What is a fire risk assessment?
FRAs were first introduced in October 2006, requiring organisations to check all high-rise and low-rise flats and retirement schemes for fire risks. The assessments have to be carried out by a suitably qualified or experienced person.
The assessment requires an inspection of the building to identify any fire hazards and remove or reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm.
In addition, the assessment looks at the existing safety measures and the way the building is being managed to ensure the safety of people, should a fire start. The FRA helps to do this by reducing the chance of a fire starting, making sure people can leave the premises safely during a fire and limiting the effects should a fire break out.
All Council properties had to comply with the building regulations when they were built.
Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and to ensure fire safety standards in our high-rise blocks are the best they can possibly be, we commissioned additional fire risk assessments in 2017, known as Type 4 FRAs.
These were in addition to the Type 1 assessments already carried out. Type 4 FRAs are the most intrusive type of assessment. They involved looking at things like the compartmentation between flats (fire walls and doors, for example) and the construction of the building, with particular attention paid to areas in which fire and smoke could spread between flats.
These checks went above and beyond what is required of a housing provider but are seen as best practice, particularly since the Grenfell fire.
The checks found nothing of very immediate concern. Our fire safety consultant said the Council stock was in ‘very good condition’ in terms of fire safety and among the best of the many local authorities and housing associations in the UK that they deal with.
A number of actions have resulted from the checks and we have developed a two-to-three-year timetable to complete all the recommended FRA works, following discussions with the consultant and the fire service. In the vast majority of cases, this work will be included as part of our ongoing investment programme and includes fitting sprinklers in every flat, following the council’s decision to do so.
Some examples of the works include:
- checking fire precautions where electrical cables have been installed
- checking fire precautions around door frames
- inspecting lift shafts to ensure fire precautions are robust
- assessing fire seals around waste pipes
The FRA reports are technical and complex documents which capture the fire risk on the day the building was assessed. If you would like more information, or would like to see a copy of a particular FRA, please email email@example.com.