Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) are carried out in shared communal areas by qualified and independent assessors. The assessors consider every aspect of your building to check the likelihood of a fire happening, and if it did occur how likely it would be to spread or how would it be contained quickly, effectively, and safely. The frequency of these assessments taking place depends on the type of building your home is in. You will be informed of the assessment date and may be asked to provide access to the communal area.
Once the check is complete there may be a list of actions that need to be carried out to ensure your safety in the event of a fire. Your housing officer may be able to carry out some of these actions, for example, speaking with you about keeping fire exits clear, or an engineer may need to visit to resolve them.
We inspect all fire doors annually, which may include the front door to your home. Initially, we will do this when we complete the FRA.
Can I see the fire risk assessment for my block?
If you live in a block, fire safety experts will have carried out a fire risk assessment (FRA) for your property. You are now able to request the FRA for your block by completing this form.
If you have a gas appliance, for example, a boiler, it is a legal requirement for a gas safe engineer to come into your home and check this is fit and safe for you to use at least once a year. This check is called a Landlord Gas Safety Record. The check will normally take 20-30 minutes, but this can vary depending on what gas appliances you have and whether any issues are found. The engineer will check your boiler, gas pipework, flues, radiators and hot water cylinders. If you have a gas cooker or a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm, these will also be visually checked by the engineer.
You will receive a letter from our contractor 8-10 weeks before this check is due and will be given an appointment with either a morning or afternoon timeslot. You will be able to call the contractor to rearrange this appointment for a time that is convenient for you if necessary. It is important that you allow access for this appointment.
Some of our bigger blocks have a heat network where the heating and hot water supplied comes from a shared boiler rather than from an individual boiler in your home. Where this is the case, shared boilers are checked annually. You don't need to be at home to give access for this check.
If your home uses a heat network, instead of a boiler you will have a Heat Interface Unit (HIU) in your property which needs to be serviced annually. You will need to be at home so the engineer can come in and check this. The contractor will contact you by telephone or email to book your appointment.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
It is important that you regularly check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms in your home and replace any batteries if necessary.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. It's colourless, odourless and tasteless but it can be fatal. Carbon monoxide can escape from appliances like boilers and fires if they are not working properly, or if the chimney or flue is blocked.
The danger signs of carbon monoxide are:
- Gas flames that normally burn blue, burning orange or yellow
- Sooty stains on or above appliances.
To make sure everything is working safely, it's essential that you have a valid gas safety certificate by getting a gas safety check done every year.
Electric bikes and e-scooters
With the rise in ownership of electric bikes and e-scooters, the London Fire Brigade has seen a growing number of fires caused by lithium batteries, so much so they have launched their #ChargeSafe campaign.
Most of the dangers lie in charging the device, so if you own an electric bike or e-scooter, please make sure you:
- Never charge them while you are sleeping or not at home
- Unplug the charger once it has finished charging
- Don’t cover the charger as it could lead to overheating or catching fire
There are also safety issues around kits you can buy online to convert a standard bike to an e-bike. These kits are lithium-ion battery packs and many do not meet UK safety regulations. Make sure:
- The battery and charger meet UK safety standards and you always use the correct charger
- To never tamper with the battery and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- That you are wary of DIY kits you can get online to convert a standard bike to an e-bike
Never keep an electric bike or e-scooter in a fire escape route. If you witness an electric bike or e-scooter battery start to catch light, immediately evacuate the property, close the door behind you and call the fire brigade. Do not try and tackle the fire or move the bike/scooter.
The majority of your electrical components are inaccessible, but it is still very important for us to be sure the electric supply in your home is safe. An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a report carried out to assess the safety of the existing electrical installation within a property and it is a legal requirement for a qualified electrician to come into your home and check this at least once every ten to five years.
Our electrical contractors will send you a letter with either a morning or afternoon appointment around four weeks before this check is due. This can be rearranged if the appointment does not suit you but it is really important to attend this appointment.
You may have a lift, CCTV or door entry system in your block which needs to be regularly serviced to ensure they're working safely. You will not normally be required to be home for this.
Some of our residents have lifting equipment in their homes, for example, hoists, which need to be checked by a qualified electrician every six months.
Some of our homes, particularly those built before 2000 may contain asbestos in insulation or older flooring. Any asbestos in your home will remain locked inside whatever product it was used in and will not be released unless these products get damaged. There’s no danger to you unless the fibres are released and inhaled.
If you ever suspect asbestos materials in your home have been damaged or have deteriorated, do not touch it or try to clean it up and get in contact with us straight away.
Talk to us
Our housing teams are here to help you, so please log into My Account and let your housing officer or property management officer know if:
- You spot a fire hazard such as items stored in communal areas or fire doors being propped open.
- You plan to carry out alterations or improvements to your home – this is important so that we can check that your plans won’t affect any fire stopping or safety features in your home. If you’ve previously made an alteration without telling us, please contact us now so that we can check that it hasn’t created a fire risk.