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Fire risk assessments for flats – which do you need?

If you are a landlord or property manager you will be aware that it’s essential to have fire risk assessments for flats and other domestic properties in your portfolio.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that a fire risk assessment is required almost universality. However, with four different types you may be confused about which is required.

At Benfield Fire Safety we carry out each type of fire risk assessment and can advise you on which you require to adhere to the law, protect lives and your property.

Here’s a overview of each type, what they involve and when they may be necessary:

Type 1 Fire Risk Assessments

This is the most common type of fire risk assessment and is usually sufficient for most purpose-built blocks of flats and conversions.

It is a non-invasive assessment of the communal areas of the building such as corridors, entrance halls, fire doors, stairwells and escape routes. It is not necessary to deconstruct the building or cause damage in order to carry out this assessment.

A Type 1 assessment also does not cover private dwellings within the property, although you may include an inspection of the tenants’ front doors with their agreement.

Actions that may result from a Type 1 assessment are further assessments that include entering a dwelling within the property if it is suspected there may be a significant health and safety risk inside. This risk must be evidenced.

Type 2 Fire Risk Assessments

A Type 2 Fire Risk Assessment also covers the common parts of the building, but includes a destructive inspection of the structural elements of these areas. It may be necessary to bring in a contractor to do the necessary work and put right damage caused during the assessment.

Landlords and property managers dealing with a buildings built before 2000 must also carry out a Refurbishment and Demolition (R&D) Asbestos Survey before any work is undertaken.

In addition, if there are more than two contractors working on a Type 2 assessment Regulation 5 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 states that a Principal Contractor and a Principal Designer must be appointed.

A Type 2 assessment should happen if there is reason to believe there are serious structural flaws that need investigating because they could lead to a fire spreading around a building. This may be uncovered in a Type 1 assessment.

Type 3 Fire Risk Assessments

A Type 3 Fire Risk Assessment covers flats as well as communal areas. This is not required by law but is a duty of care that all landlords and property managers should consider undertaking if there is thought to be a risk of fire inside a flat.

Like a Type 1 assessment, a Type 3 does not require destructive investigations.

You will need agreement from the tenant to undertake this kind of fire risk assessment. If the flat is rented it may be easier to do the assessment in between tenants.

Type 4 Fire Risk Assessments

A Type 4 Fire Risk Assessment is the most complicated as it covers checking the structural elements of the building in the common areas and dwellings. This involves gaining access to flats and undertaking destructive work to fulfil the assessment.

This may include accessing ceilings, under floor boards, roof voids, risers, service cupboards or boiler rooms where these are inaccessible in Type 1 or Type 3 assessments.

A Refurbishment and Demolition (R&D) Asbestos Survey will be necessary if the property was built before 2000 and a Principal Contractor and a Principal Designer will need to be formally appointed under Regulation 5 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

A Type 4 assessment may be necessary if there is concern that fire could spread between flats. This may be picked up during Type 1 or Type 3 fire risk assessments.

Landlords taking on a new property may also wish to undertake a Type 4 Fire Risk Assessment if they don’t have a clear history of the building work carried out.

Tenants will need to agree to the assessment and contractors will need to be involved in repairing damage.

Who should carry out fire risk assessments for flats?

Conducting a fire safety assessment for flats that adequately protects the property and the lives of tenants is a complex undertaking. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that the person carrying out your fire risk assessment should be qualified, experienced and accredited to complete the task.

Benfield Fire Safety is a Hampshire-based company that meets all these requirements and carries out Type 1 to Type 4 fire risk assessments for flats.

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 fire risk assessment contact us by emailing Customerservice@benfieldfs.co.uk or calling 0300 303 3277.