Residential Fire Risk Assessments -
1. Blocks of Flats
2. Converted Houses to Flats
3. Hotels & Bed & Breakfast Premises
4. Residential Care Homes & Supported Living
5. Houses in Multiple Occupation aka (HMO's)
Type 1 – Common parts only (non-destructive)
A Type 1 fire risk assessment is the basic fire risk assessment required for the purpose of satisfying the FSO.
The inspection of the building is non-destructive. But, as well as considering the arrangements for means of escape and so forth, the fire risk assessment includes examination of at least a sample of flat entrance doors. It also considers, so far as reasonably practicable, the separating construction between the flats and the common parts without any opening up of construction.
However, in this Type of fire risk assessment, entry to flats beyond the area of the flat entrance door, is not involved.
Where there are demountable false ceilings in the common parts, it may be appropriate to lift a sample of readily accessible false ceiling tiles. In addition, it will normally be appropriate to open a sample of service risers, provided access is practicable at the time of inspection.
Unless there is reason to expect serious deficiencies in structural fire protection – such as inadequate compartmentation, or poor 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 carried out or that further investigation be carried out by specialists. (However, this should not be a generic recommendation of all Type 1 fire risk assessments; the recommendation should be based on identification of issues that justify reason for doubt.)
Type 2 – Common parts only (destructive)
The scope and objectives of a Type 2 fire risk assessment are generally similar to those of a Type 1 fire risk assessment, except that there is a degree of destructive inspection, carried out on a sampling basis. This will usually necessitate the presence of a contractor for the purpose of opening up construction and making good after the inspection.
In order to check the integrity of separating construction, the areas in which destructive inspection is carried out might sometimes include a sample of flats. However, because of the nature of the work, this can often only be carried out in vacant flats.
A Type 2 fire risk assessment is usually a one-off exercise, which is carried out only if there is good reason to suspect serious structural deficiencies that could lead to spread of fire beyond the flat of fire origin. The age of the block alone is not generally sufficient to warrant a Type 2 inspection. The need for a Type 2 fire risk assessment may sometimes be identified in a Type 1 fire risk assessment, but should not simply be recommended as a matter of course.
Type 3 – Common parts and flats (non-destructive)
A Type 3 fire risk assessment includes the work involved in a Type 1 fire risk assessment, but goes beyond the scope of the FSO (though not the scope of the Housing Act). This risk assessment considers the arrangements for means of escape and fire detection (i.e. smoke alarms) within at least a sample of the flats.
Within the flats, the inspection is non-destructive, but the fire resistance of doors to rooms is considered.
Measures to prevent fire are not considered unless (eg in the case of maintenance of the electrical and heating installations) the measures are within the control of, for example, the landlord.
A Type 3 fire risk assessment may sometimes be appropriate for rented flats if there is reason to suspect serious risk to residents in the event of a fire in their flats. (This might be, for example, because of the age of the block or reason for suspicion of widespread, unauthorised material alterations).
This type of fire risk assessment will not be possible in the case of long leasehold flats, as there is normally no right of access for freeholders.
Type 4 – Common parts and flats (destructive)
A Type 4 fire risk assessment has the same scope of work as a Type 3 fire risk assessment, except that there is a degree of destructive inspection, in both the common parts and the flats, carried out on a sampling basis.
This will usually necessitate the presence of a contractor for the purpose of opening up construction and making good after the inspection. However, the nature of the work is such that, often, destructive inspection within flats can only be carried out in those that are vacant.
This is the most comprehensive fire risk assessment, but will only be appropriate in limited circumstances – such as when a new landlord takes over a block of flats in which the history of works carried out is unknown and there is reason to suspect serious risk to residents from both a fire in their own flats and a fire in neighbours’ flats.
Please note: Before destructive inspection is to be carried out, the risk of disturbing asbestos should be considered
(e.g. by an examination of the asbestos register).
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