What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
A Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) is a detailed examination of the communal areas of a building. It is intended to identify any potential fire hazards (such as accumulated rubbish), evaluate the fire safety measures already in place (such as fire doors) and to determine if additional controls are to be put in place to prevent, control and mitigate the effects of a potential fire.
Islington Council has made a commitment to publish online the FRAs for all its purpose built residential buildings with interior communal areas, so that residents can access information easily.
The first FRAs published are for council buildings of 10 storeys or more. The FRAs for buildings of between 6 and 9 storeys will be published before the end of 2017.
FRAs are live documents – any issues raised in an FRA are assigned a timescale by which the work should be completed. The timescale is determined by the risk level specific to each individual issue. The FRA is updated whenever an action is completed or something changes. The published version may not show these most recent changes.
If you wish to enquire about the status of a repair, housekeeping or tenancy management issue please contact your local area housing office. For actions assigned to the cyclical improvement programme please send an enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use this email address to request a copy of the FRA for your building if it isn’t available online yet.
How are FRAs carried out?
In Islington, FRAs are carried out on all of the council’s social housing – that is, any purpose built residential property that has shared communal areas. During inspections, a member of the councils fire safety team inspects the building and compiles a report. The significant findings and actions arising from the report are shared with various departments within the council, who arrange for any required work to be carried out.
An FRA will include the following:
- Identifying any fire hazards using a checklist based on industry standards
- Identifying how to stop or control any fire hazards
- Assessing how likely a fire is to occur
- Determining fire protection measures in place Checking what fire protection measures are in place
- Assessing the likely consequences in the event of a fire
- Assessing the fire risk
- Setting out an action plan to deal with any issues which arise as a result of the FRA
- Setting the date by which any identified works should be completed.
Understanding your FRA
Each FRA includes an assessment of fire risk to the building. You will see three ratings on the front page of every FRA. The main one is Overall Risk from Fire. To calculate the Overall Risk From Fire, the findings of two other assessments are combined – the Evaluation of Fire Hazard and the Consequence For Life Safety.
The Overall Risk from Fire ratings are:
|Tolerable||The vast majority of blocks in Islington fall into this category, which is the lowest-risk rating. Blocks less than 10 storeys tall will be inspected every 3 years as a minimum.|
|Moderate||Many high-rise blocks will fall into this category based on the number of significant findings or issues arising, often due to the number of flats and density of population. All blocks rated as moderate are inspected annually, as are all blocks of 6 storeys or more, irrespective of their overall risk rating.|
|Substantial||Where significant risks are identified a block may receive a rating of substantial. Such a rating is awarded infrequently and usually based on one or perhaps two specific issues. All blocks that receive a substantial rating are re-inspected within 3 months.|
|Intolerable||The highest risk category is awarded in exceptional circumstances with immediate action to be taken. Immediate actions usually relate to one specific area of concern, for example the discovery of LPG cylinders. FRAs for these blocks are reviewed within one month.|
Any urgent issues identified in the FRA will be addressed immediately, and other issues will be addressed in order of priority. Issues which may need to be addressed immediately could include the discovery of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders or blocked emergency exits. Other issues such as routine repairs (for example, missing or defective door closers) will be referred to the Estate Maintenance Team and assigned a target timescale for completion.
The table below show who is responsible for actions that arise from an FRA:
|Area Housing Office – Tenancy Management||Breaches of tenancy conditions, storage outside properties including LPG and/or combustible waste.|
|Area Housing Officer – Estate Services||Abandoned vehicles/bikes/scooters, mobility scooter storage or charging in internal areas, cycles chained to railings, etc. Other common issues may include removal of refuse or bulky waste from common areas; securing refuse chambers.|
|Estate Maintenance Team/Housing Repairs Service||All common area repairs are raised to the Estate Maintenance Team in the first instance. Some repairs will be issued to the Housing Repairs Service and/or support contractors.|
|Cyclical Improvement Programme/Fire Safety Works Team||Long-term improvements or upgrade works which are considered as part of future capital work programmes, for example installation of emergency lighting.|
|Cyclical Testing Team||Responsible for testing and maintenance of dry or wet rising mains, emergency lighting and fire detection/warning systems.|
|Construction/Fire Safety Team||Actions may include issuing fire safety information to residents, changes to fire safety strategy, or where a need for further, intrusive surveys may be required.|
|TMO||Where a tenancy management organisation exists, actions may be identified which fall within the TMO remit.|