Fire risk assessment how often

I am often asked how often a fire risk assessment should be completed and reviewed.  There is not a definitive answer as it all depends on the type of premises and the risk involved.   

If you have a residential property (block of flats, HMO) then should ideally review your fire risk assessment on an annual basis.  This is because of the sleeping risk and allows a fire risk assessor to ensure the responsible person is keeping up with the necessary arrangements.  It also allows an assessor to check if there are any new risks or have been any material alterations to the property.

If you have a commercial property, again we do recommend every year but can accept every couple of years.  This is on the basis that you carry out an in-house review every year that it is not carried out by a professional.

This all depends on the attitude and competence of the responsible persons.  As a qualified fire risk assessor, I will always make a judgement of this and how efficient they are at record keeping and compliance when following fire risk assessments.

Therefore to summarise, to ensure compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, you must ensure you review your fire risk assessment on a regular basis (normally every year) or at any time if there are any material alterations or other significant changes to the property to warrant a new one.

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Child minders fire safety guidance

The Childcare Register for childcare in both domestic and non-domestic premises is issued and controlled by Ofsted.  They state “The registered person must ensure that the children receiving childcare are kept safe from harm” and this naturally includes fire safety.  It requests that a fire risk assessment of the premises is completed which should identify and address and hazards and risks in the property.

Broadly speaking, childcare facilities can be divided into two main types (although a whole range of premises could be used).  These are:

  • Day-care providers, eg, full day care, sessional day care, out-of-school care, crèches etc  - this is in non-domestic premises.
  • Child minding that takes place in domestic premises.

Fire safety wise it is a bit of a grey area  - some say both subject to the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) when used for child minding activities, but this is not crystal clear. For non-domestic premises which are subject to the above legislation, the fire risk assessment should be considered acceptable by the Ofsted inspectors.

It is in the domestic premises where problems may arise because the responsible person (childminder) may not have the necessary skills to carry out a fire risk assessment.

Guidance previously issued by the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers Association [CACFOA] can assist them fulfill their duties with regards to fire safety.

Domestic Dwellings (which will be used for Childminding)

The guidance uses a common sense basic standard of fire precautions for domestic properties to be used for child minding activities.

In a nutshell, it is vital that child minders know what to do in the event of a fire and establish an escape plan. This should include ensuring that the escape routes are kept clear and a means of raising the alarm is in place (smoke alarms), where the assembly point is and who will call the fire brigade.

Fire safety measures to consider include:

Ensuring there are no inner rooms situations

Providing fire-fighting equipment (fire extinguisher, fire blanket)

Correct heating installations

Not smoking

Safe cooking arrangements

Safe furniture (Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations

Safe and tested electrics

Provisions for overnight care


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e-bike lithium-ion battery fire

This recent fire in Shepherds Bush was started by an e-bike’s lithium-ion battery. The fire resulted in one casualty being taken to hospital and up to sixty firefighters attended the blaze. The fire occurred on the 12th floor of a high rise block of flats.

LFB have issued a serious warning over these e-bikes and their batteries as they have now been the cause of many fires and a pattern is starting to develop.

When the chargers on these batteries fail, they do so with such ferocity causing the fire to develop rapidly. E-bikes and e-scooters are often stored in communal areas and corridors of blocks of flats and thus are not only a serious fire risk but can also block people’s only means of escape route.

Fires involving lithium-ion batteries, can eject their contents over a large area if they fail which can lead to various seats of fire, causing massive problems for occupants of the building and the fire brigade.

LFB have advised that these e-bikes and scooters should be stored and charged in a safe location where possible (for example, a shed or garage).

If they must be stored inside, you must make sure you have adequate smoke detection systems and also ensure than your means of escape routes are not obstructed. Where this is not always possible and e-bikes are being charged indoors, it’s always best to adopt safe charging and to ensure that everyone has a safe escape plan in place.

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Do you need a fire risk assessment for flats?

Fire risk assessment communal areas

If you require a fire risk assessment for the communal areas (otherwise known as common parts) of your block of flats, then we would be delighted to help you carry this out.

We have a team of qualified assessors who specialise in carrying out these assessments for both purpose-built and converted blocks of flats.  Sometimes these communal areas can comprise of just a few metres and be just a single storey.  It is often frustrating for landlords who feel such a small communal area should not be subjected to this legislation.

However, the size of the communal areas is irrelevant as far as the law is concerned but of course, can lead to fewer recommendations in a fire risk assessment report.

We need to know the age of the building, how many flats, floors and communal staircases.  Whether you have an existing fire alarm system and emergency lighting is important as well as the location of your gas and electrical meters.

Whatever the answers to these questions, Whale Fire can help and carry out these fire risk assessments to your communal areas quickly and for a competitive fee.

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For other questions relating to common parts fire risk assessments you may be interested in the following links.  For freeholder fire risk assessments, see here:

For fire risk assessment when buying a flat, here:

And selling my flat and need a fire risk assessment, here:

Acorn Estate Agents
GQ Property Management
The Howard deWalden Estate
Hilton Hotels and Resorts
Kaz Minerals
Lismoyne Hotel
The Apartment Company
Alexander Property
Alfra TV
Carpenters Arms
Construction Youth
East End Homes
Harrys Bar
Marston Propertie
Money Corp
Performace 18
San Leon Energy
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