FAQs – Fire Safety
1st Sep 2021
Implementing fire safety in buildings is one of the most important roles as Managing Agent, and it’s important that residents comply to help us achieve this. At Blocsphere, we have a number of ways to ensure our buildings are compliant with the latest fire regulations, from tenant compliance forms to fire box documents.
Here are some frequently asked questions related to implementing fire safety at our developments:
Why do I need to complete a tenant compliance form?
Each flat will need to complete a Tenant Compliance Form, so we have up to date contact information of all leaseholders and other occupiers. If you rent out your property, you will need to provide the names and contact information of the head tenant and all other known tenants / known occupiers. We use the compliance form to know occupant numbers and to implement a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) for individuals who may have difficulties evacuating a building to a place of safety without support or assistance.
What is a fire box document?
We keep a fire box document for all properties we manage. The fire box document addresses the number of occupants in each flat, and whether these occupants need assistance or not, if they needed to evacuate the building. We also keep a record of all floor plans, the number of occupied / empty flats, number of floors and any access codes to the building. The fire box documents are located on site, so they are accessible in the event of a fire.
Why do I need my fire door checked?
Believe it or not, your front door is a secret weapon against fire in your block. And not just for you, but your neighbours too. It prevents fire and smoke from spreading to the communal areas, and cutting off the escape routes. So you should never alter your front door without taking advice on the implications it would have on fire safety. It should have a self-closing device fitted to meet current fire safety guidance for flats — you should never remove this. Even altering the letterbox or adding a cat flap can affect the fire safety of your building and the communal escape routes. Always ask permission from your landlord or managing agent first.
Your fire door should be checked regularly so that they are compliant with the current British standards, and to ensure it is in correct working order to minimise damage in the event of a fire. The fire door should be able to resist a fire for the legal minimum of 30 minutes. Your Property Manager will organise a fire door specialist to check all fire doors in your building at least every 6 months.
Does my flat need a fire risk assessment?
It’s a legal requirement for all blocks of flats (including houses converted into two or more flats) to have a fire risk assessment of the communal areas only. But this must include the front doors of individual flats. The responsibility to arrange the assessment lies with the landlord. This could be a Residents’ Management Company, Right to Manage Company or an appointed Managing Agent.
A basic fire risk assessment will look at the communal areas and examine the main doors to the flats. If there’s reason to doubt the structural fire protection of a block, a more intrusive assessment may be required. This may include opening up the structure of the building to check its fire resistance.
What do I do if there is a fire in my building?
Your Property Manager will have informed all residents of the fire action plan when we took over management. If you are unaware of what the fire action plan is, a fire safety sign will be shown in all communal areas of the building, which will highlight what to do if there is a fire.
There are 2 types of fire action plans:
A stay put policy means that unless the fire breaks out in your flat, it’s safest to stay in your flat unless you’re asked to leave by the fire brigade. Residents in the flat where the fire broke out should evacuate and call the fire brigade; other residents are safe to stay in their flats.
An evacuation policy means that all residents should evacuate the building in the event of a fire. In such a case, alarm and detection systems should be suitable to alert all residents of the building to allow them to evacuate in a timely manner.
If you’re not sure of the fire safety plan for your block, please contact us and we’ll be able to advise.