It is apparent that many people and companies across the Country are still unaware that fire regulations The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) apply to many types of residential accommodation. These regulations apply in different ways to different building types and much advice has been produced since the publication of the RRO clarifying the different processes.
Fall-out from the Lakanal enquiry has emphasised the essential nature of fire safety management, not only in residential tower blocks, but also in all multi-occupied residential buildings, whether operated by a social housing provider, private landlord or privately owned residences.
As a general rule a fire risk assessment of common parts will be adequate for most buildings. However, where there is any reason to question the fire resistance of external walls or panels, or any other separation elements, an appropriate compartmentation survey should be undertaken. This is particularly important in the case of converted buildings, timber framed structures and any structure that has been subject to major refurbishment or other work.
There are 4 general types of fire risk assessment that apply to flats or apartment buildings:
A Type 1 fire risk assessment is the basic fire risk assessment required for the purpose of satisfying the RRO. Unless there is reason to suspect deficiencies in structural fire protection –such as inadequate compartmentation, or poor fire stopping – a Type 1 inspection will normally be sufficient for most blocks of purpose-built flats. Where there is doubt, it may be necessary for another type of fire risk assessment to be carried out by a specialist company, such as Rapier.
The Type 2 fire risk assessment covers the same areas as the Type 1, except that there is a degree of destructive inspection, carried out on a sampling basis. It is usually necessary for a contractor to be present for gaining access to the elements to be examined and making good after the inspection.
A Type 2 fire risk assessment is usually a one-off exercise, carried out only where there is good reason to suspect deficiencies that could lead to spread of fire beyond the flat of fire origin.
A Type 3 fire risk assessment includes the work involved in a Type 1 fire risk assessment, but goes beyond the scope of the RRO (though not the scope of the Housing Act). This risk assessment considers 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 survey.
A Type 3 fire risk assessment may be appropriate for rented flats 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 the building or because of unauthorised alterations.
A Type 4 fire risk assessment covers the same areas as the Type 3 fire risk assessment, except that there will be some destructive inspection in the common parts and in a sample of the flats. This will normally require a contractor to gain access to the elements to be examined and for making good after the inspection. This form of inspection would normally only be carried out on properties that are unoccupied (void).
The 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 in which the history is unknown, or where there is reason to suspect serious risk to residents from both a fire in their own flats and a fire in neighbours’ flats.
Rapier has a track record of undertaking all 4-types of fire risk assessment, both on individual properties and on the entire stock of some housing providers. Consideration of fire risk assessment, particularly destructive surveys, such as the Type 2 or Type 3 can be quite daunting. If you are unsure whether such action is necessary, give us a call: we can advise whether such surveys are absolutely necessary and advise on alternatives.
Whatever your needs in relation to fire risk assessment of residential property, you will struggle to find a more experienced company than Rapier. All consultants are properly qualified and subject to third party accreditation through the FRACS UKAS scheme, or via the Institution of Fire Engineers Register. Whatever your needs we can help.
Call us on 01689 857 887, or e-mail to email@example.com. We really can help you!