Following pressure from the FPRA, new fire safety guidance has been published which will hopefully improve fire safety in blocks of flats.

The Federation of Private Residents Association along with a variety of industry professionals have been working with the Local Government Group who were commissioned to put together specialist advice which will be used for social and private landlords, risk assessors, fire officers and others in the housing sector.

This new guidance which runs to 191 pages can be used alongside existing advice on housing fire safety published in 2008. As well as dealing with new-build, repair and refurbishment in flats, it will also tackle issues surrounding vandalism.

Federation Chairman and member of the reference group Bob Smytherman said: "Ever since The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was approved by Parliament on June 7, 2005 and came in to law on October 1, 2006 those of us responsible for fire safety in blocks of flats have been calling for clear, comprehensive and unambiguous fire safety guidance and I am delighted that we have been able to inform the new guide.

"The previous advice covered most types of property, but it was never sufficient for common parts of blocks of flats and some landlords and residential management companies which are often run by volunteer Directors were unsure of their legal responsibilities in such buildings. This was also compounded by fire risk assessors being unclear about the level of investigation required when carrying out risk assessments, which often led to confusion over the need for things like fire fighting equipment, alarm systems and emergency lighting in the common ways.

"This new guidance should resolve many of these issues and help make sure everyone involved in the leasehold sector know exactly what they have to do so residents are made as safe as possible without being burdened with increased bureaucracy or inflated services charges as unscrupulous managing agents and landlords opt for expensive and unnecessary fire alarm systems."

 

Posted: 09.45, 1.8.11, rachael.haydon@pavpub.com