It is a legal requirement in accordance with The Fire Safety Order 2005 for Freeholders/Landlords to undertake fire risk assessments for Block of Flats, Maisonettes and Sheltered Accommodation. Common parts can be defined as main entrance, lobbies, hallways, lifts, stairwells, emergency/fire exits, passageways and pathways. In certain cases common parts can also include car parks and gyms. In-depth fire risk assessment will be performed taking into consideration general fire precautions in the common parts, which will in-turn identify any potential shortcomings and document remedial action recommendations. Both intrusive and non-intrusive (Type 4) surveys are undertaken. In most cases a non-intrusive Type 1 common parts fire risk assessment shall suffice.
Under the Fire Safety Act 2021 a building’s structure and external walls (including windows, balconies, cladding, insulation, and fixings) fall within the scope of the Fire Safety Order.
A Type 1 fire risk assessment is the basic non-intrusive FRA required for the purpose of satisfying the FSO. It will consider the arrangements for means of escape and so forth as well as the examination of at least a sample of flat entrance doors. It also considers, so far as reasonably practicable, the construction between the flats and the common parts without intrusion. However, in this type of FRA, entry to flats beyond the area of the flat entrance is not involved. Where there are suspended ceilings in the common parts, it may be appropriate to lift a sample of readily accessible tiles. It will be normal to open a sample of service risers if present, provided access is practicable at the time of survey. Unless there is reason to expect serious deficiencies in structural fire protection, such as combustible cladding systems, breaches in compartmentation or inadequate fire stopping, a Type 1 inspection will normally be sufficient for most blocks of purpose-built flats. Where doubt exists in relation to these matters, the action plan of a Type 1 fire risk assessment may recommend that one of the other types of fire risk assessment be completed or that further investigation be necessary by a specialist in its field. This shall not be a generic recommendation of a Type 1 fire risk assessment, the recommendation will be based on identification of issues that justify reason for doubt.