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Fire Risk in holiday homes, let dwellings, HMO's and alike.

If you own a holiday home, let dwelling and or House in Multiple Occupation you will no doubt be anxious about fire safety. The Grenfell tragedy has opened the eyes of many professionals, tenants, landlords, building managers and others to see the need for candid discussions upon fire risks and fire safety management. Competent advice is key.

As with any professional undertaking, to act within one's level of competence requires a maturity on the part of the professional, to be open and honest about what they can or cannot do. Often, one's 'skills, knowledge and experience' is held as the important trio of variables to ascertain competency.

The Fire Safety Order 2005 brought in a new approach to assessing fire safety in buildings. The publicly available specification 79 (PAS79: 2007, and later PAS79: 2012) provided a useful 'Guidance and Recommended Methodology' to assist fire risk assessors and property owners / managers comply with the legislation. The HHSRS provides a useful provision for assessing fire risk in dwellings, and this is supported by guidance documents. Local fire officers enforce the Fire Safety Order whilst local authority officers enforce the HHSRS. However, where HMO's are concerned the protocol is for joint visits, as guided in the Housing Act 2004, and particularly because the communal areas of HMO's would fall within the scope of the Fire Safety Order. Lastly here, PAS79 was recently revised and updated, and split into two; the second part of which (PAS79-2: 2020) is now currently withdrawn and under review. It is this part which considered 'Housing'. The current review is considering a new British Standard. Hopefully, the ensuing changes will make clear reference to competency of risk assessors.

Our Director has previously enforced housing and HMO standards for local authorities, and has drawn up many fire risk assessments for holiday home and HMO owners throughout Devon and Cornwall, including one particular building featured on T.V. These assessments have included Technical Reports for presentation at enforcement meetings, and Expert Witness reports for First Tier Tribunals. Crucially, our Director has also undertaken Fire Risk Assessor training and Certification from C S Todd Associates, and has negotiated with Colin Todd to adapt PAS79: 2012 to incorporate HHSRS /HMO elements. This has provided a neat and informative assessment document which can be understood by both fire and local authority officers. Our Director continues to use this format in the absence of any new standard. Whilst our Director has also risk assessed small shops, offices, venues and alike over the years; all have been considered lower risk; and within his competency.

If you have a holiday home, rental and or HMO, and would like a straight-forward, candid and competent fire risk assessment of the same, please contact HomePrep directly on the contact form. We remain competent enough to help.


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