Fire Risk Assessments: Communal Areas

An image of a smoke alarm.

Do you own or manage a residential property with communal areas? You have a responsibility to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment as per the UK law.

This blogpost will discuss everything you need to know about fire risk assessments for communal areas in residential premises, including:

– What is a communal area?
– Do you require a fire risk assessment?
– Who is responsible for conducting a fire risk assessment?
– What a fire risk assessment entails.
– How regularly a fire risk assessment must be conducted.
– How to book a fire risk assessment.
– The legal ramifications of non-compliance.

What is a communal area in regard to a fire risk assessment?

A communal area refers to a shared space within a building or property that is used by multiple individuals or occupants. It is a space where people gather or pass through, such as corridors, stairwells, lobbies, entrance halls, common rooms, or shared facilities like kitchens, laundry rooms, or recreation areas.

Different types of communal areas include:

● Corridors
● Stairwells
Lobbies
● Common rooms
● Shared Kitchens
● Laundry rooms
● Entrances and exits
● Parking areas
● Storage areas
● Outdoor spaces

Do I need a fire risk assessment in my communal area?

Are you a  property manager or property owner where your property has multiple people who aren’t part of the same family unit living there?

If your answer is yes, then yes, you are legally obligated to have a fire risk assessment. This is to protect people from fire risks and prevent a fire.

The law says that the responsibility for fire safety in the shared parts of a building is the ‘responsible person’. In blocks of flats this is usually the freeholder or management company.

Who can conduct a fire risk assessment for a communal area?

So, who can conduct a fire risk assessment? A competent and qualified individual must complete a fire risk assessment, and the level of competency required depends on the risk of the premises.

In some cases, the fire risk assessment may be conducted by the property owner, a representative from a residents’ management company or a managing agent, depending on the risk of the building. However, many people prefer to contract a qualified and experienced fire risk assessor. Want to determine how competent an assessor is? The NFCC have a guide to help you.

What does a fire risk assessor look out for?

A fire risk assessment includes factors such as:

● The presence of flammable materials
● The condition of fire doors
● The availability and accessibility of firefighting equipment
● The evacuation strategy of the building
● The provision of emergency lighting
● The effectiveness of fire alarm systems

The purpose of assessing communal areas is to ensure that appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimise the risk of fire, facilitate safe evacuation, and protect the occupants and the property in the event of a fire emergency.

What is the cost of a fire risk assessment for communal areas?

We offer a transparent pricing structure, with no hidden costs! Our prices start from £285, and all our prices are fixed, depending on the size of your communal area. Check out our prices page for more information on our pricing structure.

Want us to conduct a fire risk assessment for your communal area? Get a free quote today and book your assessment appointment. Your report will be provided 7-10 working days from the date of the payment.

How regularly do fire risk assessments need to be conducted in communal areas?

A full assessment of the communal area must be reviewed regularly and must be arranged by a responsible person. This is to ensure the communal areas meet legal safety standards. Reviews to the area must be conducted when changes have been made, such as:

● Additional vulnerable people using the area
● A recent fire
● Extension of the communal area
● Lost, stolen or damaged fire safety equipment
● A rearrangement of furniture which may impact escape routes

What happens if a communal area doesn’t have a fire risk assessment?

In England and Wales, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005), states that fire risk assessments are a legal obligation. Failure to comply can result in a fine, or in some cases, a prison sentence.

How do I get a fire safety assessment for my communal area?

If you are wanting a fire risk assessment for your communal area, contact Fire Risk Assessments and get a FREE quote today.