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Fire risk assessments

We decided to publish our fire risk assessments (FRAs) here following a number of requests we have received under the Freedom of Information Act.

If the FRA you are looking for doesn’t appear here, please email info@northwardshousing.co.uk.

What is a fire risk assessment?

Sometimes known as fire safety assessments, FRAs were first introduced in October 2006, requiring organisations like Northwards to check all our high-rise and low-rise flats and retirement schemes for fire risks. The assessments have to be carried out by a suitably qualified or experienced person.

The assessment requires an annual inspection of the building to identify any fire hazards and remove or reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm.

In addition, the assessment looks at the existing safety measures and the way the building is being managed to ensure the safety of people, should a fire start. The FRA helps to do this by reducing the chance of a fire starting, making sure people can leave the premises safely during a fire and limiting the effects should a fire break out.

All of Northwards' properties had to comply with the building regulations when they were built. Our FRAs are the least intrusive type of assessment and involve inspecting communal and managed areas in the blocks. We carry out routine maintenance to check dry risers (the empty pipe that runs from the ground to the top of the building in a tower block, which allows fire fighters to connect it to pressurised water). We also work closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to ensure the safe evacuation of residents, if necessary, in the event of a fire. We also issued fire safety advice to all our high-rise tenants in 2017.

Some of the FRAs include follow up work called responses or actions. Urgent matters are prioritised and others are incorporated into our improvement and investment plans.

The FRAs are technical documents, so if there is anything in them you don’t understand, please email info@northwardshousing.co.uk and we will do our best to answer your questions.

Please see below for fire risk assessments by year:

Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and to ensure fire safety standards in our high-rise blocks are the best they can possibly be, we commissioned additional independent fire risk assessments in 2017, known as Type 4 FRAs.

These were in addition to the Type 1 assessments already carried out. Type 4 FRAs are the most intrusive type of assessment. They involve looking at things like the compartmentation between flats (fire walls and doors, for example) and the construction of the building, with particular attention paid to areas in which fire and smoke could spread between flats. 

These checks go above and beyond what is required of a housing provider but are seen as best practice, particularly since the Grenfell fire.

The checks found nothing of very immediate concern. The independent assessor said Northwards’ stock was in ‘very good condition’ in terms of fire safety work and among the best of the many local authorities and housing associations in the UK that they deal with.

A number of actions have resulted from the checks and Northwards has developed a two-to-three-year timetable to complete all the recommended Type 4 FRA works, following discussions with the consultant and the fire service.  In the vast majority of cases, this work will be included as part of our ongoing investment programme and includes fitting sprinklers in every flat, following the council’s decision to do so.

Some examples of the works include:

  • checking fire precautions where electrical cables have been installed
  • checking fire precautions around door frames
  • inspecting lift shafts to ensure fire precautions are robust
  • assessing fire seals around waste pipes

The FRA Type 4 reports are technical and complex documents. If you would like more information, please email our fire safety manager, matthew.reynolds@northwardshousing.co.uk, who will be happy to meet with you to discuss the content and answer any questions you may have. 

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