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Fire Risk Assessments

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a fire risk assessment is necessary in virtually all buildings in England and Wales, other than domestic dwellings.

Fire Risk Assessments are now required by law under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for all workplaces and public meeting places. Your fire risk assessment is your company's most vital safety document!

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 has placed the requirement for fire safety in to the hands of the owner, manager or employer of non domestic premises; they are deemed to be the Responsible Person and have a duty to produce a fire risk assessment.

A responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by or under the Order.

Fire risk assessments can be produced by a professional risk assessor but they must include involvement from the Responsible Person.

What is a fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment is a process involving the systematic evaluation of the factors that determine the hazard from fire, the likelihood that there will be a fire and the consequences if one were to occur.

Is it required by law?

Yes. There are few exceptions.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a fire risk assessment is necessary in virtually all buildings in England and Wales, other than domestic dwellings. Similar requirements apply in Scotland under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, and in Northern Ireland.

Can I carry this out myself?

Yes, if you consider you have the competence to do so.

We are normally employed either when a client does not have the necessary competence or when they do not have the time or resources to conduct the risk assessments themselves.

What is involved?

A fire risk assessment involves a physical inspection of the building to determine the adequacy of the existing fire precautions and the need for any additional measures. However, of equal importance to the physical inspection is a review of fire safety management in the organisation and consideration of the human factors – how people will respond to an emergency and whether they will take appropriate action.

There are practical limits to the extent of the survey and evaluation of the fire precautions. For example, in undertaking a fire risk assessment, we would not carry out detailed engineering evaluation or testing of fire protection systems, emergency escape lighting, etc. We are able to offer this planned maintenance contract separately.

However, we would still inspect such systems visually as part of the Fire risk Assessment. Where appropriate, we would identify the need for any further engineering evaluation, which we would be able to carry out if required.

Similarly, the survey of the construction of the building would extend to readily accessible areas of the building only. We would not undertake destructive exposure. While we would inspect above false ceilings, where possible, this would be on a sampling basis only. Again, if we considered that more thorough examination of such areas was necessary, we would highlight this to you.

In the case a fire risk assessment aimed at satisfying the requirements of legislation, the objective of the risk assessment will primarily be the safety of the occupants of the building. While some of the recommendations we may make could also be beneficial to property protection, we would not be specifically addressing this objective or the objective of avoiding business interruption from fire.

What does it cover?

The scope of the survey involved in a fire risk assessment would include the following particular aspects of fire safety:

  • Fire loss experience
  • Fire hazards
  • Fire prevention
  • Storage and handling of flammable liquids and gases
  • Housekeeping
  • Means of escape
  • Compartmentation
  • Flammability of linings
  • Emergency escape lighting
  • Fire safety signs and notices
  • Fire detection and fire alarm systems
  • Fire extinguishing systems and appliances
  • Smoke control systems
  • Facilities for use by the fire and rescue service
  • Arrangements for management of fire safety
  • Fire procedures
  • Training and drills
  • Testing and maintenance
  • Records

When does it need to be repeated?

The fire risk assessment process is intended to by dynamic, and takes into account change. Fire risk assessments should therefore be reviewed from time to time or if there is a reason to suspect that it is no longer valid, and, in particular, if significant changes take place, such as an increase in the numbers of people in the building or changes to floor layouts.

Fire risk assessments should also be reviewed after a fire.

We will give a suggested date for review in our reports. A review does not necessarily involve repeating the fire risk assessment process. A judgement on this is required based on the significance of the changes.

Our usual recommendations are

  • High Risk Properties to have 6-monthly assessments
  • Normal risk Properties to have annual Assessments
  • Low risk Properties to have assessments every three years

Please contact our office for further information or to discuss costs and a suitable appointment.

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