Your legal obligations for Fire Safety

11 July 2017

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In this short article I intend to consider the fire risk issues from a business perspective, helping you to understand what type of businesses might be affected, what the current and potential future regulations obligate a business to do, and how I can help implement a cost efficient fire assessment programme that doesn't compromise safety.

Whether it is from a business or personal perspective, the events of the Grenfell Tower have deeply affected us all. Many property owners and property managers are now in the process of making checks on building materials and reviewing the status and fitness-for-purpose of their last fire risk assessment.

In England and Wales, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (“RRFSO”) sets out the broad statutory provisions relating to fire safety, and places wide-ranging duties on the “responsible person” concerning fire safety and prevention.

As a residential landlord these “responsible person” duties apply to you, and include the requirement to carry out a risk assessment (Article 9 of the RRFSO). This must be carried out by someone who is competent to do it, i.e. who has sufficient training, experience, knowledge or other qualities to enable them to carry out and complete a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

In purpose built blocks of flats or converted properties the landlord is required to carry out a risk assessment only in relation to the common parts.

The law says that the risk assessment must be reviewed “regularly” particularly if there is a reason to suspect it is no longer valid or there has been a significant change to the premises that has affected the fire precautions. What constitutes “regularly” is a matter for the responsible person to decide but 12-months is a typically accepted frequency for most premises.

Bear in mind that the legal requirement to carry out a fire risk assessment is not just limited to blocks of flats, but all commercial premises such as workshops, factories, offices, shops and warehouses as well. And in these cases the requirement is not just imposed on the landlord, but the employer within or anyone who has control of the premises.

Sutton Winson can provide professional fire risk assessments for residential blocks as well as commercial properties. Prices start from around £350 + VAT (including a supplementary Health & Safety report) and are determined by the size, construction and occupancy of the building concerned.

If you have any questions get in touch with me by emailing martin.coppard@swib.co.uk 

Categories: Risk Management

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Martin Coppard

Martin Coppard

I am a Director of Sutton Winson Consultancy Services Ltd, which delivers a range of risk management solutions. I joined Sutton Winson in January 2000 and have derived a great deal of satisfaction from helping our clients achieve significantly preferable insurance terms, and other financial benefits, by embracing proactive risk management. 

I am a Graduate Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), a member of the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), a Chartered Insurance Risk Manager and hold the ACII (Advanced Diploma of the Chartered Insurance Institute). 

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