Fire safety within the home is an extremely important issue; even more so in homes of multiple occupation (HMOs). Tragedies like the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower have highlighted the need for people carrying out HMO fire risk assessments to be properly accredited and experienced for the job. Here’s what landlords and management agencies need to know about their responsibilities.
HMO fire risk assessment law
HMOs include flats, maisonettes and sheltered accommodation in which personal care is not provided. The occupiers live independently from one another but share common areas in the same building. It’s these areas that are covered by the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
These laws do not set out prescriptive standards but provide recommendations and guidance for assessing the adequacy of fire precautions in HMOs. This is enforced by fire and rescue authorities who can and do carry out on the spot inspections.
It’s the duty of the landlord, or management company responsible for the premises, to carry out a fire risk assessment and take specific action to minimise the risk of fire in the common areas of HMOs.
Who should carry out a HMO fire risk assessment?
When it comes to carrying out HMO fire risk assessments the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 sets out criteria for determining an individual’s ability to carry out this task. Choosing someone who does not have the required experience or trying to complete the risk assessment using an online template risks damage to property and loss of life.
The law says the individual carrying out your HMO fire risk assessment should:
- Be qualified to fulfil the task successfully – this means gaining qualifications through a recognised accredited fire risk assessor training establishment.
- Be experienced – taking a training course is not enough to make informed decisions. Experience is obtained over years working in the fire safety industry.
- Take part in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) – the person you appoint should be able to demonstrate they have completed at least 20 hours of CPD per year to ensure they are up to speed with new legislation and standards.
- Have suitable accreditations – many companies advertise that they carry out fire risk assessments. But not all are qualified for HMOs. The knowledge and accreditations to undertake a risk assessment for a HMO are different to other types of premises.
Benfield Fire Safety is a Hampshire-based company with the qualifications, accreditations and experience to carry out HMO fire risk assessments for landlords and property management agencies.
Our credentials include: BAFE SP205 Fire Risk Registered; SSAIB Registered as FRAKS; Institute Fire Safety Managers (National Accredited Fire Risk Assessors Register); Tier 3 complex buildings; Institute Fire Engineering (Member); and Fire Prevention Association (Member).
To arrange a HMO fire risk assessment contact us by emailing Customerservice@benfieldfs.co.uk or calling 0300 303 3277.
If you are a care home manager, find out more about the importance of careful fire safety planning, assessments and evacuation procedures in care homes.