When it comes to the health and safety of a block, carrying out regular risk assessments is a vital part of any Block Manager’s role. While Block Managers are obliged to carry out regular risk assessments, there is no clear legislation in place regarding how often these checks should be carried out. The frequency of assessment should be established by the previous assessment. If a higher risk is identified, then the next assessment should be sooner, and vice versa.
We’ve isolated two of the most high-profile areas of risk and detailed the approach Block Managers should consider taking.
Sometimes conducted as part of a wider health, safety and fire review, regular fire risk assessments are required by law as set out by the Fire Safety Order 2005 and Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999. A comprehensive fire risk assessment will determine the building’s fire emergency policy (whether residents should be advised to evacuate or stay put in the event of a fire) as well as assessing physical hazards such as working fire doors, the storage of combustible materials and other risk factors. It should also review the records for the installation and maintenance of fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and emergency lighting. The assessment should include an audit on required documentation as a matter of legal compliance.
Buildings that are deemed to be a high risk are usually checked annually, while lower-risk buildings are normally assessed every two years.
Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations of 2012, all buildings constructed before 2000 are assumed to contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence to suggest they do not. As such, a Block Manager will need to conduct regular Asbestos Management Surveys. Where the presence of asbestos is detected, the Block Manager (or external assessor) must keep a detailed register of the asbestos location and condition.
If it’s manageable, yearly inspections must be conducted to ensure the asbestos is not spreading and all contractors working on the block must be notified of the outcome of inspections. In cases where the asbestos cannot be contained, it should be removed by a qualified and licensed removal company and the annual checks should continue until it’s been determined there’s no longer any risk.