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.
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Frequently Asked Questions
It’s 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 and examine the main doors to the individual flats. If there’s reason to doubt the structural fire protection of a block, a more intrusive assessment may be required. This may include opening up the structure of the building to check its fire resistance.
The landlord is responsible for any aspects of health and safety relating to communal areas defined in the lease. When renting a property for its business, a tenant must carry out a health and safety risk assessment in the workplace and take action to remove any hazards.
Your landlord or managing agent (or a Residents’ Management Company or Right to Manage Company), acting on behalf of the freeholder, has a legal duty to arrange for a Fire Risk Assessment to be carried out on the communal areas of your building, and for it to be kept under review. The landlord or managing agent must nominate and record the name of a ‘responsible person’, who is ultimately responsible for the development and upkeep of an adequate Fire Risk Assessment, by law.
General guidance is:
The Local Government Association (LGA) has guidance on fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats. This recommends that for low-rise blocks of up to three storeys above ground, built in the last 20 years, Fire Risk Assessments should be: reviewed every 2 years and redone every 4 years.
For higher-risk blocks, an annual review with a new assessment every three years.
A review should also be carried out after the completion of any work to the building to address fire safety concerns.
Your landlord or agent should keep the Fire Risk Assessment for your block under review. This is not necessarily the same as repeating the assessment; a shorter review can be made with a repeat at longer intervals. There are no legal requirements set for the timing of reviews and repeat assessments; it depends on the individual circumstances.
Type 2 – Common parts only (destructive)
Type 2 is an assessment of the common parts only as – with the Type 1 survey – but there is a degree of destructive investigation carried out. This will need a competent contractor both to open up the building and make good the damage after the investigation.
Type 3 – Common parts and flats (non-destructive)
Type 3 Fire Risk Assessments go beyond the scope of the Fire Safety Order by considering the flats as well as the common parts. Areas such as means of escape, compartmentation between flats and means of fire detection are considered in all areas including the flats. The Type 3 Fire Risk Assessment, like the Type 1, is non-destructive and is usually considered necessary if it is thought there may be a fire risk inside of the flats.