Residents ‘refused’ fire risk assessment reports
HOUSING ASSOCIATION residents are ‘still not routinely’ being given fire risk assessment (FRA) reports, according to an investigation by BBC News.
The news outlet noted that despite recommendations in Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations and fire safety, which advised FRAs for high risk flats ‘should be proactively shared with residents’, only five of 20 housing associations ‘proactively published’ reports, with residents stating that they were not ‘shared when requested’.
In response, the government said all FRAs should be provided ‘on request’, with Dame Judith stating that they should be shared in an ‘accessible way’ for residents of high risk residential buildings – those of 10 storeys or more. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government told BBC News that ‘we are consulting on proposals to make it a legal requirement to share fire risk assessments with residents of high-rise buildings on request’.
However, Wembley high rise resident Lorraine Jimenez – whose block is managed by Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) – stated that she had first requested her FRA in 2016, but was told the document ‘did not exist’ for the property. Post Grenfell she ‘ramped up’ requests for the FRA, but in emails that BBC News was shown, she was told in January 2018 that she was unable to receive the FRA, before finally receiving it in November 2018.
An NHG spokesperson stated that resident ‘living in homes where a fire risk assessment is needed are able to request it through our website’, and that ‘prior to this change, which was made in March this year in light of the Hackitt review, we provided a summary of each FRA upon request’. Housing association A2 Dominion was also ‘criticised by residents’ for having failed to share FRAs, with tenants of Clyde House in Wandsworth raising safety concerns in February this year.
These included leaks in electrical cupboards, with resident Caroline Begg commenting that ‘I requested my fire risk assessments a few months ago. I wanted to know, especially being disabled, how I would get out. I haven’t received a response’. In response, an A2 Dominion spokesperson stated that an FRA had been undertaken on 6 March this year, and had been shared with residents on its website.
The spokesperson added that ‘we intend to start sharing the results of all our new fire risk assessments with residents in a more accessible way, starting with our largest properties’. Only five of the 20 housing associations that responded to the investigation ‘proactively publish’ FRAs, while 13 share them ‘when requested’, while three – Platform Housing, Yorkshire Housing and Your Housing Group – ‘did not publish or share’ FRAs, but were ‘planning to do so in the future’.