The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) states that almost all types of premises – unless a single domestic dwelling – must be subject to a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. It is the duty of the ‘Responsible Person’ to take general fire precautions as far as reasonably practicable under the RRO Part 2 to ensure the premises is safe for all relevant persons and to reduce the risk of harm and prevent fire.
The ‘Relevant Persons’ are defined in the RRO Part 1 Article 2 as:
To summarise, a ‘Responsible Person’ could be the employer, owner, landlord or appointed managing agent of the premises. In some buildings there may be more than one Responsible Person.
How often should a fire risk assessment be undertaken/reviewed?The fire safety order 2005 states that if necessary, the ‘Responsible Person’ should seek safety assistance to assist when carrying out a risk assessment by appointing a competent person. The RRO Part 2 Article 18 defines a competent person providing safety assistance as an individual who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventative and protective measures.
In terms of undertaking/reviewing fire risk assessments there is often no prescriptive time frame, but the ‘Responsible Person’ should regularly review the document to ensure it remains up to date and relevant to the premises. If the fire risk assessment is no longer valid due to a significant change to the premises such as structural alterations, change of building use, increase in occupancy or use by a different group of people etc. then the risk of fire has changed and a review of the existing fire risk assessment is required with the changes made as appropriate.
It should be noted that a prescribed record of the fire risk assessment should be documented if:
The 4 types of fire risk assessmentThe RRO does not expand on how intrusive a fire safety risk assessment should be. When it comes to creating a fire risk assessment for residential properties only, there are 4 different ‘types’ defined as endorsed by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) ‘Fire Safety in Purpose Built Blocks of Flats’, issued by the Local Government Association in 2012.
It is important to stress, the above types ONLY apply to domestic dwellings and not commercial properties. If the existing compartmentation is insufficient and as a result people are at risk, the emergency plan for the premises should be reviewed by a competent person.
Director of BBFS.