Fire Risk Assessment Frequently Asked Questions
There are certain questions we often get asked in relation to fire risk assessment and who has responsibility for ensuring they are completed and findings etc are dealt with. So we thought a simple clear explanation to these questions would be useful to our visitors.
Why is an Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) required?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came in to force in 2006 and did away with the old fire safety certificates issued by the Fire & Rescue Service. This effectively moved the responsibility for proactive fire safety to building owners, managers and occupiers also known as the responsible person.
Under the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 every property, excluding a single private dwelling, is required to have a “Suitable and Sufficient” FRA completed by a competent person.
Article 9 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005; states: –
“The responsible person must make suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed”. Furthermore article 9 (6) states “that as soon as reasonably practicable after the assessment or review the responsible person must record the significant findings of the assessment including measures which have or will be taken by the responsible person and details of any person(s) identified by the assessment as being especially at risk.”
Who is the ‘responsible person’ or ‘duty holder’?
The responsible person is identified under article 3 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) as:-
- In relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control;
- The person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or
- The owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.
Who is the ‘competent person’?
According to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) the competent person is someone who has ‘sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities in order to complete the FRA’. These other qualities should include integrity and an ethical approach to their role.
As a minimum, the person should have undergone a fire risk assessment course, appropriate to the assessments they are completing, and belong to a professional body focused on fire safety.
Fast R Solutions are members of the Fire Protection Association and assessors belong to the Institute of Fire Engineers
What is the purpose of the Fire Risk Assessment?
To provide an assessment of the risk to life from fire in the premises, and where appropriate, to make recommendations to reduce those risks to life.
A fire risk assessment does not provide protection from a fire, but acting on the recommendations can help reduce the chances of a fire occurring and should a fire occur reduce the impact on relevant persons
What should a Fire Risk Assessment cover?
The FRA should identify and assess: –
- The relevant people at risk (Residents, Staff, Contractors and others)
- Fire hazards (Waste materials and other sources of fuel, ignition sources such as electrical systems and other sources of heat, flammable gases and liquids)
- Life safety systems (detection systems, fire suppression systems, extraction systems, etc.)
- Fire safety management (maintenance regimes, training, etc.)
The assessment must include any significant findings and any recommendations for improvement.
When should the Fire Risk Assessment be reviewed?
The original Fire Risk Assessment should be reviewed at regular intervals, at least annually, to ensure it remains “suitable and sufficient” in relation to the property. If there are any material changes to the property then the assessment must be reviewed.
It is also a good idea to have the fire risk assessment reviewed by a competent person should it be deemed not to be “suitable and sufficient” or should a fire or other fire safety incident occur.
What is PAS79 and how does it help?
First published in 2005 and revised in 2007, PAS 79 sets out a methodology for undertaking a fire risk assessment. It is a Publicly Available Specification. Although not a British Standard, it has been developed and published by the British Standards Institution, BSI.
Fast R Solutions complete their fire risk assessments based on the templates and process based on PAS79. This allows clients to gain an understanding of what is required by the standard, what we as Assessors are looking for and how information is presented.
I own a building that I lease out and have no direct involvement in the operation of it. Do any fire regulations apply to me?
The current legislation regarding fire safety in workplaces applies to any person who has control over a workplace or building. You need ensure that your tenants are made aware of the legislation and work with them to ensure full compliance.
How long does an assessment take?
The length of time that it may take to carry out a fire risk assessment can vary greatly as there are many factors to take into consideration. Size of the property, complexity of the building, building usage, access restrictions, construction, type of assessment (see Fire Risk Assessment Types), etc. However, most assessment visits are completed in a day. Writing the report may also take time based on the above factors; however, we do like to have them sent within 10 working days.
Who may need to examine my Fire Risk Assessment?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and/or your local Fire and Rescue Service have the right to inspect your FRA. They may also carry out random spot inspections of premises. So if a business, company or organisation haven’t completed a Fire Risk Assessment they will be breaking the law.