safety-order-2005/ and http://www.firesafe.org.uk/fire-risk-assessment/

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Guest WilliamHall

I live in a small block of 6 flats with communal areas for entry/exit. Could you please tell me whether a ' Certicate ' of any nature is required, who would provide it if so,and how often it would need to be carried out.

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There is no thing as a certificate but the common areas are subject to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and require a fire risk assessment. (FRA) Depending on the circumstances the FRA may have to be recorded (a written document) and must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date. As you can see no particular time is stated but most situations annually is considered reasonable.

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  • 2 years later...
Guest Guest Linda

We recently acquired the RTM there are there six flats, 7 residents, in a converted block 3 have their own front doors and 3 share a communal front door and staircase only, there are no other communal areas i.e gardens, we do not employ any third parties for gardening, cleaning etc. The freeholder never carried out a FRA but is now insisting we declare this information to our potential insurers.   Can we carry out a FRA bearing in mind only 3 flats/residents share the communal staircase? Any help would be appreciated     

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I've answered a similar question elsewhere on here - you can if you feel competent using the guidance provided, otherwise you would need to use a suitable third party. The risk assessor as well as the responsible person can be legally liable where an FRA is not suitable and sufficient.

For conversions: http://www.cieh.org/library/Knowledge/Housing/National_fire_safety_guidance_08.pdf

For purpose built: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10171/3369777/PUBLICATION-TEMPLATE

From https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fire-safety-law-and-guidance-documents-for-business

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  • 3 weeks later...
On ‎12‎/‎03‎/‎2015 at 10:38, Tom Sutton said:

It is the case you are required to conduct a fire risk assessment of all the common areas in a accordance with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 the best guidance is Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats and check out http://www.firesafe.org.uk/regulatory-reform-fire-safety-order-2005/ and http://www.firesafe.org.uk/fire-risk-assessment/

How often do communal areas need to be assessed please? I am struggling to find a definitive answer. Thanks in advance.

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 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.

There is not frequency detailed but most consider 12 months as being reasonable, but it is up to risk assessment.

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  • 8 months later...

Please can you advise if a FRA needs to be conducted in a purpose built block of flats communal area?

we are trying to sell and it is causing serious issues. 

Our management Co say no FRA needs to be done as it was built in 2014 and they have had the alarms serviced. 

We have been trying to sell for 18 months now. 

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Your management company (MC) is wrong there should be an FRA conducted in the communal areas. The MC is the Responsible Person under  The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and is responsible for implementing article 8 to 22 with includes conducting a FRA. Check out article 5.

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Guest Murray

Hi there,

Quick question, we're a house that's been converted into three flats with a communal corridor/stairs leading to the three flats. We manage the property and had a Fire Risk Assessment done when one of the flats was sold last year. There were a few recommendations like fit fire alarms, emergency lighting and replacing a worn carpet on the stairs. We've taken those on board and have fitted fire alarms, emergency lights and a new carpet. The company that did the Fire Risk Assessment has sent me an email stating ..  "It is important you review your fire risk assessment annually to ensure your compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  Please let us know a convenient time to carry out this review". This implies its compulsory that we need another assessment using them which we would obviously have to pay for. Am I correct in assuming we don't have to have an annual Fire Risk Assessment with them/or anyone and we can do ourselves especially as we've under taken the major points from the previous assessment?  Thanks for your help.

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The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 article 9(3) says "Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date" and does not give a frequency but it is generally accepted that 12 months are reasonable. Yes you can do it yourself if you feel competent, the guide would be HOUSING – FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing.  

Study the legislation and the guide then decide if you are the Responsible Persons and are competent enough to carry out the FRA. 

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  • 2 months later...
Guest Michelle

Hi, i live in a house that’s been converted into 2 flats. there is a main front door and a very small square of communal hallway. In it there’s a door to the downstairs flat then a door into my flat which is upstairs. The stairs are in my flat as you go through my internal front door. Our leasehold company has said we have to have a Fire Risk Assessment in the ‘communal area’. And also a Reinstatement Cost Assesssment carried out.  Both have to be done by 25th January 2019. 

Any advice or help would be gratefully received as i have no idea where to start or what to do?

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Without seeing the situation I cannot give a definitive answer but it appears the very small square of communal hallway is the communal area and that's the area that needs a FRA, the Responsible Person is required to conduct a FRA who is the owner/leaseholder.

The two doors off this areas should be FD30s doors and separation between the two flats should be to at least 30 minutes.

The flat passed your front door is not subject to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005  but  by The Housing Act 2004  and you  do need smoke and CO detectors which should be supplied by your landlord, check out The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Guest Sarah

Hi, 

I live in a terraced building that has been split into three different flats, and is run by a management company (formed by the owners of the 3 flats). We own the ground floor flat and are currently trying to sell it. Our buyer has asked us to do a Fire Risk Assessment for the Communal Area (which is an entrance vestibule and flight of stairs). Is that something that the 3 directors can carry out ourselves? If so, is there a template you could recommend? Or does it need to be done by a registered person/company?

Many thanks. 

 

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The law states that anyone who is competent can carry out the FRA. However in many cases other than small to medium commercial premises the Responsible Person chooses to use external competent persons, ideally third party accredited.

As a conversion (from a house by the sounds of it) the guidance you would need to follow is:

For principles of fire risk assessment in Sleeping Risk premises: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/422192/9281_Sleeping_Accomodation_v2.pdf

For the detailed technical requirements in your particular premises: https://www.cieh.org/media/1244/guidance-on-fire-safety-provisions-for-certain-types-of-existing-housing.pdf
 

Read these and if you feel competent to use them go ahead. No standard template exists, there are many free ones on the internet (some good, some less so)

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Guest Jim

Hi there. I wonder if anyone could advise please.

I live in a Victorian terrace house which has 3 flats. I live on the ground floor and there are two flats above. There is a communal staircase leading from the front door which leads to one door on the ground floor and two doors to the upstairs flats. This is the only communal area.

The flats are all privately owned and we are each leaseholders. We pay into a cyclical management fund each month. Recently the freeholder completed FRA works. They installed a fire panel the behind the front door in the stairway, a smoke alarm and a heat detector, all in the communal area. Smoke alarms and heat detector were installed just inside the entrance to each of the flats. All good.

We have just received a bill and it's in excess of £5,000. It seems to us that this is vastly overpriced considering the work and equipment installed. Please could you advise if you think this is the going rate or if we are being ripped off.

Thanks very much in advance for any help and advice anyone has.

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Guest Jim

Many thanks getting back to me. Much appreciated.

It was about 2 days work. Two guys, one was an apprentice. This was the bill breakdown they gave us, it all seems very vague.

           
 

Supply, wire and installation of mains some detectors to 2no flats

item

£ 504.00

1

£ 504.00

 

Supply wire and installation of LD2 communal fire alarm system, inclusive of 1no 2loop panel, 1no call point, 2no smoke detectors and 2no heat detectors

item

£ 2,220.00

1

£ 2,220.00

 

Surface mounted containment to house system

item

£ 1,920.00

1

£ 1,920.00

 
 
       

They installed a C-Tec XFP501E/X 16 Zone Single Loop Addressable Fire Alarm Panel. The diagram on the wall beside it shows we only have 4 zones.

Really just need to know if you think it could have been done a lot cheaper?

Thanks

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The Part 6 residential alarms total price is around the average total cost based on two flats using Checkatrade's guide. The detectors alone would add up to half that alone (if using radio linked mains units and installing to LD2 with at least 2 devices per flat)

The Grade A communal system is also on average, although there are no sounders listed on the summary - to be compliant there should be sounders off this system to the stair AND each flat

It seems the money is weighted onto the cost of the aesthetic only containment (white trunking) which is ridiculous. I'd also lift the trunking and check that the actual cables are secured to the wall by metal clips every 300/400mm as required - often surface trunking is used so extra can be charged whilst time and money is saved in not clipping the cables correctly. You can work out the actual costs here https://www.screwfix.com/c/electrical-lighting/cable-trunking/cat1910006

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