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Managing Risk in Flats With Communal Areas

Fire risk Assessment of Communal Areas

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires every block of flats / HMO to undergo a fire safety risk assessment. This applies to common parts, not to the inside of any flats and is an obligation on the freeholder, landlord or managing agent. Fire Officers are able to enter any block of flats to inspect, ask to see the risk assessment and issue enforcement notices to improve fire safety should the need arise.

The common issues that can arise are the lack of fire detection for certain buildings, the lack of protected corridors, insufficient emergency lighting and poor signage and instruction for residents. A Fire Risk Assessment is there to address these issues and guide / help the freeholder, landlord or managing agent to be able to fulfil their statutory duties. This risk assessment should then be reviewed annually.

General Risk Assessments of Common Areas

All blocks of flats must have a risk assessment carried out of the health and safety of any common areas. It is a requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. You may argue common areas are not “at work” but if any cleaner, gardener, managing agent or repair contractors enters them, then a risk assessment must be made.

The courts and the Health and Safety Executive / Local Authority do consider common parts of blocks of flats as included in health and safety regulations. Areas such as gardens, grounds, plant rooms, meter cupboards and lift motor rooms would all need to be included in an assessment. If there were to be an accident and you had no proof of a risk assessment being carried out, you are much more likely to be prosecuted and/or sued for negligence. The risk assessment should be reviewed at least annually.

Should you require any further information on carrying out health and safety fire risk assessment please contact one of our fire risk assessors on 08444 933 062.

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