Fire Risk Assessment

Property Types

In Completing your own Fire Risk Assessment it was stated that owners of simple properties are most able to carry out their own Fire Risk Assessment. Therefore an important issue to consider when beginning the Fire Risk Assessment process is the type of property being assessed. Some types of property have higher risk factors and owners will need to seek further advice from a Fire Risk Professional or the Fire Service to ensure they have done all they need to do.

Because properties are unique, the information on this page is only intended to give a general idea of the sort of issues which can increase the risk to occupants in the event of a fire.

Bungalows and other Single Level Properties (not including Flats)

In general terms these should present the least difficulty to an owner assessor because all the accommodation is on one floor and any occupants should be able to escape relatively easily to the outside in a fire. Dormer bungalows should be treated as two storey houses.

2 Storey Houses, Cottages or Barn Conversions

These should also present few problems to the owner assessor because they are essentially similar to family homes.

3 Storey Properties

As soon as a property is on three or more floors, then the risk increases. This is because of the risk of people being trapped on the top floor and the difficulty of evacuating them. These properties could still be owner-assessed but the assistance of a Fire Risk Professional or the Fire Service should be sought to supplement the owner's initial findings.

Flats of any type

We think that owners of flats should always supplement their own fire risk assessment by using the services of a reputable Fire Risk Assessor. Fire Safety in flats is more complicated and generally beyond the competence of an owner-assessor.

Flats in a block, or individual flats above or below other premises can present risks beyond the competence of owner-assessors particularly if the use of the property below is commercial. Fire safety in blocks of flats typically depends on: A comprehensive centrally controlled Fire Alarm System, Fire Doors, high fire resistance of walls and ceilings and the protection of the common escape route which is normally the remit of the management company. In an individual flat (above a shop or other similar premises) there may not be a shared common escape route but high fire resistance of walls and ceilings and the protection of the escape route to ground level is still very important.

Other properties where expert help should generally be sought

  • Properties with a cellar, basement or a third-party owned property underneath (because a fire below may be unknown to your guests)
  • Properties with long or complicated escape routes
  • Properties that only have one exit
  • Very large properties sleeping more than 12 people or with more than 6 bedrooms because these are not "similar to a family home"

Compliance with recent Building Regulations

If your property has been completed recently, say within the last ten years, and you know it complies with Building Regulations then it should already have a number of good fire safety features. These types of properties are going to be much easier for the owner-assessor.

Very Old Properties

If your property is an ancient place, hundreds of years old with wooden walls and open beamed ceilings then it is likely to be higher risk in terms of fire safety. It can be made safe (given the right fire prevention and protection measures) but there will be an increased level of care required on the part of the assessor. Therefore it would be safest to seek professional advice to supplement your own findings.