Your block requires a range of legally necessary Risk Assessments. Block in a Box has teamed up with 4Site to provide you with a range of Health & Safety reports that your block needs.

The following summarises the main health and safety regulations that apply to blocks of flats- please bear in mind there are many others.

The duty to comply with the regulations falls on the landlord or person responsible for management. This could be an agent, a Residents’ Management Company or a Right to Manage Company.

Health and safety should never be ignored or dismissed simply because it requires additional expenditure. Remember, the cost of failing to comply if there is an accident or injury may be far greater than the cost to comply.

Health and Safety Risk Assessment of Communal Areas

All blocks of flats must have a risk assessment carried out on the health and safety of any common areas (a requirement of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999). You may argue common areas are not “at work” but if any cleaner, gardener, managing agent or repair contractors enters them, then a risk assessment must be made. Remember to include all areas, including gardens, grounds, plant rooms, meter cupboards and lift motor rooms.

If there are no employees of the landlord working at the block there is no requirement to record the risk assessment, although it is always best practise to do so anyway. If there were to be an accident and you had no proof of a risk assessment being carried out, you are much more likely to be prosecuted and/or sued for negligence.

The risk assessment should be looked at annually to reassess the situation.

Fire Safety

Since 1st October 2006, every block of flats has a legal duty to undergo fire safety risk assessments. Again, this applies to common parts, not to the inside of any flats, and is an obligation of the landlord. Fire Officers will be able to enter any block of flats to inspect the property, ask to see the risk assessment and issue enforcement notices to improve fire safety should the need arise.

Legionella

Legionella is a bacterium common in water systems which can result in Legionnaires’ disease. Once again, the landlord or agent of a block of flats has a duty to control the risks of Legionella in any pipes, tanks and taps in common parts (including a cleaner’s cupboard). Cold water tanks, taps and showers within lessees’ flats are the responsibility of the lessees, unless the lease puts repairing responsibility for them on the landlord.

The starting point is a risk assessment, usually carried out by an expert, and if there are risks identified then a written action plan should be produced to reduce the risks.

An annual review of the risk assessment should be made.

Asbestos

Do you need an asbestos report? The short answer to this question is likely to be yes. If your building was built before the year 2000 then it almost certainly should have an asbestos survey completed, as stated in the Control of Asbestos Regulations. An average of 3,500 to 4,000 people die every year from asbestos-related diseases. It has also been predicted that by the end of 2020 there will have been 625,000 deaths directly related to asbestos exposure. The disturbance of asbestos-containing materials (ACM) is still occurring but all these incidents and the exposures they cause are avoidable by ensuring that the asbestos is not disturbed.

According to Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2006), if you own, occupy, manage or have responsibility for property, you have a legal duty to assess and manage the risk from ACM.

You must take reasonable steps to identify ACM, if necessary, by presuming the presence of asbestos until proven otherwise. If asbestos is located, you are required to keep an Asbestos Register which lists where ACM are present, highlight the risks posed and make recommendations.

For more information or a quote on 4Site’s offers, please contact a member of the team on 0333 015 4145.

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