anderson associates logo

Advice on Checking for Fire Safety When Buying a Home

Full building surveys Ipswich – From Anderson Associates

The number of home fires have thankfully been on the decline in recent years. The number of smoke alarms and modern building safety measures have both helped in this regard. However, the Grenfell Tower tragedy of 2017 has brought the issue of fires back into the spotlight, and, because of the nature of their construction, some properties may be more at risk than others.

Anderson Associates are independent chartered surveyors who offer full building surveys in Ipswich and all across Essex, Suffolk, Kent and London. Here we provide some top tips on identifying any potential fire safety issues if you are thinking about buying a new home.


Make a List of Anything You Are Concerned About

Whatever type of property you are buying, there are certain things that should set the alarm bells ringing. For instance, is there any bare wiring  (above), or are there enough electrical points in the walls? An insufficient number of sockets may mean they get overloaded, which is another potential issue. Remember electrical problems are currently one of the commonest causes of domestic fires in the UK (around 8,000 home fires every year can be traced back to an electrical fault of some description).

If the seller can’t tell you or doesn’t know when the heating system and/or boiler was last serviced or inspected, then that is a potential cause for concern. Remember there are certain things which you are also legally entitled to, such as an Energy Performance Certificate, which measures the energy efficiency of a property.

If you live on the upper floor of a multi-story building it is especially important to have more than one escape route. The RICS Consumer Guide recommends you should always have an alternative route in case your usual pathway is blocked, and to check that there won’t be any locked doors that might prevent your safe escape.


Flat Buyers

When buying a flat you should be alert for potential issues, particularly if it’s in a converted older property.

If you are thinking of buying one to rent out, remember that there are certain things tenants are legally entitled to as well. In the case of leasehold flats, an appropriate Fire Risk Assessment has to be carried out. Fire-detecting equipment must be in place, as well as items such as fire doors and fire-resistant materials to control the spread of any flames.

As with all properties with more than one floor, an appropriate means of escape needs to be in place and easily accessible. And, if the landlord makes any alterations, then appropriate consent must be obtained from the correct regulatory body.


Thatched Cottages

Would-be buyers of these properties also need to take extra care, not necessarily because the thatch poses an extra risk in itself, but because the damage done to the whole property is likely to be far greater if the flames take hold in the roof. So check to see what’s in the loft and if there’s any wiring in there. If so, has it been inspected recently?

Other questions to ask include:

  • Is there a fireproof barrier between the thatch and the roof structure?
  • Has the chimney been lined or relined recently?
  • Has the thatch had any fire retardant sprayed on it recently?

In addition, check there’s somewhere to put a smoke alarm and what the insurance premiums are likely to be as these could add substantially to the cost of your home. You will also have to factor in the cost of ongoing roof repairs.


Appoint an Independent Chartered Surveyor

If you are worried about fire safety, then appoint independent chartered surveyors such as ourselves. We can offer advice on all types of properties in Essex, Suffolk, Kent and many parts London. These include barn conversions, thatched cottages, as well as modern and period flats.

We will check on any fire safety related issues you have thought of, as well as maybe some you haven’t. And, because we work for you, not the mortgage lender, the advice we give you will be independent and impartial.


Full Building Surveys from Ipswich-Based Anderson Associates

We would recommend one of our Level 3 (full building) surveys. These are comprehensive reports and should identify any potential fire safety issues. A cost summary is also included, which not only advises you on what repair and maintenance issues the property has, but also gives an indication as to what it will cost to put them right.

Anderson Associates’ principal Paul Anderson is a member of RICS. He can be contacted on either 0800 652 8285 or 01473 623656 if you would like to learn more about any of Anderson Associates’ services. You can also get in touch with us by following this link and filling in the online contact form.


View All
Whether you need a simple valuation or a full structural survey as well as being expert building surveyors we’re happy to give you free, impartial advice on anything to do with buildings and property.
Anderson Associates
(Head Office & Correspondence Address)
Warneford House, Portal Avenue
Martlesham Heath, Ipswich
Suffolk IP5 3QY
T. 01473 623 656
T. 0800 652 8285
Follow Us
Registered Office: Anderson Associates (Surveying) Ltd. | Warneford House, Portal Avenue, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk IP5 3QY
Designed and developed by Hughes and Co Design Ltd
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram