Fire Safety in blocks of flats Â– Good practice and record keeping Â– Part 15
Last week’s blog began looking at examples of good practice and how you, as Landlord or person responsible for fire safety in blocks of flats can make improvements. This week, we’ll continue in that theme, concentrating on good practice and record keeping.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, which is commonly known as the FSO, provides an obligation for you to create and maintain records of the fire safety arrangements in your building. It’s an important task for various reasons, but prime amongst those reasons is so that the person charged with responsibility for fire safety is aware of all fire safety features and provisions which are involved in the building design. It’s also essential for effective maintenance of all fire safety features and to enable the landlord or responsible person to preserve and protect fire safety measures during periods of alteration or renovation.
In larger blocks of flats, the fire safety arrangements might be detailed on a plan of the building, but in smaller or low-rise blocks, this is less likely. In those cases, the information will be contained within your risk assessment documents which should detail any information on maintenance, upkeep and servicing to meet the requirements of the FSO.
In more complex circumstances, such as where the block is part of a mixed-use development or where a fire-engineered design has been utilised, the preparation of a fire safety manual may be appropriate.
In addition, care facilities may benefit from the use of a fire safety manual, as it is common for several organisations to be involved in the running of the building and of the care itself. The content of the manual should show the fire safety arrangements, and more information and guidance on what should be included can be found in BS 9999 - Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings.
Liaison with the Fire Service is also important for the effective operation of your block of flats. The Fire Service may visit, although this is a rarity with most blocks of flats, and during their visit will familiarise themselves with the features of the building in relation to fire-fighting. This would include access for fire appliances, the provision of water supplies and any special facilities provided, such as fire-fighting lifts and fire mains.
This visit will be more likely if you have a large high-rise block, or where you are part of a more complex development. Sheltered schemes are also more likely to be visited. Where you are contacted about a visit from the Fire Service, it should be welcomed as pre-planning for incidents or emergencies can only prove to be a positive experience.
Of course, the Fire Service also offer various community initiatives, where they are able to assist landlords with fire awareness for residents. They can undertake home fire safety checks and you should bring this to the attention of your residents, particularly if you are housing those with special needs or disabilities.
If you have any queries about a project or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.
The Complete Fire Safety Management Platform is the only fully comprehensive online fire risk assessment and fire risk management platform. Our aim, at CFSM, is to make the process of becoming fire safe, straightforward and, to use our expertise in fire risk assessment and fire safety management to guide you through each step, resulting in your premises meeting all legal, insurance and ethical fire safety considerations.