I am frequently asked questions by clients regarding specific matters raised in their Fire Risk Assessments. It is important to understand the content of fire risk assessment reports and the following points have been included to help clarify questions, which often arise:
- It is a legal requirement to have a fire risk assessment (FRA) for any building, which is not a single private dwelling.
- The legislation for this requirement is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales and in Scotland, the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005.
- The local fire authority enforces this legislation who may visit you at any time to conduct compliance audits.
- Detailed information and guides for each type of premises is freely available online at https://www.gov.uk/search?q=fire+guidance
- Whilst the FRA is, itself, not a list of requirements, the fire authority inspector will use it as a document upon which to base their audit.
- Once they have read the FRA, if they agree with the significant findings and advice, they will expect you to have acted appropriately upon the advice within the recommended timescales.
- The FRA is a ‘snapshot in time’. It is based entirely on what the fire risk assessor observes at the time of the inspection.
- If there are actions regarding fire related documentation, which subsequently come to light, append a copy to the FRA to allow the fire authority inspector to see them as part of their audit of your remedial actions.
- Following the initial assessment, as you complete each action or start the process by placing a works order or engaging a contractor, keep a signed and dated copy of this with the FRA for audit purposes.
- You do not need to notify your fire risk assessor each time you complete an action.
Finally, should you receive an enforcement, prohibition or any other notice from the fire authority, it is worthwhile contacting your fire risk assessor to discuss how best to respond.
Chris Fitzgerald MIFireE, MIIRSM, Tech IOSH
Senior fire and health & safety consultant.