Replacement windows and doors supplied for Kenrick House

What is the main aim of the HHSRS?

We are firm believers that all housing should be safe and healthy to live in – whether it’s private rented property, social housing, housing association homes or owner-occupied housing. Thankfully, there is a pro-active risk-based evaluation tool that allows local authorities to identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety in residential properties. This is known as the Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS), which covers England and Wales.

How does the HHSRS work?

Local authorities have a duty of care to monitor housing conditions in their area. Although the HHSRS includes council and housing association homes and owner-occupied housing, in practice, it’s typically used to inspect privately rented homes.

Tenants who suspect that their home is unsafe or unhealthy can contact their local council, who will instruct an environmental health officer to attend and assess the property according to the HHSRS’ 29 ‘prescribed hazards’. Each hazard that is detected is rated and banded, determining whether the property is rated as a Category 1 or Category 2 hazard.

If serious problems are found there are several routes that can be taken, including informal negotiation with the landlord to improve the property, right through to enforcement action against the landlord. Emergency remedial action can also be taken in very serious circumstances, where the council can carry out the works themselves and charge the landlord.

Fire Exit Sign

What are the 29 HHSRS hazards?

  1. Damp and mould growth
  2. Excess cold
  3. Excess heat
  4. Asbestos and MMF
  5. Biocides
  6. Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
  7. Lead
  8. Radiation
  9. Uncombusted fuel gas
  10. Volatile organic compounds
  11. Crowding and space
  12. Entry by intruders
  13. Lighting
  14. Noise
  15. Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
  16. Food safety
  17. Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
  18. Water supply
  19. Falls associated with baths etc
  20. Falling on level surfaces etc
  21. Falling on stairs
  22. Falling between levels
  23. Electrical hazards
  24. Fire
  25. Flames, hot surfaces etc
  26. Collision and entrapment
  27. Explosions
  28. Position and operability of amenities etc
  29. Structural collapse and falling elements

What is a Category 1 hazard?

The definition of a Category 1 hazard is:

“a serious and immediate risk to a person’s health and safety.”

Category 1 hazards fall within the HHSRS higher hazard scoring bands A-C.

What is a Category 2 hazard?

Less serious or less urgent hazards are classed as a Category 2 hazard. Category 2 hazards fall within the HHSRS lower hazard scoring bands D-J. However, council’s can still take action on Category 2 hazards if deemed necessary.

What does this mean for landlords?

PVCu windows for housing development

If a landlord receives an improvement notice, in most circumstances, this means that they cannot issues tenants with a Section 21 notice (eviction notice) for 6 months. And if a home fails to meet the HHSRS standards, tenants have the right to take legal action against their landlord. This is in line with The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which came into effect in March 2019.

Appendix IV, of the official HHSRS guidelines for landlords and property-related professionals’, outlines helpful examples of how to effectively assess hazards.

How can housing providers minimise the chances of unacceptable hazards?

Regular property inspections in line with the HHSRS guidance, coupled with consistent communication with tenants, is the best way to minimise the risk of unacceptable housing hazards.

If you require help with the following hazards, high-performance window and door products from Shelforce offer effective preventative measures;

HHSRS Hazard Relevant Causes Preventative measures
Damp & mould growth
  • Reduced ventilation levels
  • Attention to detailing around doors and window openings.
  • Appropriate ventilation for dwellings of high occupant density – e.g. high-performance windows with trickle vents.
Excess Cold
  • Dwellings with low energy efficiency ratings.
  • Properties built before 1850.
  • Appropriate levels of thermal insulation to minimise
    heat loss.
  • Properly sited/sized permanent openings.
Entry by intruders
  • Doors and windows – poorly constructed/fitted/
    in disrepair/inadequate locks.
  • Lack of viewers to external doors.
  • Lack of/broken security chains to external doors.
Noise
  • Disrepair of windows/internal/external doors allowing increased noise penetration.
  • Overly strong door closers resulting in banging.
  • Double/secondary glazing and lobbies to external doors where there are high outside noise levels (e.g. traffic).
  • Possible triple glazing near airports/sources of very high noise levels.
Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
  • Access for rodents by means of ill-fitting doors and windows.
Fire
  • Allowing fire and smoke to spread to other parts of the dwelling.
  • Properly constructed/fitted internal doors with self-closers where appropriate.
  • Means of escape from all parts of dwelling/building, e.g. egress windows.
Collision and entrapment
  • Threats of trapping body parts (e.g. fingers/limbs) in architectural features (e.g. doors/windows).
  • It also includes striking (colliding with) features such as glazing/windows/doors.

The right solutions for your housing project

Experienced and knowledgeable on all types of housing refurbishments, we work closely with local authorities, landlords and tenants to ensure the best possible outcome for each individual project. Browse through the installations we’ve worked on to understand the high calibre of our window and door products.

Begin your Shelforce journey by calling our Sales & Customer Service line on 0121 603 5262 or email us at shelforcesales@birmingham.gov.uk .

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