May 3, 2023

How and why Summit Environmental should undertake your Fire Risk Assessments (FRA’s)?

Our experienced team provide specialist fire risk assessments across London, Sussex, Surrey and Kent.
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What is a Fire Risk Assessment(FRA)?

A fire risk assessment is a systematic method of examining a building, looking at what happens in the building and what the probability is of a fire causing damage to the people within. We have skilled, accredited fire risk assessors, who have worked on premises and dwellings of all sizes, from large, corporate office blocks, to HMOs.

Why do I need a fire risk assessment?

A fire in a building can be one of the most serious and deadly of dangers, which can not only cause death or severe injuries, or can also have a serious financial impact upon a business and its trading operations.

It is your duty to identify fire risks and hazards in your premises and take appropriate action.  

Once the risks are identified, working out whether the risks are acceptable or whether you need to take steps to reduce or control them is an important step of the fire risk assessment.

A risk assessment allows you to put in place effective fire safety measures including rapid fire detection procedures, preventative and protective equipment (fire alarms, extinguishers etc.) and swift escape routes.

When is a fire risk assessment required?

Changes to a building’s layout, how the building is used, or the kind of occupants using or living in the building can significantly impact your fire safety plans. Therefore, it is very important that a review of your fire risk assessment be conducted if any of those have occurred.

The recommendation is that the responsible person completes a Fire Risk Assessment at least once per year, but it can be sooner if it’s perceived to be a high-risk site.  For lower risk properties this could be every 2 to 3 years. At a minimum of every 5 years a new fire risk assessment should be undertaken.

Fire risk assessments are they a legal requirement?

Yes, it is a legal requirement. Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a full fire safety risk assessment is a legal responsibility for all non-domestic premises – and you’re also required by law to keep a full written record of your assessment if your business employs five or more people.

If you are responsible for a building, for example an employer, owner or occupier of premises that aren't a 'single private dwelling' (a private home),you need to make sure a suitably competent person completes a Fire Risk Assessment.

What is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?

It replaced most fire safety legislation with one simple order. It means that any person who has some level of control in premises must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire.

Where does the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 apply?

A recent FRA in a school.

The order applies to virtually all premises and covers nearly every type of building, structure, and open space.

For example, it applies to:

• offices and shops.

• premises that provide care, including care homes and hospitals.

• community halls, places of worship and other community premises.

• the shared areas of properties several households live in (housing laws may also apply).

• pubs, clubs, and restaurants.

• schools and sports centres.

• tents and marquees.

• hotels and hostels; and

• factories and warehouses.

It does not apply to:

• people’s private homes, including individual flats in a block or house.

Who is responsible for arranging a fire risk assessment?

The "responsible person" in a workplace is normally the employer, if they have control over the premises, to any extent, even if the workplace is shared, or leased.

If multiple people have control over the premises, the fire safety order does not place emphasis on one of them to be responsible for fire safety within the premises, but in fact both of them are responsible. The same applies for landlord and managing agents - you cannot impose the responsibility on someone else, they are just additionally responsible for the fire safety arrangements too.

How do I comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?

Fire Risk Assessment Process
  1. Identify the fire hazards. Such as sources of ignition such as naked flames, heaters, or some commercial processes; sources of fuel such as built-up waste, display materials, textiles or overstocked products; and sources of oxygen such as air conditioning or medicinal or commercial oxygen supplies.
  2. Identify people at risk. Such as people working near to fire dangers; people working alone or in isolated areas (such as in roof spaces or storerooms); children or parents with babies;  and the elderly or infirm and people who are disabled.
  3. Evaluate, remove, or reduce risks. You should remove or reduce any fire hazards where possible and reduce any risks you have identified. For example, make sure you separate flammable materials from sources of ignition; and have a safe-smoking policy.
  4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency fire-plan, and provide training. You need to record, plan, instruct, inform, and train. You will need to record the dangers and people you have identified as especially at risk in step 1 and step 2. You should also record what you did about it in step 3. A simple plan can help you achieve this.
  5. Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly. You should make sure your fire-risk assessment is up to date. You will need to re-examine your fire-risk     assessment if you suspect it is no longer valid.                                                                                                                            

What do our fire risk assessments cover?

The content of our fire risk assessment will be influenced by several factors, depending upon the nature and use of the building, where it is located if it is a shared premises and if is a building undergoing alterations or extensions.

Areas that need to be considered in almost all fire risk assessments are:

  • emergency routes and exits.
  • fire detection and warning systems.
  • fire-fighting equipment.
  • the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances.
  • an emergency fire evacuation plan.
  • the needs of vulnerable people, for example the elderly, young children and those people with disabilities.
  • providing information to employees and other people on the premises
  • current staff fire safety training.

We will; Identify the fire hazards and identify people at risk. Evaluate, remove, or reduce the risks with our recommendations. Record the findings in our detailed report. This will allow you to prepare an emergency plan and provide training if required. Responsible persons require training. Check our online training for basic fire awareness or fire warden training

Who can complete a fire risk assessment?

You can do the Fire Fisk Assessment yourself with the help of standard fire safety risk assessment guides if you have the correct training and experience.

If you do not have the expertise or time to do the fire risk assessment yourself you need to appoint a ‘competent person’ to help, or to appoint a professional risk assessor.

Your local fire and rescue authority might be able to give you advice if you are not sure your risk assessment’s been carried out properly. However, they cannot carry out a risk assessment for you.

The risks for getting it wrong can be severe, so why not call in the experts?

How much does a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) cost?

The cost of a Fire Risk Assessment will depend on several factors, which will include do I get a fire risk assessor to do the job for me, to complete the survey and to update and maintain the records, or do I do the job myself, or nominate a competent person?

Factors that need to be considered is the size of the area to be assessed or any problems that someone who is not trained may miss, or not fully understand the significance.

The cost of an assessment often varies between £200 and £1,200. Premises such as a HMO or communal stairwell are relatively straightforward to assess and might cost an average of £200-300. More complex sites that have higher risks such as schools, that will take longer to check will be up to £1,200.

Summit Environmental undertake fire risk assessments in Flats and HMOs in Sussex and London.

HMOs are any property that is shared by three or more people who are not members of the same family. HMO landlords need to have a licence from the Local Council Housing Department. This will be valid for up to three years and will then need to be renewed an update FRA is required.

Section 1 of the Fire Safety Act clarifies that where a building contains 2 or more sets of domestic premises the responsible person must take account of structure, external walls and flat entrance doors in a fire risk assessment.

In a shared premises it is likely there will be more than one responsible person. You will need to co-ordinate your fire safety plans to make sure people on or around the premises are safe.                                                                                                                                      

For common or shared areas, the responsible person is the landlord, freeholder or managing agent.

Need a fire risk assessment in a Flat or HMOs?

Summit Environmental undertake fire risk assessments for holiday lets in Sussex and London.

If you own a rental property, you need to make sure it is as safe as possible for your tenants.

Properties registered as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) must have a fire risk assessment in place. This is because the fire risk in an HMO is higher, and the people living there are less likely to be acquainted, thus less likely to help each other in an emergency.

Rental properties that aren't classified as a 'single private dwelling' (i.e., a property rented by the same family or friend group) and have communal living spaces like a living room or kitchen also need a fire risk assessment.

Having completed a fire risk assessment, what do I need to do next?

Conducting routine checks on fire equipment

You need to start converting your Risk Assessment to an Emergency Evacuation Action Plan, which is always well supported by a plan of the premises which will show all relevant details of fire doors, escape routes, firefighting equipment, emergency lighting, staff training and fire assembly points.

You also need to be conducting routine checks on fire equipment on items such as

  • Fire alarms
  • Emergency lighting
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire doors
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Dry and wet risers
  • Means of Escape

How can I reduce the risk of fire in my building?

Minimising the risk of fire in a building should be a priority. It will not be possible to eliminate every risk, but effective control measures with appropriate health and safety courses in fire safety will greatly reduce the risks of a fire starting and minimise the severity of the fire.

Firstly, reducing fires in buildings starts with reducing potential sources of fire. Correct fire boarding around electrical equipment, undertaking EICR’s to ensure the equipment if satisfactory, should meet BS7671:2008 are just two simple ways to reduce fires starting.

The second option is to reduce the amount of flammable material or substances stored. If stored items are required, they should be constructed out of materials with 30 minutes fire resistance. Ensure paint or flammable liquid stores are not on emergency routes or near fire exits and stored safely and appropriately to comply with COSHH regulations.  

Need some further recommendations, we can help.

What if i don't have a fire risk assessment?

Penalties and enforcement are very common for not having an FRA in place. You could be fined or go to prison if you do not follow fire safety regulations.

Local fire and rescue authorities do and will inspect premises and can issue fire safety notices telling you about changes you need to make.

How can Summit Environmental help you?

We keep you safe, compliant, and up to date with current legislation. We can keep you safe with our assessments, consultancy, emergency fire action plans.  Need more information, we can help, we provide solutions that solve our clients’ problems.


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