Every row of flats and each business must comply with a Fire Risk Assessment guidelines. It is the law and steep fines and penalties can incur for those who choose to violate this order. However, not everyone fully understands how Fire Risk Assessors can assist with this cornerstone for every fire safety plan in the UK.
Sadly, these types of assessments are often ignored. When this occurs, buildings are at risk for unnecessary fire exposure. With this risk, there is a potential for property damage and even the loss of life.
The following guide provides more information about the importance of Fire Risk Assessments and the different ways Fire Assessors help to manage these assessments to keep people and property safe.
What Are Fire Risk Assessments?
In the simplest of terms, a fire risk assessment is a building review that assesses it for fire risk. If any risks are found, the Fire Risk Assessor will make recommendations that will help make the building safer.
These types of assessments do not have to be placed in writing if the building has fewer than 5 people occupying the building. In other words, a Fire Risk Assessment does not always have to be a written document.
However, most Fire Risk Assessors do recommend that responsible persons do request a written Fire Risk Assessment document. By having it in writing, it will be easier to ensure that occupants are aware of the findings and the appropriate measures are taken to address the risks.
Understanding The Fire Risk Assessment Guidelines
There are several specific legal guidelines that must be adhered to during a Fire Risk Assessment.
The first guideline is that Fire Risk Assessments have to be reviewed on a regular basis. Many Fire Risk Assessors recommend that the guidelines are reviewed:
- When the number of occupants has significantly increased
- When business operations have been changed or altered
- When the layout of the building has been changed
- Every 12 months after the initial assessment
The layout of the building, the number of occupants and the building use can drastically change a fire safety plan. This is why a review of the Fire Risk Assessment must take place if any of these changes happen.
Another guideline is that the Fire Risk Assessment has to be in writing if there 5 or more people will be regularly occupying the building.
The final guideline is that every Fire Risk Assessment must have any major findings and recommendations on record whether it is in written form or not.
Who Is A ‘Responsible Person’?
This is the person who will be responsible for ensuring that fire safety is practiced in the building. The Responsible Person will make sure that occupants are complying with the fire safety plan and each occupant is doing their job in keeping the building safe. The Responsible Person will also make sure that if a fire does occur, injury and death do not occur.
So, this means that it is the duty of the Responsible Person to make sure there is a valid assessment in the building. For small businesses, the Responsible Person is generally the owner. If you live in a tower block or flat, the Responsible Person is usually the property manager or the landlord. In some cases, the Responsible Person may be someone on the Residents’ Association.
How Is A Fire Risk Assessment Carried Out?
In the legal guidelines it is stated that a competent person must carry out Fire Risk Assessments. However, most people choose to contract with a certified and experienced Fire Risk Assessor for this duty.
The person must be able to:
- Implement a fire action plan if required
- Update fire risk assessment regularly
- Clearly record and detail all findings and recommendations
Fire Risk Assessors undergo specific and detailed training in order to comply with Fire Risk Assessment legal guidelines. They use their knowledge and training to apply these assessments to a range of building structures.