Our Guide to Fire Risk Assessments (FRA)

A Fire Risk Assessment is a review undertaken of a building to assess its fire risk and offer recommendations to make the building safer, if necessary. They help to review and identify potential fire hazards, as well as assessing existing fire preventive measures as well as looking at further improvements. Fire Risk Assessments are a requirement under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for commercial premises and other buildings.

Who is responsible for the Fire Risk Assessment in my block of flats? 

By law, every block of flats and business is required to have an individual who is designated as the “Responsible Person” who is responsible for the building’s fire safety.

The job of the designated Responsible Person is to ensure that all relevant fire safety tasks are conducted and that any necessary action is taken in order to prevent fires from occurring and to prevent death or injury if a fire takes place.

The responsible person is, therefore, the one who needs to ensure that a valid fire risk assessment is made on your building.

For tower blocks and blocks of flats, the Responsible Person is usually the managing agent or landlord, although it can be a Residents’ Association member as well.

The Responsible Person in blocks of flats is only responsible for common areas, like stairwells and corridors. Leaseholders are responsible for ensuring that their own flats are safe from fire.

What does the Fire Risk Assessment include?

Your fire risk assessment should cover:

  • A description and evaluation of the premises and occupants (where applicable).
  • An evaluation of the potential fire hazards.
  • An evaluation of current fire protection and evacuation measures including…
  • Emergency escape routes and exits.
  • Fire detection and warning systems.
  • Firefighting equipment condition.
  • Emergency fire evacuation plan review.
  • Vulnerable peoples’ needs (the elderly, young children, or those with disabilities).
  • Information for employees and other people on the premises.
  • Fire safety training for staff.
  • Evaluation of procedures in place for management and maintenance of the fire safety provisions.
  • Provide an action plan with recommended timescales to rectify any deficiencies.

How regularly should a Fire Risk Assessment be done?

A Fire Risk Assessment must be produced and then reviewed on a regular basis. We recommend the following timescales:

  • Review every 12 months after the original assessment is done
  • Every 5 years a new assessment should be conducted
  • If the building’s purpose has substantially changed
  • If the building structure, such as the layout, has changed
  • If there has been a considerable change to the occupancy levels

Who can conduct a Fire Risk Assessment?

According to legal guidelines, a fire risk assessment may be conducted by a “competent” individual. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a qualified Fire Risk Assessor must be used.

However, what it does mean is that whoever does conduct your fire risk assessment must be comfortable with assessing your building or premises against all of the different factors that are listed above.

They also need to be able to do the following:

  • Record all of their significant findings in detail and clearly
  • Get a fire safety action plan developed if any changes are necessary and record those actions in writing
  • Get the action plan implemented if one is necessary
  • Update the fire risk assessment continuously

A professional fire risk assessor undergoes lots of detailed training and is fully versed in the most recent guidelines and legal requirements, including how they should be applied to different kinds of buildings.

How can I obtain a copy of the Fire Risk Assessment for my building?

As a building occupant, you have the right to access to the Fire Risk Assessment for the premises if you want it.

You should first contact your building’s Responsible Person. If you are unsure who that is, then a good place to start would be the managing agent or landlord.

If you discover that there is no valid fire risk assessment for your building, then you should ask the Responsible Person to have one conducted right away.

If you feel your concerns are not being treated seriously by the Responsible Person for your building, then you should contact the local fire and rescue service as your last resort.

What is the penalty for failing to have a fire risk assessment?

If the responsible person has not instructed a fire risk assessment and importantly do not have the proper fire safety precautions in place, the penalty is prosecution that results in severe fines. The penalty can be a prison sentence in extreme negligence cases.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to our block management experts at Horizon


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