Fire risk assessments…

…are a crucial aspect of maintaining safety in buildings across the UK. Whether you own a business, manage a property, or are a designated Responsible Person, understanding fire risk assessments can help you prevent fires and protect lives. This article answers some of the frequently asked questions we receive from our customers about fire risk assessments.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

A fire risk assessment is a systematic evaluation of a building to identify fire hazards, assess the risks associated with those hazards, and implement measures to mitigate the risks. It involves:

  • Identifying potential fire hazards
  • Determining who might be at risk
  • Evaluating the risks and existing fire safety measures
  • Recording findings and implementing improvements
  • Reviewing and updating the assessment regularly

Why do I need a Fire Risk Assessment?

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales, and subsequently the Fire Safety Act in 2021, there is a legal requirement to undertake a comprehensive fire risk assessment in almost all non-domestic premises. These premises include:

– Non-domestic premises
– Holiday lets & Airbnb’s
– Common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings
– Certain industrial and commercial facilities

This assessment must be carried out by a competent person with the required knowledge, training and experience.

Failure to comply can result in fines or, in severe cases, even imprisonment.

Who is the Responsible Person for Fire Risk Assessments?

The term Responsible Person refers to individuals who have control over a building or certain areas within it. This typically includes employers, owners, landlords, and property managers. The Responsible Person must ensure that fire risk assessments are conducted and that appropriate fire safety measures are in place.

In a shared premises, there may well be more than one responsible person. If this is the case, they must co-ordinate together when putting together a fire safety plan.

While the Responsible Person(s) can conduct the assessment themselves, we recommend hiring a qualified Fire Risk Assessor to ensure a thorough and unbiased evaluation. Professional assessors are trained to identify potential risks that might be overlooked and provide expert recommendations to enhance fire safety.

It’s essential for Responsible Persons to stay informed about their obligations and ensure assessments are up-to-date.

What should a Fire Risk Assessment include?

A comprehensive fire risk assessment should cover:

  • Identification of fire hazards (eg. flammable materials, heat sources)
  • Identification of who might be harmed and how (eg. employees, visitors)
  • Evaluation of current fire safety measures (eg. alarms, extinguishers)
  • Recording of findings and emergency plan (eg. improving escape routes)
  • Regular review and updates to ensure ongoing safety

How often should Fire Risk Assessments be conducted?

Fire risk assessments should be reviewed regularly and whenever there are significant changes to the building. For most properties, an annual review is recommended. However, if there are alterations, new equipment installations, or changes in occupancy, the assessment should be updated immediately to reflect these changes.

How can I improve Fire Safety in my building?

This was discussed in our recent article, Fire Safety Tips For The Workplace.

Investing in these measures not only enhances safety but also ensures compliance with legal standards.

Fire risk assessments are vital for ensuring the safety and compliance of any building. By understanding your role as a Responsible Person and the importance of hiring a professional Fire Risk Assessor, you can create a safer environment for everyone. Regular reviews, proper training, and effective safety measures are key to preventing fires and protecting lives.

For more detailed guidance, visit GOV.UK’s Fire Safety page.

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