Most people would accept that fire prevention is ‘common sense'. However, here are some true statements made by residents complaining about fire risk assessments -
"We've been living here for years without an incident why should we bother?"
"Fire Risk Assessments - This is just jobs for the boys"
"Risk Assessments are money for old rope"
"We haven't got enough money - it'll have to wait"
Focus on residential blocks and fire safety increased with the introduction of the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 ("RRO") that became law in October 2006.
Like much legislation interpretation can be a nightmare. In simple terms the RRO means that those that have control of the premises ("the responsible person/s") have a legal duty to ensure that sufficient fire precautions are in place to protect relevant persons within the premises. In order to establish what fire precautions are required a fire risk assessment must be carried out. Within a residential block it is the communal areas that fall under the legislation not the residents flat.
In order to conform with the RRO, the fire risk assessment should be specific to the premises and ideally carried out by an independent and competent person. The risk assessment will provide you with details of any equipment or remedial works that you may need to ensure that there are sufficient fire precautions in place. To ignore the recommendations of an assessment is as bad as not having one carried out. Block Managers and RMC's should bear in mind that if an incident occurs and there has been no Fire Risk Assessment carried out or recommendations from an assessment have not been addressed then the consequences for the responsible person/s will be determined in a court of law.