February 26, 2021
Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) requirements
With new details still coming to light in the going Grenfell Tower Inquiry, it’s safe to say that fire safety in housing sector is a key issue at present, with fire safety practices and legislation under the microscope.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Act 2005, landlords have a duty to minimise fire risk in the properties they manage and ensure safe means of escape. Fire risk assessments must be carried out on all properties. If the fire precautions inadequate, Fire Officers can issue non-compliance notices and order closure or evacuation of a property if remedial actions are not carried out.
I speak to clients everyday regarding their fire safety concerns around the storage of refuse and waste management. The storage of refuse and recyclable materials is sadly a prime target for arson attacks, particularly on housing estates. Household waste is also extremely combustible and when bin stores are on fire, they give off excessive heat and smoke which can be toxic. When bins are stored close to dwellings and particularly those with communal spaces, there is a risk to life.
This is why the FPA and CFPA-E recommend that bins should not be stored within six metres of any building opening such as doors, windows, ventilation ducts or exposed soffits and fascias. If this safety distance is impossible to achieve, they should be stored in a structure providing 30 minutes fire resistance. They should also be secured in place to prevent being moved closer to the building.
It is also worth noting that the safety distance may vary according to the number and size of the bins, and this is calculated by taking the width of object facing the dwelling plus 2.5m, and should be measured from the closest point at which fire could enter, i.e. door or window opening, for example.
A cost-effective solution
I’m seeing an increasing trend with my clients, particularly up north, where they are looking for the most cost-effective solution to meet Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) requirements and to protect residents from the risk posed by refuse storage.
One of the most popular solutions that I suggest is installing a metroSTOR PBE bin screens as tough, stylish and cost-efficient solution. These screens allow for bins to be stored over six meters from building openings, meeting Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) requirements. Where this safety distance can be achieved, bin screens offer a simple, cost effective solution that can potentially save lives.
The right refuse storage solution can also help deter anti-social behaviour and arson attacks. metroSTOR covered bin screens are attractive and welcoming, allowing them to be located where people feel safe, inviting proper use. I have seen this work in even the most deprived neighbourhoods. In my opinion there is no justification for outdoor storage areas that are so visually unattractive that they have to be hidden from view.
The metroSTOR PBE is a bolt-down modular system that compares favourably in price with fencing systems commonly used for this purpose, whilst being much more resistant to damage and re-configurable as requirements change. Our cladding system makes possible effective, design-led outdoor storage solutions, adding unique, vibrant style to the durability benefits cost-effectively.
Visit the webpage here for more information.
What if six metres distance cannot be achieved?
As I said above, if this safety distance is impossible to achieve, the FRA states that bins should be stored in a structure providing at least 30 minutes fire resistance. They should also be secured in place to prevent being moved closer to the building.
metroSTOR has a wide range of alternative storage solutions for every budget. Find out more information here.