Can you do your own fire risk assessment?

Posted on 5 January 2022

A commonly asked question by landlords, building owners and those responsible for managing fire safety is – can I do my own fire risk assessment?

In this article, we’re going to explain why it is possible – but may not necessarily be the correct decision to make.

The short answer is ‘Yes – you can perform your own fire risk assessment’, there is nothing stopping you from Googling an online template for a fire risk assessment and filling out the fields to describe your building, what you do, and any risks you can identify from the limited knowledge you have. You could even do your own research, perhaps even attend a fire safety course. This may have been acceptable prior to 2005, as the fire service used to visit your building and carry out an audit to deliver you with a fire certificate. However, since then, the requirements and law for fire safety became much more strict and things changed significantly.

The law for fire safety – The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which was actually introduced in 2006 – was designed to reform fire safety in England & Wales, to bring in the requirement for a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment to be carried out for all non-domestic premises. The words ‘suitable and sufficient’ when used in law, were certainly brought under scrutiny, but the definition has since been made very clear:

A suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment can only be carried out by a competent person.

‘Competent’ can be defined as somebody with sufficient training, qualifications, experience and attitude. A competent person must have received specific training in relation to fire risk assessments, they must have some form of qualification to back that up, experience in assessing your type of building, and the correct attitude to ensure they’re able to communicate the findings effectively. All of the above can be achieved for your fire risk assessment by using external assessors.

The advantages to using external and accredited fire safety consultants are numerous:

  • Knowledge of the latest fire regulations and legislation
  • Access to a competent person
  • Saving time and money
  • Offset liability – reduce the risk of prosecution if something is missed by doing it yourself
  • Guaranteed provision of a suitable and sufficient assessment
  • Responsibility for the provision of a compliant assessment lies with the external consultancy

Given the recent events of Grenfell Tower, and other related fire safety disasters, now is not the time to be taking shortcuts. The importance of getting fire safety right first time has only been emphasised and the consequences of getting it wrong have been discovered. It is for these reasons that you must employ a competent person to conduct your fire risk assessment, or at least allow them to advise you, as the consequences can be catastrophic. The latest fire legislation introduced means that unlimited fines can be handed out, and even prison sentences for fire risk assessors who deliver reports that are not suitable nor sufficient.

To see if we can help, fill in the online form or call us on 0330 133 2150 today.

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