Frequently Asked Questions
Fire Risk Assessment
A Selection Of Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
In England and Wales – The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, came into effect and replaced over 70 pieces of fire safety law. In Scotland – The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the associated Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. In Northern Ireland – The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010.
This is an Act brought in by the UK government to improve fire safety in virtually all buildings, structures, and open spaces. For example: offices and shops; warehouses and factories; transport premises and facilities; entertainment, pubs, clubs and restaurants; open-air events and venues; residential, hotels and hostels (including common areas of houses in multiple occupation); premises that provide residential care and health care; educational premises; places of worship; community halls; tents and marquees etc.
However, the Order does exclude domestic premises occupied by a single-family unit.
Responsibility for complying with the Order rests with the ‘responsible person’.
In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the occupier or owner.
In all other premises, the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one ‘responsible person’ in any type of premises (e.g. a multi-occupied complex), all must take all reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other.
Following the assessment, you will need to implement the appropriate fire safety measures. This will help you minimise the risk to life in the event of a fire.
If you are an employer with more than 5 employees (including part-time staff), have business premises that are visited by members of the public or are a voluntary organisation, are a landlord with control over a business premises, if you own HMO properties, are self-employed with business premises, own licensed premises, then YES you are subject to the Order and must undertake a fire risk assessment. In short, the legislation applies to all places of work with little exception.
A Fire Risk Assessment is a report which provides a detailed and comprehensive listing of fire risks which are easy to understand. An Action Plan will also be included to assist you with the creation and implementation of a safety plan. The report will satisfy all regulatory requirements and will be accepted for any insurance purposes.
Employers and self-employed people must carry out, or appoint a competent person to carry out a ‘suitable and sufficient’ Fire Risk Assessment of the risks of fire to their employees and others who may be affected by their work or business. Those who employ five or more employees (including part-time staff) must keep a formal record of any significant findings and remedial measures which have, or may need to be, taken.
It is almost certain that professional Fire Safety expertise will be required.
DIY efforts or using inexperienced people is very UNLIKELY to reach the required standard.
Not necessarily. You are compliant if the report is deemed ‘suitable and sufficient’ by the enforcing authority and you have implemented the works required and the whole process is managed and periodically reviewed.
If you are not confident to be able to undertake your own Fire Risk Assessment, get help from a competent source. Remember you must be confident and competent to undertake this type of risk assessment. If in doubt always ask for advice.
The legislation allows for the ‘responsible person’ to engage a suitable outside professional agency or person (such as Fire Risk Consultancy Services) to undertake the Fire Risk Assessment on your behalf and to prepare the necessary documentation to show that the business is compliant with fire safety regulations.
NO, the local Fire Authority CANNOT provide this service as they are the Enforcing Body.
If you feel competent (have enough skills, knowledge and understanding) to carry out your own Fire Risk Assessment it is important to do in a systematic and practical way. Our Fire Risk Assessment Template will help you to do that and improve fire safety for your business. Suitable for all business types large, medium or small. We offer a basic Fire Risk Assessment Template you can order for £19.99 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07930 480 896.
Fire Risk Assessments must be undertaken by a competent person with sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them to properly assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.
The first and most important element of achieving compliance with the Fire Regulations is for an organisation to be in possession of a robust Fire Risk Assessment which should be sufficiently robust to satisfy the scrutiny of both the Fire Authority (during a Fire Safety Audit), or indeed if the unthinkable happens and you have a fire, your Insurance Company.
Our trained Fire Risk Assessors:
- Are ex-local authority Fire Safety Officers with a minimum of 5 years’ experience
- Understand the relevant fire safety regulations
- Have training and experience in carrying out Fire Risk Assessments for all sizes of business and all kinds of business properties
- Have training, knowledge, and experience in the principles of fire safety
- Understand the physics of fire development and the psychology of how people behave when a fire breaks out
- Have been trained to identify fire hazards, fire risks, and buildings and occupants of buildings who pose a special risk in the event of a fire
- Carry Professional Indemnity Insurance
When choosing an Assessor to carry out your Fire Risk Assessment for you, make sure you consider the right factors. Competency is far more important than the cheapest quote. A competent person is someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist YOU properly. The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation and the particular help you need. We at Fire Risk Consultancy Services offer you a competitively priced Fire Risk Assessment completed by our competent Assessors and are totally confident that our reports fulfil all legal requirements.
What can influence the price?
Common factors which impact on the cost of your Fire Risk Assessment include:
- Size of the building
- Number of occupants
- Vulnerability of occupants
- Use of the premises
- Number of floors
- Sleeping occupants
- The risk level of your premises
- What type of risk assessment you require
This is because these will have an influence over how long it will take an Assessor, and how many potential risks they may have to consider.
Price isn’t everything
If you are quoted a price which seems too good to be true, then it’s likely that it is. A Fire Risk Assessment is far more than just getting a piece of paper.
The danger of ‘cheap & cheerful’ and/or ‘pile ‘em high & sell ‘em cheap’ tick-box assessments is that generalised reports are produced and potential hazards can get missed and as a consequence the correct action not being taken or unnecessary expense to the client.
As a good example, we have seen checklists used that include a statement to confirm whether or not an automatic fire detection is installed. The Assessor simply enters a Yes or No. This in itself is of very little help on its own, especially when fire detection could be the cornerstone of fire protection obligations. What gets ticked, gets checked… but what about all the other provisions?
These Fire Risk Assessments are usually provided by the person who once sold portable fire extinguishers and saw this new market open up so went on a two-day course or someone who undertakes health and safety risk assessments and believes that fire safety can’t be that different.
Our qualified Assessor will provide recommendations for any improvements that are necessary, considering ALL significant findings. These will ensure that you reduce the likelihood of a fire starting, and should a fire start, the lives of any occupants are not endangered.
We offer you a personalised bespoke service and a report tailored to your business. We are confident that this will be more cost-effective to your business than a ‘cheaper’ off the peg report which generally only highlight any deficiencies rather than offer you workable solutions within the existing provisions.
A Fire Risk Consultancy Services Assessor will arrive at your premises at the arranged time and introduce himself to the ‘responsible person’ or person in control of the risk assessment process. The Assessor will then spend some time asking a few questions to understand the day-to-day workings of your organisation and looking at any fire-related documents you may have in place. Upon completion of the documentation/questions, the Assessor will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your premises covering all areas. Photographs and notes will be taken to record all risks and hazards to persons occupying the building the assessor identifies. On completion of the assessment, the Assessor will provide a debrief of his findings prior to leaving and compiling your full report.
If you have documentation in place (don’t worry if you don’t, this will be highlighted in the risk assessment for you to complete if required) the Risk Assessor will request to see evidence of:
- Servicing/Maintenance Records (NIC electrical certification, PAT, Gas installation, fire alarm system, Emergency lighting, firefighting equipment)
- Fire Safety Policy and Evacuation Procedures
- Staff Training Records
- Fire Logbooks (to include Emergency Lighting, Fire Alarm testing, Fire Doors, Final exit doors, Fire Extinguishers, Fire Evacuation Drills)
- Any documentation sent from Fire Authorities
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
The Assessor makes a thorough tour of your premises, evaluating the building condition and age, its layout and building contents to identify potential fire hazards, ignition sources and combustible materials, means of escape in the case of fire and regulatory requirements. The Assessor also notes who works in the building and where, current fire safety equipment, its condition and maintenance, fire safety signage, current protocols for fire prevention and management, and existing fire safety training and drills.
The time it takes for the assessment to be carried out will vary depending on the size of the building and findings. Typically, this will generally take 2 to 3 hours.
All of the information that has been gathered during the site(s) visit is analysed and used to produce the Fire Risk Assessment report. The report is clear and easy to understand, satisfies regulatory requirements and is acceptable for insurance purposes. The report prioritizes our findings allowing you to deal with any problems, or potential problems, as quickly as possible.
We ask our clients to make full payment before any documentation is sent out. As soon as payment is received your documentation will be delivered to you.
No. The guidance on this states that a Fire Risk Assessment will need to be carried out at “regular” intervals based on the risk of the building. There are certain instances when you must review your Fire Risk Assessment and update your document, for example if:
- Your Fire Risk Assessment/Assessor recommends a review date
- If there is a reason to think the assessment is no longer valid
- Alterations are made to the structure of the building (either internal or external changes)
- A fire-related incident or accident occurs; fire safety equipment is damaged (either passive or active measures)
- Significant changes or numbers of personnel
- A staff member with a disability is hired
- A young person is hired
- Changes to equipment, machinery or larger furniture and fixtures occur
- Hazardous substance storage is introduced or changed
- Changes in legislation
Yes, a member of our team will contact you prior to the date your annual review was recommended.
If we have undertaken your Fire Risk Assessment, you will be offered a unique opportunity to Review or Renew your Fire Risk Assessment. This is only available to our existing customers as it is offered at a very competitive rate.
This is possible as they are the enforcing authority for the Regulations and will carry out risk-based inspections within their area.
They CANNOT, and WILL NOT, carry out your Fire Risk Assessment for you.
When there is a risk and it has not been managed correctly, the Fire Authorities will have a duty to enforce compliance with the regulations. When this happens, they can serve a notice (Prohibition, Enforcement or Alteration) on you. In the more serious cases, penalties can lead to a fine for each offence. There is also the chance of an unlimited fine or up to 2 years imprisonment for the responsible person.
Your Fire Insurance cover may well be affected if, after experiencing a Fire Incident, it is deemed that your Fire Risk Assessment fails to comply with the required standard of ‘suitable and sufficient’. It is therefore crucial that you use Fire Risk Consultancy Services determine what actions are required.
No. Fire Risk Consultancy Services is an independent fire safety company that does not sell or up-sell any fire related equipment. We will only provide recommendations for what is required on your premises to comply with the regulations. We will not over prescribe equipment that could be costly to customers or compromise our recommendations.