All business premises and every block of flats must have a Fire Risk Assessment by law.

Not everyone understands this important fire safety measure.

We are often asked the question ‘what is a Fire Risk Assessment?’. The fact is, your Fire Risk Assessment should be the cornerstone of your fire safety plans for your specific building.

Unfortunately, assessments are often overlooked, which can lead to buildings being exposed unnecessarily to fire risk, sometimes with the potential for loss of life.

You can read more about Fire Risk Assessments below, or otherwise please get in touch with our expert team if you would like to discuss the specific requirements for your building.

What are the legal guidelines around assessments?

There are some specific guidelines concerning Fire Risk Assessments.

1. It must be reviewed regularly. We recommend to review as follows:

  • At 12 monthly intervals following the original assessmen
  • NB A brand new assessment should be carried out every 5 year
  • If the fabric of the building has changed e.g. the layout has altered
  • If the purpose of the building has altered substantially
  • If the nature of the occupants has changed considerably

Changes in the layout of the building, the use of it, or the type of occupant can make a big difference to your fire safety plans, so it’s important to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment review if any of these take place.

2. It must be written down if there are 5 or more regular occupants.

If your business premises or block of flat usually has more than 4 residents at any one time, then you must legally document your Fire Risk Assessment.

However, as already mentioned, we would always recommend having your assessment written down whatever the size of your premises.

There are a couple of other circumstances in which your Fire Risk Assessment must be written down even if you have fewer than 5 regular occupants. These are:

  • If the premises need a licence or
  • The fire brigade has instructed you to (following a visit, for example)

3. It must record the main findings and the actions to be taken

Whether written down or not, there are 2 parts to a Fire Risk Assessment that must be produced.

One is the review itself, which will assess the fire safety of the premises against a number of points.

The other is the list of recommendations which should be acted on for the building to be fire safety compliant.

It is so important to act on these recommendations because ultimately this is what will keep your building safe.

How can I get a copy of my building’s Fire Risk Assessment?

It is absolutely your right as an occupant of a building to have access to your premises’ Fire Risk Assessment if you choose.

Your first port of call should be the Responsible Person for your building. If you’re not sure who this is, then the business owner, the facilities department, the landlord or managing agent would be good places to start.

If you find that your building doesn’t have a valid Fire Risk Assessment, then you should request that your Responsible Person has one carried out as soon as possible.

If you feel that you are not having your concerns treated seriously by your building’s Responsible Person, then, as a last resort, you could get in touch with your local fire brigade.

However, please don’t contact the fire brigade with trivial concerns, they are busy people. And of course, do not use the 999 emergency number! You will be able to find your local fire brigade’s general enquiries number on the internet.

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