Fire Safety Risk Assessment due again after 3 years?

by Readers Question

10:38 AM, 7th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Fire Safety Risk Assessment due again after 3 years?

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Fire Safety Risk Assessment due again after 3 years?

I manage a block of 4 flats in a Victorian building. When one of the owners decided to sell his flat three years ago, we had a professional Fire Safety Risk Assessment completed. fire

Some recommendations were made to reduce the fire risk, and these were done, with the surveyor returning to inspect the improvements and amend his report accordingly.

Another owner has now decided to sell his property, and his buyers’ solicitors are asking for a new Fire Safety Risk Assessment to be done, as almost 3 years has passed since the last one.

Is it necessary to have another assessment done, given that all the required and suggested work was completed satisfactorily?

There have been no alterations to the property since the work was completed.

Many thanks

Pixie



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:40 AM, 7th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Pixie,

When I worked in an office fire risks assessments had to be carried out at least annually with regular alarm test, but I don't know what the rules are for a block of flats.

Douglas Barley

11:44 AM, 7th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Pixie, I am both a block manager and surveyor. I carry out our Fire Risk Assessments and the short answer is that there is very little guidance on this. If there is a fire an assessment should be carried out once the repairs have been carried out - the problem is that this legislation was really intended for industrial use and the common ways of blocks of flats have been fitted into this section basically by default as they cannot be considered a residential dwelling. The act calls for regular Fire Risk Assessments, its the word regular which is not clarified - also if occupancy is changed - once again this also particularly important in industrial situations where one manufacturer could make something quite harmless and another make something far more dangerous - not really necessary if a tenancy changes.
If a company is out to make money they will interpret this to mean annually, my interpretation is that every 18 months to two years is usually accepted by solicitors when it comes to a flat sale. A Fire Risk Assessment which is 3 years is stretching it a bit, right at the limit, so yes I am afraid that it will probably be necessary. I hope this helps a bit.

Stan Barlow TEE LTD

14:05 PM, 7th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Check that you currently hold a BS5839 FIRE CERTIFICATE.

Also the previous comment is in my opinion good advice.

If in doubt speak to the local fire prevention office [try the nearest fire-station] they are always very helpful and have no ulterior motive other than preventing having to carry bodies out of properties following on the after effects of late detection.

Philip Watkins

0:06 AM, 8th July 2016
About 2 years ago

You are correct in that this is a grey area but one has to look at how the building is managed and cared for in respect of fire safety and complying with the findings of the fire risk assessment. The quality of the FRA is also important as if it is not suitable & sufficient in the eyes of the fire service then it will not comply. It is up to the 'Responsible Person' to ensure they have a competent fire risk assessor. But going back to this dialogue. If the RP/Landlord is suitably knowledgeable and understands both the FRA and how the building complies AND there has been insignificant changes to the building but the standards of fire safety have been maintained (by the RP reviewing the FRA) then it should be sufficient. If the RP/Landlord does NOT understand his/her responsibilities then a revised and updated FRA should be completed.

Philip Watkins - Fire Safety Consultant for Hurtwood Fire Risk Management Ltd - http://www.hurtwoodfire.co.uk

David Cant

9:05 AM, 8th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Pixie.

The legal requirement to review a fire assessment comes from Article 9 of the Fire Safety Order 2005.

It's states;
A FRA should be reviewed when it is no "longer valid or there are significant changes to which it relates."

You'll be pleased to know that there is no set time frame in law to review a fire risk assessment however it is clear that it is not a one off procedure Fire risk assessments should be "kept up to date and reviewed on a regular basis.

The condition of the fire detection equipment and protection for the building occupiers, i.e detectors, fire doors aren't damaged and in good order and regularly maintained will determine the frequency of a review.

For example if records that the fire detection system has not been maintained then a review should be considered.

One should also consider whether the existing fire risk assessment is of a reasonable standard and completed by a competent person.

Fire certificates are no longer valid by the way.

Hope that helps.

David

Adam Withford

0:03 AM, 9th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Pixie,

I looked into this quite extensively last year. Effectively the only requirement to have any kind of fire safety inspection is if the building is commercial or an HMO or falls within a licensed area within your borough.

Otherwise the property (which sounds like yours) is classed as private (no matter if you are letting it) and there are no legislations requiring fire safety inspections.

Of course all the documentation is designed to make it look compulsory and people make good money by stating rather sternly that you have a responsibility, but I am sure as with any conscientious LL you will have all if not most of the recommendations in place.

Adrian Jones

10:23 AM, 21st August 2017
About A year ago

Will the local Fire Service carry out a risk assessment on a block of 18 flats?


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