Coronavirus

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Coronavirus – managing council homes and estates

We’re putting plans in place to ensure that we can continue to safely manage the 30,000 homes across the Council’s estates and street properties during the coronavirus outbreak  – from making sure tenants suffering financially don’t face eviction to keeping our estates as clean and hygienic as possible.

Visit our council homes coronavirus page to find out more and sign up for regular updates through our estates and homes e-newsletter.

Fire risk assessments

What is a fire risk assessment?

An MOT for a building’s fire safety.

If you own a car over 3 years old you must have it independently safety checked every year. Likewise, we are required by law to carry out fire risk assessments (FRAs) on all of our social housing.

How regularly FRAs are undertaken is dependent upon the type of building and the level of risk that the assessor places upon it. FRAs can take place every few months to every 4 years and is also subject to change as circumstances vary.

We have a programme of FRAs based on risk. All high risk buildings have a FRA annually, medium risk buildings are between one and 3 years and low risk buildings are every 4years.

All FRAs are subject to an annual desktop study or reviewed where there are significant changes or any incidents.

FRAs identify potential fire risks found at the time the assessment was carried out and the measures that should be taken to minimise or eliminate that risk.

Some of the key things FRAs look at are the safety and integrity of exit routes, the structural measures in place to stop or slow down the spread of a fire and whether there is anything inside the building that could start, accelerate or spread a fire.

They’re carried out by fully accredited professionals, who use an industry standard checklist – this checklist is used for all FRAs across the country.

The national FRA checklist will not, however, include some of the things you might expect. For example, it does not require fire or smoke alarms to be tested and doesn’t include anything relating to the outside of the building, such as cladding or external wall insulation.

Full review of fire safety

We’re carrying out a full review of fire safety, including the areas not covered in FRAs, such as cladding and insulation, to ensure all of our properties are safe.

Where additional works have been undertaken on our properties, they are to comply with building regulations and are checked accordingly once works are complete.

We’re always looking for ways to improve our fire safety measures, including FRAs. That’s why we’ll be working with residents, after this year’s FRAs have been reviewed, to launch a new and enhanced way of carrying out FRAs, that will ensure that they are better tailored to Hackney estates.

Receiving feedback from residents as to what the enhanced FRA needs to assess will be key to this new process.

FRAs can cover sections of buildings or entire blocks, depending on their construction and design.

There are 1,800 FRAs covering all of Hackney’s housing. All of these FRAs are up-to-date, however as part of the fire safety review, we have committed to reviewing all of these within the next 3 months to ensure the safety of the building and residents.

Fire hazard categories

Fire hazards are categorised according to their potential consequence and probability, and rated critical, high, medium, low or advisory.

Any potential risks rated are reviewed and then prioritised in terms of the work required to resolve the issue.

The types of risks could range from the removal of combustible items within the building, to fixing fire doors or smoke vents that are damaged or not working.

A fire risk assessment is not…

FRAs are useful documents, providing an overview of any potential fire safety issues in a building, but they by no means provide a complete picture as to whether a building is safe or not.

Like a car’s MOT, FRAs provide a snapshot of what was found at the time of inspection. For example, it might highlight a bike or some rubbish obstructing a hallway as a hazard, but that hazard might be removed hours or days later.

Similarly, an FRA will not pick up on hazards in place after the FRA is completed – for example, if a fire door is damaged in between FRAs. This is why it is important that residents report any concerns they might have about fire safety.

Our commitment to openness

Very few other councils have published their FRAs because they don’t provide a complete picture and may make some people more anxious, however following the fire at Grenfell Tower, we want to give residents as much information as possible about fire safety in their home.

Due to the number of FRAs, the we’ll be publishing them in batches, as this will provide a range of FRA documents that represent all of our buildings types.

Residents will also get a feel for what is being done generally as opposed to certain types of buildings all together.

If you have any questions about specific FRAs please contact housinginfo@hackney.gov.uk.

FAQs

Fire risk assessments map

Due to the number of FRAs, we’ll be publishing them in batches, as this will provide a range of FRA documents that represent all of our buildings types.

Residents will also get a feel for what is being done generally, as opposed to certain types of buildings all together.

We’ve published all our FRAs up to April 2019. We’re currently developing a resident portal so the FRAs from April 2019 to March 2020 will be available as live documents from early 2020.

Page updated on: 20 December 2019