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Fire risk assessment in communal areas


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  • 1 month later...

Hello,

Firstly, thank you for all the information that you provide on this forum.

I’m looking after the common parts/ communal area of a purpose-built development of twenty flats, split over three small blocks, on behalf of the owners. I live in one of the flats so I am also a resident-owner. We served notice on our managing agent because they were overcharging us and involved in, what appears to be, fraudulent activity.

I understand that I need to complete a Fire Safety Risk Assessment for the communal areas. They are very clean and simple areas, with nothing but carpeted staircases to the main doors of each apartment. Nonetheless, I understand my obligations in carrying out the assessment.

Is there a simple assessment template for such areas, as the only ones I seem to have found involve a full blown study of everything from cooking areas to the storage of flammable gases?

Thanks, in advance, for any help you can provide.

Good wishes,

Gary

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Firstly you need to refer to this guidance which covers your situation as many fall into the trap that it's simple as it's 'just a stair':
https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/fire-safety-purpose-built-04b.pdf

This will give you the technical background knowledge required for a suitable & sufficient FRA unless your development includes an External Wall System (e.g. cladding) or balconies made from combustible material in which case the guide needs to be supplemented by the current MHCLG guidance:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-advice-for-building-owners-including-fire-doors

Most FRA templates, whilst visually different in some cases, follow the recommended template (known as PAS79, a specification produced by fire safety experts for publication by the British Standards Institute) and so all cover Areas of Concern that are considered necessary for a suitable and sufficient FRA - this will include aspects not necessarily relevant in every case, but this is easily resolved by simply marking an area as not applicable as not present - that's what I do!

It's important you feel competent in carrying out an FRA as you as an individual can potentially retain the (criminal) liability for the document as the author if it proves to have been unsuitable and risk assessors have been prosecuted in the past. This isn't to say you must use a third party professional (as these aren't always up to scratch either!) but ensure that you use all the correct guidance, which I have linked for you. It may appear daunting at first (it's large) but that's what the task entails - have a read and then consider if you feel you are able to work with it - if it seems overwhelming then you should use an external competent person, however as it's designed to be relatively easy to follow, just comprehensive, you may well be OK, after all if stuck on the odd point or two you can always ask on here!

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