By Mike Williams, Asset Manager at PfH

What do building owners have to do to be compliant with the legislation and requirements around fire safety?

Well you must have a Fire & Safety policy which details what you are doing to minimise the occurrence and risk from fire, you can’t always completely avoid a fire but a lot can and should be done to minimise the risk.

Your Policy should be:

  • Written
  • Accessible (to all both internal and external stakeholders)
  • Maintained (and evidenced as such)
  • Communicated
  • Embedded in the culture of the organisation

Communication is key to any Fire & Safety Policy, it can’t be produced and simply filed on a hard drive or shelf. It should be communicated:

  • Internally within the organization
  • To tenants
  • Externally
  • Suppliers
  • Stakeholders

Fire Risk Assessments (FRA) must be produced and kept up to date.

The FRA’s should be reviewed, this will include:

  • At appropriate intervals (properties considered to be high risk more often)
  • In accordance with policy stated intervals
  • When new legislation is introduced
  • Every time alterations are carried out to a building – this ensures that compartmentation etc. is maintained
  • Any change of use – which could increase risk
  • Formal records should be kept of these reviews

All reviews should also be carried out by a competent person and a formal action plan should be produced following the review so that an audit trail exists. Regular on-site checks need to be made and formally documented (by a competent person) on fire exits, escape routes and fire safety systems.

Managers, staff and tenants should then be trained and advised on the content of the Fire Safety Policy.

Governance is also key to a successful Policy. The Executive Team/Board should:

  • Understand policy, procedures, processes and their role
  • Agree policy (including sign it off)
  • Receive robust reporting on an agreed regular basis
  • Allocate and agree a budget adequate to appropriately fund requirements

PfH can help you with many of the above, from Fire Risk Assessments which can be covered by either:

PfH’s Technical Support Services framework (Lots 1) which can be used to source and employ suitably qualified and experienced FRA surveyors. As a framework they can either be appointed direct and therefore start almost immediately or alternatively they can be appointed via a mini competition.

Or you can use PfH’s Compliance Services DPS (Fire & Associated Services) which allows for local or previously used professionals to apply for inclusion on the DPS and if successful compete leading to contract award.

PfH can also help you with a number of other maintenance and renewal works with its Compliance DPS for Fire & Associated Services, which covers:

  • Sprinkler Systems
  • Fire Doors
  • Emergency Lighting and Fire Equipment
  • Passive Works