What insurance should I be considering for a block of flats?
When considering issues that could arise in your property, there are the obvious ones that spring to mind. Fires and electrical issues are among them.
Fires can occur for a number of reasons. From kitchen fires to electrical fires, it only takes minutes for flames to cause chaos.
Risks of fire can include:
- Smoke inhalation
- Serious burns
- Interior damage to the building
- Structural damage or collapse
Electrical issues can wreak havoc in a block of flats. Maintenance employees and residents could suffer from shocks and burns at the hands of faulty equipment, such as a defective vacuum cleaner, or improper installation, such as poor wiring.
While testing portable appliances is not required by law, however, it is required by the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition.
For instance, if you were to allow electrical appliances to fall into a state of disrepair could leave you liable for any injuries or damage the appliances subsequently cause.
It is also worth considering the risks of working at heights.
As a block of flats with multiple storeys, any contractors or maintenance employees that carry out work at heights are at risk of injury or potentially even death. Reasons for needing to work at heights include carrying out tasks such as washing windows or performing maintenance to external features of the building.
Hygiene is an important risk to consider when you have multiple residents in your property. Proper maintenance of your property is needed to prevent the spread of the following diseases:
- Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease), which is spread through the urine of infected animals such as rodents.
- Legionnaire’s disease, which is caused by the growth of Legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems
- Common colds and cases of flu can spread quickly in a property with poor hygiene
Hazardous substances pose a risk to both residents and maintenance employees are at risk of suffering from serious eye, skin and lung complications if they come into contact with the following substances:
- Bleach and other cleaning chemicals that are incorrectly handled
- Hazardous pesticides
- Asbestos-containing materials
What can I do?
Risk Management Practices
While the number of risks associated with managing a block of flats can seem overwhelming, you can help protect your tenants, employees and building by taking preventative measures.
- Create a property risk assessment – you should include the following aspects in your assessment:
- The potential risks and hazards on your property, as well as the people who are most vulnerable to each risk.
- Evaluate and take steps to remove or reduce the risks you’ve identified. This could be performing routine checks and regular updates on property features. You should also strictly enforcing safety regulations or promoting proper hygiene practices to employees and residents. Use industry-specific HSE best-practices to determine effective risk management strategies. http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/casestudies/flats.htm
- Prepare an emergency plan in the event of a disaster! Have routine emergency drills to run through the plan with employees and residents.
- Record your findings related to risk management. Take note of what works and what doesn’t. Use this information to continue updating your risk management strategy.
Manage high-level risks
Fires – being a risk that can have such devastating consequences, it is vital to pay close attention to fire prevention:
- Clearly define your emergency exits and make sure they’re easily accessible
- Routinely test and update fire detection or alarm systems
- Keep effective firefighting equipment on the property
- Have an effective emergency fire evacuation plan that everyone in the property understands
For a more detailed guide on fire safety and fire risk in a block of flats, see the government guidance.
What’s the right cover?
While risk management practices help prevent a disaster, be sure to provide yourself with the ultimate peace of mind by purchasing the following cover all available from Insync Insurance as part of a Block of Flats insurance policy:
- Specialist cover from small flat conversions to large purpose-built apartment blocks
- Single or multiple location policies
- House-in-multiple occupation (HMO) flat conversions
- Non-standard construction and unoccupied blocks
- Blocks under renovation
- Communal contents and garden cover
- Cover for solar panels and satellite dishes
- Lifts and communal boiler cover (Engineers and Inspection cover)
- Optional Terrorism cover
- Legal liabilities as a block owner (Property Owners Liability and/or employers’ liability)
- Legal Expenses options
Contact our team today for more information by visiting our website or calling us directly on 0330 124 0730.