What is the Importance of Building Inspections for Apartments?

Ensuring the work completed on apartment blocks is of the upmost importance for its residents. Due to the nature of high-rise buildings special considerations need to be taken into account for the safety of the inhabitants before it is occupied.

Because of this, apartments are hugely popular, primarily due to the rigorous health and safety requirements that come with this type of housing, however in recent years, the safety of apartments, especially those in high-rise buildings have been called into question.

In this guide from Cook Brown Building Control will discuss why it is important to conduct inspections on apartments as well as outlining the many benefits of seeking professional help as a way to be certain you haven’t missed a trick.

Why have Apartment Inspections?

According to an online study, one third of the population rent apartments as opposed to buying or renting a house or other types of residential properties. It is the responsibility of the person carrying out the work to make sure that it is designed and constructed safely but it is important that this is continued through the life cycle of the building.

This requires both developers, landlords and tenants themselves to have and abide by a thorough checklist to avoid hidden surprises that could end up costing far more than originally bargained for.

It is a legal requirement to provide tenants in a rental property with a clean and most importantly safe space to live. Targeting any issues early on provides developers with the opportunity to rectify any structural issues.

Fire Safety in Apartment Buildings

Given that most fires occur in domestic dwellings, it was recognised that a block of flats – as a building containing many such dwellings – has the potential for a higher risk to people should fire break out.

In the UK fire safety and regulations come under Approved Document B [https://www.planningportal.co.uk/applications/building-control-applications/building-control/approved-documents/part-b-fire-safety/approved-document-b-volume-1-dwellings] this document addresses fire safety precautions which must be adhered to during a construction project, to ensure the safety of occupants, firefighters and those close to the building in the event of a fire.

The fire safety standards that were developed to address this risk sought to afford the same level of safety found in houses to those living in blocks of flats. While escape within flats is based on similar principles to those for houses, reaching ultimate safety relies on using communal areas.

Most blocks of flats are designed on the ‘stay put’ principle. Although this relies on there being effective compartmentation, it is a principle that should be adopted wherever possible.

At Cook Brown we are expert building control advisors, specialising in documents for fire safety in high rise buildings. For us it is important the highest industry standards are met. We work closely with design teams to provide them with up to date advice and support on building regulations.

Safety and function of features

So, what exactly does the inspection process entail? Below is a basic list of what to look for in an apartment walk through.

  • Fully functioning smoke detectors and easily accessible fire extinguishers are a must. At Cook Brown, as a part of our service we offer specialist services for fire strategy analysis.
  • As of the 1st of October 2022, it is a legal requirement to have a carbon monoxide detector fitted in every room that is used partly or wholly as living accommodation and contains any appliance that burns or can burn fuel.
  • Check buildings hallways and other common areas for fire safety features
  • Find out what the fire escape plan is for the building and make sure you know where to go
  • Provide, and maintain a safe route through the communal areas
  • Make sure plumbing is up to date with current regulations. This can include conducting an extensive check around and under sinks and toilets to confirm nothing is damp or dripping.
  • Looking for signs of water damage (especially on ceilings) is paramount within an inspection process and is something developers, tenants and anyone else who is concerned with the building’s upkeep will check for.
  • Water pressure, temperature and joint or sole use of a hot water heater is also an important function to consider, as well as the condition of the features in the bathroom, such as missing grout or tiles, loose faucets or faulty sink stops.
  • Check overall apartment conditions, such as searching for signs of rodents or insects, ensuring there are no stains on the carpets and that the paint/wallpaper is intact and well maintained, as well fully functioning blinds/curtains.

Building Control with Cook Brown

It can be complicated ensuring all grounds are covered, and that all relative members are happy with the state of the apartment. At Cook Brown we are industry leaders in Building Control, providing you with peace of mind that everything is up to scratch through our expertise in building inspections, specifically apartments and high-rise towers. We are driven to deliver excellent customer service and technical excellence, making them one of the best in their department.

Get the ball rolling today, and approve your apartment by appointing one of our experts online.