Fire Risk Assessments for
Apartments and Flats
Small buildings consisting of ground and no more than one storey above ground:
Small buildings with few above or below ground levels will usually be the least complex in terms of the fire safety systems required. The fire safety arrangements are unlikely to be complex unless the building has been engineered to overcome a particular design issue.
Buildings with a single stair and no more than 3 storeys (or up to 11m), or buildings generally up to 18m above ground will usually require some measure of additional protection to escape routes. There may also be some restriction on the materials used for the façades, subject to the distance between adjacent buildings and boundaries.
High-rise buildings i.e. those with a storey height that exceeds 18m above ground:
High-rise buildings will require additional measures for firefighters which, in the case of new buildings, would ordinarily include protected firefighting shafts including lifts. For buildings that exceed 30m in height, current guidance also requires fire suppression systems and phased evacuation may also be a recommendation. In older existing buildings, these facilities may not all be provided and a thorough assessment of the implications will be required.
Fire Risk Consultancy Services have the knowledge and experience to assist your business to comply with all legal requirements surrounding Fire Safety including the legislation regarding Fire Alarms. Be sure to read our accompanying guides: Guide to Classes of Fire in the UK from A to F, Types of Fire Extinguisher, How Many Fire Extinguishers Do I Need?, AND Fire Alarm System Types, Emergency Lighting, Fire Door Regulations, Fire Safety Signs, also published on this site.
Please take a moment to have a look around our website where you will find related articles and guides to all the services we can provide your business with, from providing Fire Risk Assessments, fire safety training , full advisory service to Articles on Fire Safety Provisions and our Top Fire Safety Tips!
Frequently Asked Questions
It is a legal requirement for all blocks of flats (including houses converted into two or more flats) to have a Fire Risk Assessment of the communal areas only, this must include the front doors of individual flats. If there is reason to doubt the structural fire protection of a block of flats, a more intrusive investigation may be required before the Fire Risk Assessment can be produced, this may include opening up the structure of the building to check its fire resistance.
The landlord is responsible for all aspects of Health and Safety relating to the communal areas defined in the lease, this includes the Fire Risk Assessment. When renting a commercial property, the tenant must carry out a Health and Safety Risk Assessment in the workplace and take action to remove any hazards.
The responsibility for Fire Safety and the Fire Risk Assessment in the shared parts of a building is that of the ‘responsible person’, by law. For blocks of flats or HMO’s, this is usually the freeholder (owner) or management company.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has guidance on Fire Safety in purpose-built blocks of flats.
The recommendations are as follows:
Low-rise blocks of flats (up to three storeys above ground, built in the last 20 years), a Fire Risk Assessment should be reviewed every 2 years and redone every 4 years.
Higher-risk blocks of flats, a Fire Risk Assessment should have a yearly review and redone every 3 years.
A review of the Fire Risk Assessment should also be carried out after the completion of any work to the building to address any new fire safety concerns.
The Fire Risk Assessment is a ‘live’ document and should be reviewed regularly by your landlord or management company.
Please see our Review or Renew page for further information.
Type 1 – Common parts only (non-destructive)
This is the most basic Fire Risk Assessment required for satisfying The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Unless there is reason to suspect deficiencies in fire protection, such as inadequate compartmentation then a Type 1 will usually be sufficient for most blocks of purpose-built flats.
Type 2 – Common parts only (destructive)
This Fire Risk Assessment covers the same areas as the Type 1, except that there is a degree of destructive inspection involved, carried out on a sampling basis. This will require a competent contractor to be present, both to gain access to the elements and to make good any damage caused after the investigation.
A Type 2 Fire Risk Assessment is usually a one-off exercise, only carried out if there is a good reason to suspect deficiencies that could lead to the spread of fire.
Type 3 – Common parts and flats (non-destructive)
A Type 3 Fire Risk Assessment includes the work involved in Type 1 but goes beyond the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005 by considering the arrangements for means of escape and fire detection within (at least) a sample of the flats. The inspection of any flat is non-destructive, but the fire resistance of doors to rooms will be part of the assessment.
A Type 3 Fire Risk Assessment may be required if there is reason to suspect serious risk to residents in the event of a fire in their flats, this could be due to the age of a building or due to unauthorised alterations.
Type 4 – Common parts and flats (destructive)
A Type 4 Fire Risk Assessment (the most comprehensive) covers the same areas as the Type 3, except that there will be some destructive inspection required to the common areas and in a sample of the flats. This will require a competent contractor to be present, both to gain access to the elements and to make good any damage caused after the investigation.
This type of inspection would normally only be carried out on unoccupied flats.
A Type 4 Fire Risk Assessment will only be required in a very limited set of circumstances, such as when a new landlord takes over a block of flats where the Fire Safety history is unknown, or where there is reason to suspect serious risk to residents in their flat or a neighbours’ flats.