Safety of the Built Environment
Can the Home Ever be Safe?
Can the home ever be safe?
The need to improve safety in the built environment of homes and gardens
'Can the Home Ever be Safe?' is a policy document recommending improvements sought by RoSPA at the design and build stage of new homes or when homes are refurbished. The document is intended to target simple, low cost design improvements to increase safety within the home, which RoSPA considers essential to reduce accidental injury.
The incorporation of fire safety, safety glazing and access requirements in the Building Regulations in the last few years has made substantial progress, but additional improvements are still essential.
The document highlights further improvements that would help address the needs of disadvantaged people and would also reduce the need for householders to carry out DIY activities, which themselves are the cause of numerous accidents.
Home safety in the private rented sector: improving safety without increasing regulation
Following an All-Party Parliamentary Home Safety and Carbon Monoxide Group seminar in May 2014, a sub-group of the Electrical Safety Roundtable was set up to consider the content of a new Home Safety Document. RoSPA was pleased be part of this sub-group and, in addition to supporting the work to improve electrical and gas safety and carbon monoxide awareness, used the opportunity to ensure that other major home accident problems including falls, strangulation from blind cords, burns and scalds were included. The result of the sub-group has been the creation of a Home Safety Certificate, checklists and guidance documents which provide landlords with the resources they need to ensure appropriate checks are carried out.
The certificate will help the landlord to provide evidence that:
- An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) has been carried out within the last five years, or within an appropriate timescale determined by a competent, registered electrician with experience of carrying out inspection and testing
- A visual electrical inspection has taken place within the last year and any urgent remedial action has been noted and carried out (this is supported by a guidance document)
- A Portable Appliance Test has been undertaken in line with a risk assessment
- A Gas Safety Certificate has been completed in the last year (where applicable)
- An annual safety report for a solid fuel or oil combustion appliance has been completed in the last year by a competent, registered installer (where applicable)
- A working carbon monoxide alarm is present in a property with a carbon burning appliance
- A working smoke alarm is present in a property on each floor of the house and has been tested to ensure it is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins
- A Legionella risk assessment has been carried out in line with HSE guidance
The certificate also demonstrates that additional industry recommended home safety checks have been carried out. These include checks to confirm that:
- Thermostatic mixing valves are present on baths (or the tenant has been made aware of the risks if they are not)
- A fall prevention risk assessment has been carried out
- Appropriate blind cord safety devices are present
- The tenant has been made aware of the fire escape strategy and exit routes
The certificate and supporting documents allow landlords to best ensure that they have met their legal obligations in relation to potentially hazardous installations situations and appliances around the home. Although some of these checks are not legally required, they are all implied in the legislation for landlords and the HHSRS document. The aim of these documents is to give landlords the tools to demonstrate to potential tenants that they take their safety responsibilities seriously and to reduce their own liability.
They have been produced with the support of insurance providers, landlord's associations, mortgage lenders and a number of interested trade associations.
To view the Home Safety Guidance Documents, please visit The Home Safety Guidance website.