Fire safety

Our customers’ safety takes priority throughout the design, build and maintenance of all our buildings.

Fire Risk Assessments (FRA)

We want to make sure our customers are as safe as possible in their homes.

Catalyst is a registered provider of social housing, therefore we also have a legal requirement to complete a fire risk assessment (FRA) for any of our buildings with a communal area.

We carry out regular inspections and assessments of communal areas of all the buildings such as the stairways and the corridors including a thorough Fire Risk Assessment (FRA). The frequency of how often this is, depends on the type of building and the building history. The FRA is to identify what the potential safety risks are, manage these to keep you safe.

We want to be clear and transparent, and publish our FRAs in ways that are most helpful to you. Find out more.

External Wall System forms (EWS1)

The External Wall System form (EWS1) is a compliance document, providing a summary of an independent report, that checks whether buildings over 18m meet recent government advice about external wall construction of residential apartment buildings. This is a recent requirement of mortgage lenders in response to government advice following the Grenfell fire. Find out more.

Check your smoke alarm regularly

You should test your smoke alarm every month to check it’s working properly. Read our How to test your smoke alarm guide – PDF 1,008KB.

Fire service fire safety checks

Your local fire service provides free home safety checks and in many areas, this may include fitting a free smoke alarm. Get a free fire safety visit from your local fire service:

  • London Fire Brigade: 08000 28 44 28
  • Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service: 0800 587 6679
  • Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service: 01296 744477
  • Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service: 01865 842999

Keep communal areas clear

A key part of fire safety is keeping escape routes and communal areas clear, so that there’s nothing in the way if people need to get out quickly. We visit neighbourhoods regularly to identify any health and safety hazards, but please do let us know if there are any items you believe are causing an obstruction in your building.

Communal fire doors

A fire door is a door that provides extra fire resistance between separate areas of a building.

We are legally responsible for fire doors in all communal areas of our shared buildings and blocks. We check all communal fire doors during our fire risk assessment process. Our Estate Services team undertake fire door checks, during their regular visits to our blocks too.

If you think there is an issue with a fire door in your building, please contact us to report it. Our contact centre team will arrange for a contractor to attend and fix any potential faults.

You can find out more about the 5 step check for fire doors on the Fire Door Safety Week website.

If a fire breaks out, should I stay in my property or leave?

There will be fire action notices displayed in your building to tell you what the advice is for your property. In some cases, you will need to evacuate your property. But for most of our customers, the best advice is to ‘stay put unless’. This is because there are safety measures in place to stop a fire spreading if it breaks out in your building. But if the fire breaks out in your own flat, or if heat and smoke from elsewhere are affecting you, the advice is to leave the property. If you’re not sure what the fire safety advice is for your particular building, please email us or phone us on 0300 456 2099.

Should my building have sprinklers?

At the moment, there is no legal requirement to provide sprinklers in buildings that are less than 30m high. So if there are no sprinklers fitted in your block, this is because the fire authority is satisfied that the existing levels of fire protection are adequate and sprinklers aren’t needed.

If the law changes following the fire at Grenfell Tower and we’re required to retrofit sprinklers in any of our properties, we will of course install these.

More fire safety information

If you have any questions, please check Ask Catalyst, email us or call us on 0300 456 2099 and we’ll be happy to help.