We explain the 4 types of fire risk assessments building owners need to consider – and when more comprehensive FRAs are required.
Those responsible for buildings are legally required to complete fire risk assessments. Employers, building owners, and landlords must ensure that the building/s they are responsible for are assessed – to identify fire risks and hazards – and what needs to take place to reduce them.
Types of Fire Risk Assessments
The type of fire risk assessment required is dependent on the type of building, what it is used for, and what is identified during inspections.
Type 1 Fire Risk Assessments
A Type 1 Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) is non-destructive, and the most common. A Type 1 FRA assesses all the common parts of a building, such as a lobby area in a shared block of flats – but not individual dwellings. In some cases, a Type 1 FRA will inspect construction points between individual dwellings (such as shared supportive walls) – but in most cases, this is not necessary.
A Type 1 FRA has the purpose of ensuring that common parts of a building have the arrangements which allow people to escape if there was to be a fire – such as clear signage pointing to entry and exit points.
The results of a Type 1 FRA may reveal the requirement for further FRAs. If this is the case, the Type 1 FRA will list reasons why this would be required.
Type 2 Fire Risk Assessments
Type 2 Fire Risk Assessments are rare, and normally only recommended if a Type 1 FRA concluded that there may be serious structural flaws in a building which may increase the risk of fire spreading.
A Type 2 FRA includes destructive sampling. This increases the cost of this type of assessment because a contractor would be required.
Type 3 Fire Risk Assessments
A Type 3 Fire Risk Assessment is comprehensive – and covers more than the law requires. This type of assessment covers all common areas of a building – and individual dwellings.
A Type 3 FRA considers all means of escapes (including those within individual dwellings), structures, and compartmentation between flats and any means of fire detection. A Type 3 FRA is non-destructive – and is usually only considered necessary if there are fire risks within individual dwellings.
Landlords and building owners can find it difficult to arrange Type 3 FRAs because they require entrance into individual dwellings. Often this type of assessment is easier if living spaces are empty.
Type 4 Fire Risk Assessments
Type 4 Fire Risk Assessments are similar to Type 2 FRAs, as they include a destructive sampling, but in both the common parts of a building and living areas – such as apartments. Type 4 FRAs are more comprehensive – and complicated to complete. This is because access to individual dwellings is required and destructive sampling can lead to a need for repairs.
Type 4 FRAs are only required in a limited number of circumstances, usually only being suggested if there is reason to believe there are serious defects in both common parts of a building or individual dwellings.
What type of fire risk assessment do I need?
Most buildings only require a Type 1 FRA – and if the building is not new, this has probably been conducted in the past. The other types of fire risk assessments are normally only required if a Type 1 assessment finds risks or justifications for a more comprehensive assessment.
For example, if a Type 1 FRA finds that there are inaccessible areas – such as under floorboards, which cause concerns – a Type 2 or Type 4 FRA (which includes destructive sampling) would be suggested.
Fire Risk Assessment Outcomes
Destructive FRAs often result in the need to complete building work to reduce identified fire risks. This might include additional ventilation, to allow smoke to escape or additional fire compartmentation additions – such as fire doors.
In cases where it is not practical to complete such works, a more comprehensive FRA may identify that there is a need to change ‘stay-put’ policies or fire evacuation procedures.
If a building was built pre-2000 – then building owners must consider asbestos, before carrying out a Type 2 or Type 4 FRA, as they include destructive sampling.
In these cases, a Refurbishment and Demolition (R&D) survey is required. This identifies the risks of destructive sampling required for an FRA.
Who can complete a fire risk assessment?
A building’s ‘responsible person’ must ensure they appoint a competent person to complete a fire risk assessment.
Cardinus are certified for BAFE SP205 Gold Life Fire Safety Risk Assessments. This means we can ensure your building’s fire risk assessment is completed to the highest standards. Every year, we complete thousands of FRAs – and work closely with FR Consultants to deliver Type 2 and Type 4 FRAs, which require consultative and destructive sampling.