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    • Strebor123
    • By Strebor123 17th May 18, 9:13 AM
    • 88Posts
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    Strebor123
    Fire Safety - Communal Areas
    • #1
    • 17th May 18, 9:13 AM
    Fire Safety - Communal Areas 17th May 18 at 9:13 AM
    Hi all,

    I am the director of a company that owns the freehold for a building with 3 flats in it. I am one of the flat owners and I have recently appointed the owners of the other 2 flat owners as directors.

    One owner has said she thinks we need to have a fire risk assessment for the communal areas (stairs, hallway and landing). I wasn't so sure. We're getting some radio linked smoke detectors for each floor but I don't know what else we legally need. Is there any guidance for a situation like ours? I'm struggling to find legislation for situations where the leaseholders are also the freeholders. I'm trying to avoid us needing to shell out ~150 for a risk assessment. There's only a hallway and stairs, how much can you really do?

    The house was converted into flats in the 1980's.

    Thanks!
Page 1
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 17th May 18, 9:25 AM
    • 21,420 Posts
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    agrinnall
    • #2
    • 17th May 18, 9:25 AM
    • #2
    • 17th May 18, 9:25 AM
    I don't know the answer to your question, although perhaps your local authority can help, but I can't see why the fact that the leaseholders are also the freeholders would make any difference: fire safety in communal areas must surely be a responsibility of leaseholders freeholders, whoever they are.
    Last edited by agrinnall; 17-05-2018 at 2:06 PM.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 17th May 18, 9:28 AM
    • 7,180 Posts
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    eddddy
    • #3
    • 17th May 18, 9:28 AM
    • #3
    • 17th May 18, 9:28 AM
    On this specific question...

    I'm struggling to find legislation for situations where the leaseholders are also the freeholders.
    Originally posted by Strebor123
    There will not be any specific legislation relating to that.

    As joint freeholders, all legislation relating to freeholders applies to you.

    As a leaseholder, all legislation relating to leaseholders applies to you.


    Here's an overview of a freeholder's responsibilities for fire safety in buildings containing flats: https://www.lease-advice.org/article/health-safety-in-buildings-containing-flats-obligations-and-who-pays/
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 17th May 18, 9:31 AM
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    davidmcn
    • #4
    • 17th May 18, 9:31 AM
    • #4
    • 17th May 18, 9:31 AM
    I don't know the answer to your question, although perhaps your local authority can help, but I can't see why the fact that the leaseholders are also the freeholders would make any difference: fire safety in communal areas must surely be a responsibility of leaseholders, whoever they are.
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    Don't you mean a responsibility of freeholders? It makes a difference because the only parties who have an interest in enforcing the responsibilities of the freeholders are the leaseholders. If they're just the same people wearing different hats and none of them actually cares then there's not a great deal of point in them bringing in external consultants.

    If however you're a third party freeholder who has a "close working relationship" with a fire safety consultant then I imagine it's very important that you charge the leaseholders for an expensive report about the bleeding obvious...
    • Strebor123
    • By Strebor123 17th May 18, 9:42 AM
    • 88 Posts
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    Strebor123
    • #5
    • 17th May 18, 9:42 AM
    • #5
    • 17th May 18, 9:42 AM
    Thanks Eddddy. I've had a read through that and it says that !!!8220;!!!8230;take such general fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances of the case to ensure that the premises are safe!!!8221;.

    Does anybody know what defines "reasonable"? There are no communal doors aside from the front door. We could get a CO2 and foam extinguisher put in the hallway.

    The other doors are floors to each owners flat. Do all these doors legally have to be fire doors?

    I think the other person is just concerned that if we somehow don't comply with fire safety legislation then if there is a fire the insurance won't cover us.
    • need an answer
    • By need an answer 17th May 18, 9:43 AM
    • 977 Posts
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    need an answer
    • #6
    • 17th May 18, 9:43 AM
    • #6
    • 17th May 18, 9:43 AM
    In the past I have always found the local fire officer a good source of information,locally they can arrange visits and advise in these types of situations where there are only a few properties and it is certainly a better option than going down the formal route of a written fire assessment.
    in S 40 T 64 F 60
    out S 58 T 66 F 73
    2017 -32
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 17th May 18, 10:20 AM
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    davidmcn
    • #7
    • 17th May 18, 10:20 AM
    • #7
    • 17th May 18, 10:20 AM
    I think the other person is just concerned that if we somehow don't comply with fire safety legislation then if there is a fire the insurance won't cover us.
    Originally posted by Strebor123
    Unless there's a condition in your policy which actually says that, then they're wrong.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 17th May 18, 11:10 AM
    • 45,907 Posts
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    G_M
    • #8
    • 17th May 18, 11:10 AM
    • #8
    • 17th May 18, 11:10 AM
    The RRO says:
    The fire safety risk assessment duty of the !!!8220;responsible person!!!8221; is to evaluate the risk to people from fire, taking into account existing fire safety measures and to determine whether additional measures are necessary.
    In your position I would get one or more of the joint freehlders to take on the role and produce a short written report. Google for examples. No need to employ anyone for such a small building - mostly it's common sense.

    Asking the Fire brigade to visit /advise might be a good idea.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 17th May 18, 11:57 AM
    • 1,219 Posts
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    teneighty
    • #9
    • 17th May 18, 11:57 AM
    • #9
    • 17th May 18, 11:57 AM
    The other doors are floors to each owners flat. Do all these doors legally have to be fire doors?
    Originally posted by Strebor123

    Yes. But cannot be applied retrospectively, but should be mentioned on the risk assessment so that if the doors are ever changed they can be upgraded to full fire doors.


    150 for an assessment seems quite reasonable, 50 per leaseholder.
    • Strebor123
    • By Strebor123 17th May 18, 12:45 PM
    • 88 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    Strebor123
    Yes. But cannot be applied retrospectively, but should be mentioned on the risk assessment so that if the doors are ever changed they can be upgraded to full fire doors.


    150 for an assessment seems quite reasonable, 50 per leaseholder.
    Originally posted by teneighty
    Well. Just because it's not a lot per leaseholder, doesn't mean we really want to pay for someone. Especially since it is literally a hallway and landing and nothing else.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 17th May 18, 2:05 PM
    • 21,420 Posts
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    agrinnall
    Don't you mean a responsibility of freeholders?
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Yes, sorry, got my lease and free confused. I will correct my post.
    • troffasky
    • By troffasky 17th May 18, 3:55 PM
    • 114 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    troffasky
    Have you looked at the building regs documents for fire safety [approved documents B]? It may seem like a bit of a chore but it's at least worth skimming.
    • franklee
    • By franklee 17th May 18, 4:17 PM
    • 3,757 Posts
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    franklee
    I agree with need an answer, ask the local local fire officer.

    Fire safety isn't necessarily just common sense even in a small block of flats. For example it's not obvious to avoid doormats, plant pots etc in the communal hallway but fill the area with smoke and they are a trip hazard. So I say get a professional view.

    Also maybe some training on how to use extinguishers etc. at least make sure everyone reads the instructions.
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