From offices and shops to care homes and sleeping accommodation and everything in between, you must create and maintain a quality Fire Risk Assessment under the appropriate fire safety legislation to ensure you keep your people and premises safe from fire.
Fire Risk Assessments are commonly misunderstood as being an action that establishes a safe building. A Fire Risk Assessment is a report of the adequacy of a building’s fire safety at the exact time when it was carried out. This humble statement is not meant to undermine its significant importance however, but it does not immediately make a building safe from fire risk. There may be actions required by the building owner/manager to mitigate any identified risk.
A Fire Risk Assessment can be compared to a car’s MOT test certificate, where a car is tested to see if it meets road safety requirements on the day of testing and is tested annually. Fire Risk Assessments should be treated in a similar fashion, reviewing it regularly to ensure it is still fit for purpose for your building.
Quote from https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Justice/public-safety/Fire-Rescue/FireLaw/FireLaw/FAQ/RiskAssessment (now archived)
Fire Risk Assessments may highlight unnecessary or heightened risk that can be controlled or removed with appropriate action. It is only when these actions have been undertaken by the person responsible for fire safety in this building (and the Fire Risk Assessment has been reviewed again) that this really becomes an effective means in protecting people who use the building (staff, visitors, residents), the building itself and the emergency services (if a fire does occur).
When creating a new or renovating an existing building, make sure you establish a thorough record of what materials and design criteria have been used for this. A Fire Risk Assessor must be able to trust the specifications and compliance certification of the materials that have been used and the level of their fire stopping ability to make the appropriate evaluation.
e.g. If materials recommended in the design stage have been substituted during the installation, this should be documented clearly. If a Fire Risk Assessor does not have access to this information, they can only note this in their report which the building owner or manager must address to confirm its safety.
If you require help to create or review your Fire Risk Assessment you can specify a BAFE SP205 Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment Registered Company. These companies will have been independently assessed via UKAS Accredited Certification Bodies (NSI or SSAIB) to demonstrate their competency to deliver this service.
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) state:
Please Note: External links have been selected and reviewed as appropriate when the page was published or updated. BAFE is not responsible for the content of external websites and links/content may be changed without BAFE’s knowledge.
GOV.UK - Fire safety law and guidance documents for business
Fire Sector Federation - Choosing a Fire Risk Assessor
National Fire Chiefs Council - Fire Safety Risk Assessment Guidance
GOV.SCOT – FireLaw guidance
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – Fire Risk Assessment
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – Advice on Fire Safety
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service – fireSAFE
Every effort is made to ensure that the information provided is accurate and up to date.
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