More often nowadays, we are seeing the requirements in fire risk assessments becoming more stringent, with requirements on safety in buildings. Whilst the risk assessment was the go-to document assessing risk in all things related to fire, we have noticed that fire risk assessments are now calling for a building’s fire strategy (and providing medium risk on this item) or a fire safety management plan. We thought we would explain what these are:
Fire Strategy or Design Fire Strategy
Fire strategies are developed during the design phase for a new building or refurbishment project. They provide an overriding document setting out the fundamental requirements for building regulations approval and ongoing occupation of the building. The strategy is normally provided to the architect and forwarded to the building control authority for approval of the design. A fire strategy will then provide building owners, occupiers and managers with relevant information from which to develop and implement effective prevention and protection solutions including the FSMP.
The fire strategy should form part of the package to satisfy Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations 2010, that requires fire safety information be provided to the building owners by a person carrying out work. Regulation 38 requires that fire safety information be provided to the Responsible Person, as defined under the RR(FS)O, to assist them in fulfilling their duties in respect of fire safety for the building. Despite the fact that Regulation 38 has been around since 2010, there remains some confusion with regards to what is required to demonstrate compliance. This leads to the quality and standard of information provided varying greatly.
Fire Safety Management Plan
A Fire Safety Management Plan (FSMP) should be prepared, as required under Article 11 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, to detail the arrangements that have been made to implement, control, monitor and review fire safety standards and to ensure those standards are maintained. A documented FSMP provides a means of demonstrating that fire safety is translated into action to ensure that the fire risk to people and the organisation are reduced as far as reasonably practicable while ensuring that the legislative requirements are met. The extent of the management system should be proportionate to the level of risk arising from the organization’s activities and subsequent level of assurance sought. It should be noted that an organisation’s risk tolerance (that is its readiness to bear risk, after risk treatment, in order to achieve its objectives) can be limited by legal or regulatory requirements. Documentation of the FSMP and its processes will provide an auditable trail that demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to fire risk management and legislative compliance. It should not result in undue bureaucracy therefore should be tailored to the specific needs of the building and its occupiers.
Karsons work with specialist fire safety officers with a view to providing compliance in these areas. If your fire risk assessment has amber or red risks based on the above, give us a call or write us an email and we will be happy to assist.