Fire risk assessments: how often must they be done?
There are no specific time periods in law for how often fire risk assessments must be carried out or reviewed....
12 June 2020
Today, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee (HCLGC) published its report. HCLGC reviewed the Government’s progress in removing potentially dangerous cladding from high-rise and high-risk buildings, and the adequacy of funding by the Government.
HCLGC Chair, Clive Betts MP said:
“We have challenged the Government to finally commit to removing all forms of dangerous cladding once and for all. Three years on from the Grenfell Tower disaster there are still thousands of home owners living in buildings with some form of dangerous cladding. The financial and emotional toll has been significant, with temporary safety measures costing huge sums and the ongoing stress of living in a property that may not be safe. This is not good enough.
“It is clear that the £1 billion Building Safety Fund will not be enough. Too many risk being excluded by the criteria for accessing this support and the amount of money pledged is only enough to cover a fraction of the work needed. The Fund should be increased so that it is enough to cover the amount of work that is actually needed, both to remove cladding a resolve wider fire safety concerns. Further support must also be provided for the costs of stop-gap safety measures, such as ‘waking watches’, to reduce the burden on homeowners.
“This should not just be a question of the Government, and therefore the taxpayer, stepping in with a blank cheque. Those who have caused, and in some cases refuse to rectify, safety issues must be made to pay. We call on the Government to consider taking legal action to recover the cost of works on individual buildings. Compulsory Purchase Order powers should be used to take direct ownership of buildings where owners have failed to begin remedial work by December 2020.
“It is time for the Government to commit to end the scourge of dangerous cladding once and for all. A piecemeal approach that will see homeowners facing many more years of stress and financial hardship. This is not an option.”
HCLGC recommendations include:
- That where developers, building owners and managing agents have unreasonably refused to pass information on about the safety status of their building, the Government must compel those in positions of responsibility to be honest with their residents about fire safety defects in their buildings.
- Government should provide a remediation fund that:
- Applies to all high-risk buildings—of any height;
- Covers a range of fire safety defects, including combustible insulation;
- Covers all costs associated with remediation works.
- The Competition and Markets Authority should investigate “usurious” charges for interim fire safety measures, as part of its ongoing work into the leasehold sector.
- Government should take full control of The External Wall Fire Review (EWS1).
- Government should consider the setting up of a new national body whose sole purpose is to purchase the freehold (using Compulsory Purchase Orders) and manage the remediation of buildings with serious fire safety defects. Once a building has been fully remediated, the new body should take the opportunity to convert freeholds into commonhold.
- Government must ensure that residents in affected buildings are offered support by the NHS to cope with the physical and mental health toll of living in potentially dangerous buildings.
Further information on Fire Safety
LEASE Fire Safety Advice