Fire Risk Assessments

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) came into effect in October 2006 and replaced over 70 pieces of fire safety law. This regulation placed the responsibility to undertake a fire risk assessment on a ‘responsible person’ within a property or business, such as a business owner, director or a landlord. It also moved away from the issuing of fire certificates by the local fire authority.

The assessment must be undertaken by a trained, skilled and competent person who takes into consideration all the possible factors that could lead to a fire.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment and what does it cover?
The purpose of a fire risk assessment is to provide an impartial assessment of the risk to life from fire in a property, and where appropriate, to make recommendations to ensure compliance with fire safety legislation. Unless specified or pre-agreed with the assessor prior to the assessment being carried out, the report does not address the risk to property or business continuity from fire.

There are four different types of assessments that we can provide to assess fire risk in a property, they include:

Pre-occupation survey
This survey is not a fire risk assessment, it is a brief inspection of generic fire precautions.

The aim is to advise a new occupier of a building, what the potential expenses and operational considerations are, before they make a financial commitment.

Type 1
A generic check of current fire safety precautions, arrangements, policies and procedures. There is a limited review on structural fire stopping measures, and is non-invasive to the fabric of the building. Comments on the general condition of fire doors and obvious compartment breeches will be included. However, it is not expected to include the lifting of ceiling tiles or opening of riser / void hatches.

Type 2
A more thorough assessment, including visual inspection of accessible voids, hatches and risers. A detailed (sometimes separate) report is issued against fire door and structural conditions, with suggested remedial actions.
Evidence of staff training, policies and procedures will need to be shown to the assessor. Before commencing the assessment, a ‘management’ grade asbestos survey is required.

A type 2 is still non-invasive to the fabric of the building.

Type 3
A comprehensive assessment that is invasive to the fabric of the building. This will involve the making of exploratory holes into parts of the building’s structure. All areas to investigate will be agreed in advance. This assessment usually follows a type 1, or type 2, and will require a ‘refurbishment & demolition’ grade asbestos survey in advance.

Who needs a fire risk assessment?
Any premises occupied by paid or unpaid workers and including;

– HMO’s – Houses in Multiple Occupation
– Educational establishments
– Industrial units or workshops
– Offices and shops
– Health and residential care environments
– Show, theatre and event spaces

More information on fire safety can be found on the HSE website.

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