Fire Risk Assessment Review for Social Housing

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Fire Risk Assessment Review for Social Housing

Justin Mole explains the pt philosophy

Property Tectonics (pt) has been conducting fire risk assessments in one form or another for over 30 years as part of its blend of professional services and ethos which is based on providing customers with fully integrated solutions. What we mean by this is that we always adopt a holistic view of the challenge, task or problem which in turn leads us to adopting a ‘whole building’ or ‘whole house’ approach. So often inspectors and surveyors, especially those undertaking ‘compliance surveys’ of one form or another do not look beyond the immediate task in hand and adopt a blinkered approach, thereby failing to recognise the wider and often fuzzy boundaries that exists between their work and other related technical, economic and social issues. This is particularly true with respect to conducting fire risk assessments where technical and behavioural considerations must be carefully weighed to produce a practical and workable solution which in the end minimises risk and protects the occupants. In this regard, dealing with the risks associated with fire is an end to end process of identifying risks, reducing or eliminating those risks by implementing remedial works and implementing good management processes to monitor and control going forward. Property Tectonics adopts an innovative and seamless end to end methodology which maximises efficiencies, reduces risks and delivers compliance.

Property Tectonics method of undertaking FRAs is to approach the assessments using the PAS79 proforma, however Fire Risk Assessment survey design is not completely open ended as it is defined by PAS 79. There are always differences in style and content and Property Tectonics has added a few additional topics into our standard report which are not covered by the PAS; these enhance the report and are considered important by us.

Lifespan asset management and mobile software is used throughout the FRA process improving data collection, storage, file & document management, reporting and analysis. It reduces costs, improves efficiency, delivers accuracy and perhaps most importantly improves working relationships, communication and collaboration across all the stakeholders. It is an essential tool for data validation and quality checking, without which the depth and quality of such validation would be much less reliable. Mobile software guides assessors through the requirements of the surveys and provides an information resource on site. Assessors complete the survey on a tablet, taking photographs which link automatically to the relevant section in the risk assessment, providing an essential visual record alongside FRA notes and descriptions.

For Lifespan customers, the FRA surveys are uploaded and stored in your Lifespan Housing AMS account. This provides an ability to compile a full FRA report, which is then checked and validated in accordance with our QA procedures. Lifespan software can interrogate the data, adjust priorities and works to produce an efficient five-year programme including economic spend profiles. Through our inbuilt Reports Wizard, Lifespan will generate the full FRA report and provide additional options, allowing full interrogation and reporting of the data.

You don’t have to be a Lifespan user to get the benefit from the software as pt will deliver the risk assessments using the is web-based system providing maximum flexibility. It enables the delivery of different reports and outcomes to the customer in the form of additional management information. In short, customers don’t have to buy the software to get the benefit from the digital approach and methodology.

Property Tectonics has enormous experience of undertaking fire risk assessments and preparing fire strategy plans within the Social Housing Sector.  Recently we have carried out Type 1 & Type 4 fire risk assessments to residential blocks of varying sizes to many customers, including London Borough of Brent, A2Dominion, Trafford Housing Trust and Six Town Housing.

Having completed both Type-1 FRA’s to low rise blocks and Type-4 FRA’s ranging from 12 stories up to 25 stories in height. We employ experienced contractors to work with us, opening areas of construction for inspection and making good afterwards, quickly and with minimum inconvenience to residents; resident care is a high priority and is a key attribute in our key performance indicator measurement. Our assessments are undertaken in accordance with the RRFSO 2005 and also adopt the methodology of PAS 79 guidance.

Quality and well-trained staff are key and pt has a very experienced team of building surveyors who over and above their professional qualifications are trained and qualified in fire risk assessments, asbestos surveying and domestic energy assessment. All staff are either FRACS Warrington Certification or Institute of accredited Fire Engineers. All have attended Fire Risk Assessment training courses, approved and accredited by the IFE and IFSM and provided by the Fire Protection Association, Flamerisk, IFE and Fire Rescue Service. We consider it essential and a huge advantage that some of our fire risk assessors are also qualified building surveyors. They bring professional experience and no-how in building techniques, forms of construction, building materials and also a good understanding of the building regulations which provides a multi-disciplinary approach to carrying out fire risk assessments. This is particularly important when providing recommendations to remedy any deficiencies identified, produce specifications and in the management of remedial building works.

If you require any further information please feel free to get in touch via our contact page.