Expectations of Residents

Expectations of Residents – Part of Hexagon’s Fire Safety Management Framework

Contents

  1. General management approach
  2. Communal areas – interior
  3. Communal areas – exterior
  4. Communal areas – other considerations
  5. Unacceptable items in all premises
  6. Unacceptable item in communal areas
  7. Door and window security
  8. Security grilles – communal areas / open balconies
  9. Security grilles – enclosed balconies / walkways
  10. Security grilles – major works
  11. Residents responsibility for cleanliness
  12. Items stored on private balconies

1.0       General management approach

Hexagon takes the management of fire risks seriously and has established expected standards based on risk, regulatory requirements and the terms of tenancy / leaseholder agreements.

These standards adopt a managed use approach to minimising the potential for ignition and fire spread within communal areas. The fundamental principles governing this approach are:

  • All communal areas must be kept clear and free from obstruction at all times;
  • All communal areas must be kept reasonably free from ignition sources (with the exception of necessities such as communal lighting);
  • All communal areas are kept clear of significant combustible materials at all times;
  • A No Smoking policy exists in all common areas, regardless of whether these would be classified as significantly enclosed under the relevant legislation; and
  • The communal areas of the blocks do not belong to any individual and as such residents do not have the right to store or leave anything in the common areas of a block.

2.0       Communal areas – interior

Interior describes any substantially enclosed area such as corridors, rooms etc. with three sides enclosed (2 walls and ceiling). An example of this could be an internal staircase, internal walkway or corridor within a block of flats. It also includes the shared parts of a street or terraced property which contains more than one unit.

With the exception of purpose-made door mats (i.e. not carpet cut-offs or remnants) which are in good condition and pose no tripping hazards, no items may be kept in the internal (enclosed) corridors and stairwells.

3.0       Communal areas – exterior

Exterior describes any areas substantially open to the elements e.g. communal balconies and open stairways on the outside of blocks of flats.

Items must not be allowed to cause any obstruction, or hazard or provide a source of fuel for a fire. As the landlord we are obliged to reasonably ensure these areas are unobstructed at all times for residents, the emergency services and others.

Residents must also ensure they are aware of the emergency access to the building  including the areas around it and that they do not impede the emergency services, by ensuring they do not park in such a way as to block or otherwise obstruct access to:

  • routes or roads
  • fire hydrants (metal rectangle covers normally positioned on the pavement)
  • dry riser inlets (normally located, if fitted, next to or near the main entrance door)

The following may* be permitted in open corridors and on open walkways provided:

  1. Items placed in the corridor, on windowsills and walls, for example window boxes and hanging baskets, must be made of materials that would not easily burn, e.g. metal, ceramic, porcelain;
  2. Items must not cause an obstruction or hazard of any type, this should allow a width of 1 metre clear passage between the items and the inside of the balcony / walkway wall. Where several properties have plant pots, these must all be on the same side of the walkway or corridor;
  3. Removable clothes lines / drying racks are allowed provided they allow a width of 1 metre clear passage between the items and the balcony/walkway wall and are not left after use or overnight;
  4. Washing lines are permitted provided they are:
    • installed close and parallel to the wall and not across walkways;
    • not attached to pipes;
    • do not allow clothes to drape over walkways; and
    • not left overnight.

 *Where there are other concerns regarding fire safety at a premises Hexagon may locally alter these provisions and inform residents accordingly.

The above provisions do not apply to ground floor flats unless the front door of the flat opens out onto a communal balcony.

4.0       Communal areas – other considerations

Residents must not store or charge mobility scooters in communal areas of blocks.

Where residents have mobility scooters they should refer to their Neighbourhood Officer, or Co-op for advice.

5.0       Unacceptable items in all premises (whether enclosed or not)

Residents must not store gas cylinders / compressed gas cans including BBQ gas canisters, other than oxygen or other medical gases anywhere within the building (this includes in their dwelling, designated storeroom/ cupboard, garage or within communal areas).

6.0       Unacceptable items in communal parts

Residents must not use or store the following within the communal parts of their building:

  1. Recycling & household waste – Recycling boxes/bins are to be stored externally to the building, refuse should be disposed of directly into the bin room/ chute not left outside flat doors;
  2. Chemicals, including paints, varnishes, brush cleaner, turpentine, petrol, oil, diesel, fertilisers, weed killer or cleaning fluids etc.;
  3. BBQs or fuel for BBQs including LPG canisters, firelighters, charcoal or briquettes;
  4. Candles, tea lights, incense sticks, lighters or matches etc.;
  5. Upholstered furniture or fabrics – i.e. padded chairs, armchairs, curtains, net curtains or wall hangings;
  6. Plastics – i.e. plastic garden furniture, children’s toys etc.;
  7. Petrol vehicles – mopeds, scooters, or any other fuelled vehicles (also not allowed within flats)
  8. Pushchairs, buggies, prams etc.;
  9. Bedding or mattresses;
  10. Washing machines, fridges, freezers, tumble dryers or other such appliances;
  11. Portable electrical goods e.g. TV sets, music players etc.;
  12. Shopping trolleys;
  13. Lockers, bookcases or other such furniture;
  14. Unsecured/loose carpet;
  15. Shoes, umbrellas and similar;
  16. Festive decorations (Christmas trees, lights etc.);
  17. DIY materials – wood, timber, mastics, glues, adhesives etc.
  18. Bicycles – bikes should not be stored on walkways and are to be stored externally to the building unless a designated facility is provided inside the block; or
  19. Heat sources – e.g. electric, gas or oil heaters or fire pits.

The list above is not exhaustive and Hexagon reserves the right to request immediate removal of any item/s deemed to pose a significant risk to safety.

The use of BBQs in any communal garden / area without specific prior approval from Hexagon is not allowed.

Residents with their own private ground floor garden area may have / use BBQs provided they are only used away from the building and that any associated fuel is also kept securely away from the building.  Smoke must not cause a nuisance for other residents.

7.0       Door and window security

Residents may take their own measures such as installing an intruder alarm system. Care is needed to ensure that any measures taken do not conflict with the need to escape in the event of fire. The fitting of security measures such as grilles, gates and shutters might:

  1. delay escape by the residents;
  2. prevent escape via windows at ground and first floors;
  3. impinge on the safety of others (e.g. across a common balcony); and
  4. prevent access to the fire and rescue service to rescue occupants and fight a fire in a property.

While there are circumstances, where security grilles over either doors, windows or on occasions walkways will be allowed until capital works are carried out, this is intended to be a temporary allowance till such time as a Secure by Design door is fitted.

Once a Secure by Design door has been fitted to a dwelling security grilles, gates, bars etc. will not be allowed.

Existing door grilles may be permitted but must comply with the following:

  1. The grille must not impinge on the existing front door and frame in any way i.e. it must be fixed independently of the frame of the front door;
  2. The grille must be fully openable i.e. by lying flat against the wall and thereby not creating an obstruction to the walkway, overhanging a stairwell or obstructing access to a neighbouring property;
  3. The grille must not prevent access to service cupboards and other facilities which may need to be accessed by Hexagon, its contractors and other service providers; and
  4. The grille is not on a window on the ground and first floor as these are considered as a means of escape.

Residents with existing grilles that do not comply may be subject to enforcement action by Hexagon if these are not removed as instructed.

No new window grilles will be allowed to be fixed to the exterior of any dwelling

8.0       Security grilles – communal areas / open balconies

The fitting of lockable gates across communal areas significantly increases the level of risk for residents of a block as they can hinder evacuation and rescue efforts and trap residents in close proximity to fire and smoke.

On open corridors and communal balconies, whilst the risk from smoke trapping is reduced, it is not eliminated. Therefore, where grilles are already in place they are permitted to stay only where the grille affects one property and where the flat entrance door does not have an additional grille.

Where a grille is in place, you should have their own means of escape plan in place in the event of a fire in their dwelling. Keys for the gates should always be easily available and everyone inside aware where the keys are kept.

Should a grille be installed not in line with these guidelines it may be removed and the tenant / leaseholder recharged.

9.0       Security grilles – enclosed balconies / walkways

Grilles across enclosed balconies and walkways will not be allowed in any circumstances.

10.0     Security grilles – major works

When Hexagon carries out major works to blocks:

  1. If the front entrance door is to be replaced and a door grille is existing, the door grille will be removed, disposed of and it will not be allowed to be re-installed.
  2. Once a Secure by Design door has been installed permission will not be given to reinstate the security grill to the door.
  3. All window grilles that need to be removed to facilitate the planned works will be removed, disposed of and they will not be allowed to be re-installed.

11.0     Residents responsibility for cleanliness

Whilst Hexagon has a general responsibility to maintain the common parts of buildings, residents must ensure they:

  1. do not leave items blocking or otherwise obstructing the communal walkways, stairs etc.;
  2. report to the Hexagon any issues such as broken steps, trip hazards, lighting which isn’t working etc.; and
  3. dispose of rubbish and recycling appropriately and request from the local authority a bulk rubbish pick up when needed.

12.0     Items stored on private balconies

 The following prohibitions apply to private balcony areas, both for tenants and leaseholders:

  1. Chemicals, including paints, varnishes, brush cleaner, turpentine, petrol, oil, diesel, fertilisers, weed killer or cleaning fluids etc.;
  2. BBQs or fuel for BBQs, i.e. LPG canisters, firelighters, charcoal or briquettes;
  3. Candles, tea lights, incense sticks, lighters or matches etc.;
  4. Upholstered furniture or fabrics – i.e. padded chairs, armchairs, curtains;
  5. Recycling and other household waste;
  6. Petrol vehicles – mopeds, scooters, or any other fuelled vehicles;
  7. Bedding or mattresses;
  8. Washing machines, fridges, freezers, tumble dryers or similar;
  9. Portable electrical goods e.g. TV sets, music players etc. (if left plugged in / active when not attended);
  10. Shopping trolleys;
  11. Lockers, bookcases, cupboards or similar (unless of metal and occupying no more than ¼ of balcony);
  12. Unsecured / loose carpet, artificial grass or similar (unless definitive evidence can be provided it is not combustible);
  13. Combustible privacy screen (e.g. bamboo screen / fencing);
  14. Festive decorations (Christmas trees, lights etc.) (with the exception of battery or solar powered lights);
  15. DIY materials – wood, timber, mastics, glues, adhesives etc.; or
  16. Heat sources – e.g. electric, gas or oil heaters or fire pits.

Residents (both tenants and leaseholders) are asked not to store the following on their private balconies:

  1. Multiple pushchairs, buggies, prams etc. (e.g. a large number piled up); or
  2. Plastics – i.e. plastic garden furniture, children’s toys etc. (deemed excessive if the quantity makes moving around balcony difficult);

The list above is not exhaustive and Hexagon reserves the right to request immediate removal of any item/s deemed to pose a significant risk to safety.

ABOUT US

As an organisation, we are concerned with people, their homes and communities.

We make good quality, affordable housing and services available to people in South East London, and work to extend opportunities and improve the neighbourhoods they live in.

CONTACT US

HEXAGON Housing Association
130-136 Sydenham Road
Sydenham
London SE26 5JY

Office hours: 9am to 5pm
Monday to Friday

General Enquiries: 020 8778 6699
Repairs freephone: 0800 393 338

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