Advice to Members in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy
Although the cause of the fire has yet to be confirmed residents in high rise buildings will obviously be concerned about their own safety. As in all things communication can help reassure people. At the moment the focus in the media is on the cladding, specifically the polyurethane filling.
ARMA have guidance notes on our website but we would recommend you take the following steps to help and reassure your leaseholders and tenants
- Check when the last Fire Risk Assessment was undertaken. If it is overdue schedule it as soon as possible
- identify whether any panels used in new or refurbished buildings are made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). It is important to stress that ACM cladding is not of itself dangerous, but it is important that the right type is used. If you identify that cladding on any of your buildings is made of ACM, then a sample can be tested.
- Ensure that any points arising from the last FRA have been actioned
- Ensure your published Fire Action Plan is up to date
- Identify which buildings, if any, you have that are clad. If they are clad contact the supplier and identify if the filling is mineral or polyurethane
- If fire extinguishers are on site check their service dates
- Have leaseholders made any alterations to their flats that may compromise fire safety, such as a new front door?
- Write to residents and leaseholders giving as much reassurance as you can. For example citing when the last FRA was carried out, that cladding is/isn’t present on the building, highlighting where evacuation procedures can be found if relevant.
- Revisit your fire safety assessments for buildings above four floors, particularly those higher than 18m. These should be undertaken by suitably qualified personnel.
- You may wish to check that those who have undertaken the risk assessments have the qualifications, knowledge and experience to assess fire safety risks in the building that they have assessed. Guidance on the recommended standards for assessors can be found in Appendix 3 of Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats published by the local government association and free to download at https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/fire-safety-purpose-built-04b.pdf .
- Review arrangements for the management of hot work and any work where there is a risk that a fire compartment in a building may be breached or damaged
- Issue guidance to residents on the condition and requirements of flat front doors where they form part of the fire compartmentation of the building
Further guidance is given in the ARMA Guidance Note B05 Fire Safety and in Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats published by the local government association and free to download by clicking here.
In addition, click here for a letter regarding Fire risk assessment advice for residential managing agents.
We also provide a fire safety advice information sheet for providing to your leaseholders ‘Fire safety and your legal duty as a leaseholder’ – click here.
Members may also wish to view the following documents: -
https://www.local.gov.uk/fire-safety-purpose-built-flats (Fire safety in purpose built blocks of flats – 2012 document).
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-your-home-safe-from-fire (Fire safety in the home – 2015 document).