Fire Risk Assessments - FAQs

What is a fire risk assessment? 

A fire risk assessment is a check of a building for fire risks. All blocks of flats and large houses in multiple occupation in England and Wales must have one.

The assessment has recommendations about how to protect the building and the people in or near it from fire. It is, effectively, a guide book for fire safety plans in your building.

The assessment looks at:

  • how likely a fire is to start
  • what the consequences would be if a fire did start
  • what needs to be done in the building to minimise the risk of fire starting or spreading

The law says the assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’ for the building.

What does a fire risk assessment cover? 

A fire risk assessment covers the shared parts of a building that all people can use, such as common stairwells and entrance halls.

The assessment looks at a building’s ‘general fire precautions’ in the shared areas. These include measures to:

  • reduce the risk of fire starting, such as ‘no smoking’ signs or doing regular safety checks of electrical sockets or lights
  • reduce the risk of fire spreading, such as fire doors
  • alert people about a fire in the building, such as smoke alarms
  • let people escape from the building, such as clear escape routes
  • tell people what to do if a fire starts, such as an emergency plan
  • reduce the harm caused if a fire starts, such as fire extinguishers or sprinklers

The general fire precautions must protect:

  • people who are allowed to be in the building
  • people who are near the building, who may be at risk if a fire started

Who is responsible for carrying out a fire risk assessment? 

Responsibility for carrying out a fire risk assessment in your building could be with:

  • the owner (freeholder)
  • a Residents’ Management Company
  • a Right to Manage company
  • a Managing Agent

In law, responsibility for fire safety in the shared parts of a building is that of the ‘responsible person’. For blocks of flats or large houses in multiple occupation, this is usually the freeholder or management company.

However, the freeholder or management company may decide to give some of these responsibilities to a managing agent. This can include arranging for a fire risk assessment to be done or reviewed.

The responsible person (or agent) may carry out the fire risk assessment themselves, or may employ someone else to do it.

LEASE provides FREE initial advice to members of the public on fire safety aspects of residential long leasehold property. We can help if your enquiry is about a flat with a lease longer than 21 years.

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