11 Dec Is your RMC risk-aware?
Is your RMC risk-aware?
Blue Risk highlights the importance of health and safety and explains why risk management of your building is an essential part of the role of the property manager, director or RMC
When managing a residential block, there is a tendency to fall into the ‘it won’t happen to us’ syndrome. However, assessing and dealing with potential risks is a vital part of keeping residents and their visitors comfortable and safe in their homes. As this article will make clear, it is vital to manage risk effectively and to be aware of the property manager or RMC’s legal/regulatory obligations.
Fire safety: don’t take the risk
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into effect in October 2006 and replaced more than 70 pieces of fire safety law. The legislation applies to all residential properties which have communal parts including blocks of apartments, houses converted into self contained flats and Houses in Multiple Occupation. The Order requires a fire risk assessment to be carried out on all communal areas of a building. It also requires there to be a fire policy in place for each individual block of apartments. The fire authority has the power to issue three types of notices to premises not complying. However, if the case is referred to the Crown Court, the penalty could be both an unlimited fine and imprisonment for up to two years.
A Fire Risk Assessment is a very important tool for protecting employees, residents, visitors or any members of the public that visit your property. The aim of such an assessment is to enable you to focus on any risks that have the potential to cause harm.
A Health and Safety Risk Assessment is also equally important as there are a number of cases where RMC directors and managers/agents have been personally prosecuted for failing to deal with serious health and safety risks which have resulted in accident or injury to other persons.
Make a start
The most important thing is to have tackled the problem and have risk assessments put in place by a competent person or company. There is a lot of free advice available on DIY risk assessments to help you. To ensure premises’ risks are managed effectively, the responsible person or risk assessor must first identify the hazards that could result in significant injury to employees, residents, visitors or members of the public and then generate a clear comprehensive report of their findings.
What do I do next?
All recommendations made by the person carrying out the assessment must be acted on and a good risk assessor will clearly identify the importance of each risk item on any assessment document and will clearly state whether or not there is an urgent risk that requires immediate attention. The risk assessor should then set clear guidelines and timescales for any work to be carried out. Not acting on items identified on a risk assessment could be seen to be worse that not doing one at all!
How much will it cost?
Although we appreciate there is a cost benefit to DIY Risk Assessing, at Blue Risk Management we strongly believe that you cannot put a price on the cost of prevention of injury or death. We advise that you instruct an experienced, qualified and professional company with adequate insurance and a good track record. The cost of your assessment will depend on the size of your block, and how much work is involved. An average cost will be £20 per flat/apartment. Remember the cheapest are not always the best.
How often should RMCs review their risk assessment?
Although legislation does not provide for the frequency of assessments we would advise any responsible management company or RMC to ensure that full health and safety and fire risk assessments are carried out every year.
Contact Dean Warren our senior Risk Assessor on 0115 860 0016 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.