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Fire Safety in Purpose Built Flats

Due to the current climate of uncertainty surrounding cladding to hi-rise buildings and in turn the internal fire separation in those buildings being questioned, a competent and detailed fire risk assessment is essential.

Spectra offer all types of fire risk assessment, which are categorised into four types depending on their level of risk anticipated and the inspection that has to be carried out.

Level 1 and 2 assessments are considered basic assessments and are typically undertaken to fulfil the requirements detailed in the Fire Safety Order, with a Level 3 assessment having a wider scope where it may take into consideration controls within each flat for example.

A Level 4 assessment goes beyond typical controls and would look in detail at the construction of the building and would by its nature be very intrusive. Assessment is all encompassing and includes both the common parts of the building and the flats.

A destructive inspection will be carried out within the flat to confirm the fire separation meets current building regulations and that safe escape routes have not been compromised by the construction. A contractor would be present when the assessment is being completed and they may be asked to open any particular area of the flat if we find that there can be a potential risk of fire from that area.

These kinds of assessments would normally be requested following an enforcement visit by the local fire authority. They will request a Level 4 assessment to be carried out due to the concerns raised by the visiting officer in relation to the construction of protected routes, and separation between flats.

Our fire risk assessments for flats are carried out in accordance with current government guidelines, Fire Safety in Purpose Built Flats.

In practice….

Spectra have recently supported a large UK-wide housing association in carrying out Level 4 assessments of several of the hi-rise building stock they own/manage in four major North West City centres on buildings ranging from four story to twelve story.

We were requested to carry out these assessments following a number of improvement notices being issued by the enforcing officers who wanted proof that the building fire protection methods were in line with current building regulations.

Our remit was to establish the fire separation and construction between floor levels, between flats, escape corridors, and escape stairwells and finally, separation between flats.

As this was a fully intrusive inspection, penetrations were made in ceilings, floors and walls by the attending contractors to allow a full assessment of:

a) The types of construction materials used and sizes in relation to fire ratings
b) The extent of the fire separation especially in fire corridors to ensure that the separation was closed off in voids, thus not allowing passage of smoke and flames

The inspections were carried out over a number of days and issues were identified that needed resolution to ensure the build complied with current building regulations and provided adequate fire safety compliance.

The reports were provided to the client and the local authority enforcing officer for review. The reports provided the clients with valued engineered solutions, with a priority risk rating approach. This allowed the client to budget for these improvements.

Once the works were completed Spectra revisited site to ensure the works were completed to a satisfactory standard, and, following a further visit by the enforcing officer they were deemed acceptable.

Speak to us on 0161 926 8519 to arrange your Fire Risk Assessment, or email: info@thespectragroup.co.uk

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