London Fire Brigade

Commissioner urges housing providers to get on front foot with fire safety

26 June 2017

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton is today calling on all the capital’s housing providers to urgently check they have an up to date fire risk assessment to ensure their buildings and residents are safe.

Legal duty for landlords to carry out a fire risk assessment

Landlords, such as local authorities and housing associations, have a legal duty under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety)Order 2005 to carry out a detailed fire risk assessment to identify any risks and hazards in their buildings and then to act on the findings to put them right.

The Brigade’s fire safety officers are currently visiting tower blocks identified with cladding which has failed Government fire safety tests. Once on site they are carrying out in depth inspections to ensure all the correct firefighting facilities and fire precautions within those blocks are in place and advising on any immediate actions that need to be taken.

Single most helpful thing to improve residents' safety

The Commissioner’s appeal has been made  to housing providers across London as the fire risk assessment is the single most helpful thing they can do to improve the safety of their residents.

Fire risk assessments need to identify the general fire precautions required for the building. These are:

  • Measures to reduce the risk of and spread of fire on the premises; e.g. fire resisting and self closing doors to flats
  • A means of escape from the premises i.e. an escape route

  • Making sure that the escape route is clear and can be safely and effectively used at all times; e.g. fire resisting and self closing doors to corridors, lobbies and staircases; emergency lighting;  fire exit signs; and smoke ventilation/control systems.

  • Having the appropriate smoke detection and warning systems in case of fire

  • Having measures in place to fight fires on the premises e.g. such as dry rising mains

  • Having arrangements in place for action to be taken in the event of fire on the premises.

"We want housing providers to get on the front foot with fire safety"

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton, who has today written to all housing  providers in London, said:

“We want all housing providers to get on the front foot with fire safety by making sure their fire risk assessments are up to date and that they act on any fire safety concerns raised immediately.

“Our fire safety officers will be advising on any immediate action that needs to be taken but housing providers need to look at their own risk assessment before the Brigade visits. Right now it is important that all housing providers are being proactive by making sure their fire risk assessments are up to date.”

Read the Commissioner's full letter to housing providers PDF 69.3KB

Under the Regulatory Fire Safety Order fire, although fire and rescue services work closely with housing providers, the responsibility for ensuring a building is safe from fire and complies with fire safety law sits with the housing provider.

Fire officers work with housing providers to ensure they understand what needs to be done in the short and the long term to make sure proper fire safety measures are in place but it is the responsibility of the housing provider to decide what actions need to be taken after that advice.