Fire Safety and Leaseholders 

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, (“the 2005 Order”) it is a requirement that a Fire Risk Assessment of the common areas of buildings containing flats be carried out.

Common areas of a building containing flats usually mean those parts of the building not within the actual living space of individual flats; for example, the entrance, hallway/corridor, landing and staircase.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

The Fire Risk Assessment involves the management of hazards and risks.

  • A hazard is something with the potential to cause injury or ill health to someone
  • A risk is the likelihood of this occurring. The risk could increase if the hazard becomes more severe.

Why are Fire Risk Assessments needed?

The reason for doing a Fire Risk Assessment is to identify possible measures that will:

  • reduce the risk of a fire starting and spreading
  • provide means of escape
  • detect fires
  • fight fires

What are the outcomes of a Fire Risk Assessment?

The Fire Risk Assessment will usually contain recommendations to be actioned, for example.

  • install a fire alarm
  • set up a sprinkler system,
  • operate a stay put/ evacuate policy,
  • ensure flat entrance doors are properly fire-resistant

Fire doors

Generally, a basic fire risk assessment undertaken under the 2005 Order will examine the common areas and this may include consideration of individual front entrance doors to flats. Front entrance doors will usually be the most common form of use as an emergency exit route.

Front entrance doors to flats need to be fire-resistant and self-closing. The required standard is a door which provides 30 minute fire resistance with fire-retardant strips, smoke seals and with a self-closing mechanism.

Front entrance doors to individual flats are often the leaseholder’s responsibility. If the fire risk assessment flags up that the front entrance door is not fire compliant, it would be important to check the lease to see who is responsible for the door.

The leaseholder must request permission to change the door to ensure that the fire risk assessment is not compromised.

The leaseholder would be responsible for all costs associated with the maintenance or replacement of the fire door.

The housing health and safety rating systems sets out guidance on potential harms and hazards that could be found in any residential premises. The fire door guidance is that summarised as follows:

  • doors should be properly constructed/fitted and with self-closers where appropriate
  • doors should be fire resistant

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