Fire Risk Assessments in HMOs and Blocks of flats

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes it a statutory requirement for fire risk assessments to be carried out on the vast majority of commercial premises in England & Wales.

However, what is not always recognised, is that fire risk assessments are also required to be carried out on Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), and on blocks of flats (the communal circulation areas, and landlords domains). Fire risk assessments in HMOs and blocks of flats would pay particular attention to the status of partition walls, and the installation and compliance of fire doors.

A fire risk assessment of an HMO or block of flats would include details of how occupants would be alerted to any fire that might be developing in their building. While it is common practice that there would always be a full and immediate evacuation of an HMO, current protocols are that the evacuation strategy in a block of flats is to adopt a ‘stay-put’ policy.

The fire risk assessment would be able to confirm that:

  1. There are no breaches to partition walls that could enable a fire to spread between ‘fire compartments’
  2. All internal fire doors are compliant

However, whilst it could be considered acceptable to adopt a ‘stay-put’ evacuation strategy, this assumes that all persons would be inside a flat at the time of a developing fire. Therefore, the fire risk assessment would consider how persons in the communal space, or this entering g the building, could be alerted to the potential danger from a developing fire.

The fire risk assessment would also consider how the Fire & Rescue Service could make an immediate alert to all occupants that there is a need to commence full and immediate evacuation due to the fire becoming uncontrollable. In other words, is there a requirement for an Evacuation Alert System in accordance with British standards BS8629:2019.

Although the status of fire doors has always been regarded as an important factor in fire risk assessments, particular emphasis has been placed on compliance as a result of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, and issues resulting from safety protocols implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic. The latter resulted in many fire doors being propped or wedged open in an effort to reduce touch points and the potential spread of the virus.

However, although it can be legitimate to hold fire doors open, they must be in  position to close automatically in the event of fire alarm activation. There are many ways in which this can be achieved. However, it is only by having a fire risk assessment carried out, that a suitable and acceptable solution can be advised. Fire door that remain open during a developing fire would enable the fire to spread throughout the building to a greater extent than would be safe for occupants. 

Other issues found with fire doors include:

  1. The wrong hinges are used, or that even the correct hinges have not been installed correctly
  2. Intumescent strips & cold smoke seals are not installed, or not installed fully
  3. Door closers not fully shutting doors into door frames
  4. Excessive gaps between the door and the frame
  5. Damage to the door or frame
  6. Damage to vision panels

A comprehensive door-by-door inspection would provide details of all fire doors that are fully compliant, as well as detailing all deficiencies that would compromise the integrity of the door.

DB Fire Safety Limited are qualified to carry out a comprehensive door-by-door inspection of fire doors; providing a documented and detailed report for your records.

For further information on how DB Fire Safety Limited can help with your fire risk assessments, or fire door inspections, you can email David Black at

Alternatively phone 0800 772 0559

Requirement for EWS1 Forms removed for blocks of flats with no cladding

The Government have removed the requirement for safety checks to be carried out on blocks of flats where there is no cladding.

This should be of great benefit to owners of flats who have been trying to sell, but held up by the requirement for completion of an EWS1 form. There were only a very limited number of assessors or inspectors sufficiently qualified to carry out and complete an EWS1 inspection. As a result, the associated costs were substantial.

Supporting the East Anglian Air Ambulance

DB Fire Safety Limited are proud to announce that we are supporting the East Anglian Air Ambulance 24/7 throughout 2020. This project is to enable the East Anglian Air Ambulance to provide 24 hour coverage throughout  Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance is an emergency medical charity, attending the people of Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk who have suffered life-threatening or life-changing injuries or medical emergencies. Since 2000 they have attended over 22,500 missions across East Anglia and as of 2017, attend an average of eight missions per day.

David Black, Managing Director of DB Fire Safety Limited, explains that this has been designated as our Charity of the Year 2020. David goes on to explain that he will be encouraging all clients to also pledge their support for this wonderful cause.

Comprehensive E-Learning Courses

DB Fire Safety can now offer a comprehensive selection of E-Learning courses covering all aspects of Health & Safety.

A full list of  courses will be available shortly. However, they will include the following:

  • Emergency First Aid at Work (annual refresher)
  • Dementia Awareness
  • Food Safety
  • Working at Height
  • Workplace Health & Safety
  • Working in Confined Spaces
  • Personal Safety for Lone Workers

We will be offering special packages through which you can have access to an unlimited number of courses. – Details on request.

For more information regarding all our E-Learning courses; call 0800 772 0559 OR Email:

The Business Show 2018

DB Fire Safety Limited are proud to be exhibiting at The Business Show 2018.

This exhibition is being held at the ExCel, London on Wednesday & Thursday 16th & 17th, May.

The Business Show is the biggest business event in Europe with over 350 exhibitors and 250 speakers. It offers ideal opportunities for business owners to pick up tips and insights into the best practices required to ensure your business is successful.

David Black from DB Fire Safety Limited will be available, on stand 168, to provide advice on the appropriate fire safety measures required under fire safety legislation. He is already looking forward to meeting many existing and new business owners.

If you wish to contact David prior to the show, you can call him on 0800 772 0559; or email


The Dementia Care & Nursing Home Expo 2018

DB Fire Safety Limited are delighted to be exhibiting at The Dementia Care & Nursing Home Expo 2018. This is being held on the 25th & 26th April at the NEC, Birmingham.

We invite any and al those responsible for fire safety in their places of work to visit us on our stand 13032.

Looking forward to having many interesting discussions and meeting you all.

Fire Safety in Blocks of Flats

Since the appalling tragedy at Grenfell Tower, there has been a great deal of discussion about fire safety in blocks of flats. These discussions have placed great emphasis  around the use of cladding to the exterior walls of buildings. Whilst this is, quite naturally, an important issue, David Black, of DB Fire Safety Ltd, believes that there are other important considerations when assessing the level of fire safety in a block of flats.

DB Fire Safety are involved heavily with building contractors converting disused office buildings into blocks of residential flats. David, therefore, has great experience in helping to develop the appropriate fire strategies and on-goiung fire risk assessments of such buildings.

The general rule is that all flats must be contained within a one-hour fire resisting border. This means that floors, ceilings and walls are of a substantial construction. It also means that if a partition wall is designed to provide one-hour fire separation, any door within that wall must also be fire-rated to 60 minutes. In addition, all fire doors must be installed using appropriately fire-resisting hinges. Entrance doors to flats should be installed with a suitable self-closing device; and intumescent strips & cold smoke seals must be rebated into either the door or the door frame. They should also be fitted with a single thumb-turn device to enable prompt and safe evacuation in the event of a fire emergency.

David also believes that all blocks of flats should have the benefit of a fire detection & alarm system with automatic fire detection throughout the common escape routes but also with a heat detector immediately inside the entrance to all flats. He also believes that manual alarm call points should be installed at appropriate locations throughout the building. All this will enable residents to easily raise an alarm in the event of a fire emergency (so alerting all occupants of the building immediately); it will also provide alerts to all occupants in the event of a fire occurring in an unoccupied flat.

Other considerations include the need for a smoke extraction system that will allow all escape routes to be clear of smoke and so provide reasonable visibility in the event of a need to evacuate the building.

Finally, David believes that procedures issued to residents in a block of flats should include the instruction to evacuate from the building if it is safe to do so. In other words, only to remain within the flat if evacuation from the building is impeded by the fire itself.

If you wish to discuss areas in which DB Fire Safety can be of assistance to you or your business, then please call 0800 772 0559 OR Email:

FPA Member                                                                                     

Fire Risk Assessments and Fire Safety in Your Premises

Do you realise that you might be responsible for fire safety in your premises. The Fire Safety Order 2005 requires that all businesses appoint a ‘Responsible Person‘ for their premises. Regardless of how small the business may be this is a statutory requirement.. In general it would be the business owner, but it might also be the manager of the premises.

The starting point for all business owners and building managers is to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. The Responsible Person must ensure that all persons who might be on their premises would be safe and protected in the event of a fire emergency. Consideration must be taken of visitors as well as staff

A great deal of attention is currently being placed on the cladding installed on the outside of high-rise buildings. However, the fire safety provision inside your premises is likely to be of greater importance in the initial stages of any fire. It is critically important that all persons who might be on your premises can evacuate promptly and safely within secure and protected escape routes.

This is the reason why it is a statutory requirement to assess the potential causes of fire, the potential risks that could allow a fire to develop and spread, and the control measures you have in place.

Areas that must be included in any fire risk assessment include:

  • sufficient provision of, and correct installation of, fire doors
  • electrical testing
  • fire partition walls
  • suitable means to raise a fire alarm
  • accountability for all persons
  • an appropriate fire strategy

David Black of DB Fire Safety Limited is hosting a seminar on Friday 30th June entitled ‘Fire Safety & Your Fire Risk Assessment’. This seminar, which is FREE to attend, will provide business owners and property managers with the relevant information and tools to fully understand the fire hazards and risks that are likely to be present in their premises. It will also provide the necessary tools for owners of small businesses to carry out their own fire risk assessments.

The seminar will help you understand the importance of fire safety in your premises and will run from 10:00 – 12:00 with tea/coffee on arrival from 09:30

To register for your FREE tickets please go on the attached Eventbrite link.