Even if you have a right to manage or managing agents. You need to ensure that you have a fire risk assessment in relation to your property at least every five years. It is important when managing a property that you are controlling the fire risks. You have to protect against risks of fire. The first step is to identify these risk and this is where the risk assessment comes in. There is a legal demand for non-domestic fire risk assessments i.e. commercial as well as on residential.
The law comes under the regulatory reform (fire safety) Order 2005. This came into force in October 2006 and replaced more than seventy pieces of different regulation on fire risk. It applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales. Including the common parts of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation.
The Act lays out that a responsible person must ensure that a fire risk assessment has been undertaken by a competent person. It must implement and maintain a fire risk management plan. This must include with a generic risk assessment, or undertaken separately by a fire risk safety specialist. However, you need to have qualifications to do this to ensure that it is correct. You need to ensure that the assessments has been undertaken. An up to date fire management plan has been implemented every time this takes place which should be every five years.
It states that either an employer, a person who has control of the premises in connection with business or trade or the owner of the property is responsible to do this.
There are various Government Departments that deal with this being the local Government Regulation, the Department of Communities and local Government Guides, the local Government Association and the Health and Safety Executive which is the most important.
They also state that dangerous substances can cause fire and explosion. You have to ensure there are none of these items. This includes any form of storage of chemicals, vapours and dusts and anything that can burn easily.
If you are managing your building under a right to manage you need to ensure that if you are managing the property then you carry out a fire risk assessment. You are in control and thus it is important that you carry these works out.
You need to have a qualified person to do the fire risk assessment and they will attend the premises and check the common area and services. They will then compile a report that lays out recommendations that have been followed through.
They will then have an action plan together with photographs.
The report will lay out the general information stating exactly what type of property it is, how it was built and the approximately square footage of the building. It will state how many people live in the property. It will lay out the legislation that it comes under. Including the HMG fire safety sleeping and accommodation guide 2006 and LACORs housing fire safety 2008.
We will lay out the electrical hazards and whether there is any work that is required in these. Layout where there are any issues in respect of arson and portable heating installations and whether they need to be checked or not. The rest of the report will deal with the main management of the building. The signs together with any form of lighting and fire alarm system that may be required. It is important that you are aware that this report includes means of fire escape at the property and may have recommendations in this regard which we outline later.
Then the report will layout at the end full details of any improvements required within the property. These have to be carried out within a specific period of time and are done by way of a fire risk assessment matrix. This is laid out as slight harm, moderate harm and extreme harm. There are low, medium and high risks and these need to be taken into account. They will lay out exactly which item is which and give an action and time scale of when these items should be carried out.
The above is only a guide of what may be required as each individual property is different. It is something you need to check.
There is also a guide form LACORs that come under Housing and Fire Safety and we have detailed this out under a separate article
It is so important that you are aware of what your legal requirements are. As in view of recent events that have taken place we expect that these may change over the years. If you do not have a fire risk assessment you should have one carried out and have any recommendations done within the time limit. They differ from property to property so it is important that you use a professional to do this.
It is always important when considering whether you wish to become a buy to let…