How do I comply with fire safety law?
Who needs a Fire Alarm?
The law is quite clear on this, as a person who is responsible for your premises you must take precautions based upon the findings of a Fire Risk Assessment, which is referred to as a FRA, this will determine the requirements for fire safety precautions within the premises.
To provide some background to this the Law itself is called ‘Regulatory Reform Order (RRO) Fire Safety Act 2005′ this actually came in to force in 2006 and had wide ranging changes to the way that Fire Risks are now the responsibility of the person in charge of the building, commonly referred to as the ‘Responsible Person’. The facts about the RRO Fire Safety Act 2005 can be downloaded free from the UK government website and if you have a few spare days can be read at leisure, however for those who don’t want to spend their evenings and weekends learning about fire safety then you have choices.
Choices for FRA’s
DIY – You download a UK Government guide, educate yourself and carry out the FRA yourself, documenting your reasons, findings and actions.
EMPLOY – You employ the services of a Fire Risk Assessor to carry this out for you.
The pros and cons of the above may not be so obvious to you, therefore I have laid these out below in order to help you make your decision. However the key thing to remember is that which ever route you choose, the liability for your decision or choice will still remain yours, to be specific about this if you choose a Fire Risk Assessor to carry out the work you are still the responsible person and can not pass this responsibility on to the Fire Risk Assessor.
DIY (Do it yourself)
The pro is that you know your building better than most and you can save yourself the fee that is involved with employing someone to carry out the work for you, you could delegate this task to someone in your organisation provided that you are assured that they are competent to carry out this duty.
The con is that You accept the liability for your FRA report (or the report from the person to whom you delegated the task to) and findings and actions and do not benefit from the experience that you will often find with a Fire Risk Assessor therefore your assessment could take more time and be less accurate.
[tip] The practical consideration here is the time and cost comparison, i.e. what is your hourly rate compared with the hourly rate of an outside contractor.
The Pro is that you agree a fee and get arrange for the contractor to carry out the FRA for you.
The Con is that even though you have employed an outside contractor you will still need to educate yourself on the terminology and enough to understand what the contractor is doing. Remember this FRA is still the responsibility of the person in charge of the building.
The wikipedia definition of competency is ‘is the ability of an individual to do a job properly’. BS5839 Part 1 2013 in section 3.12 says that a competent person is someone with ‘the relevant skills and experience’.
As far as the person in charge of the building is concerned you need to take all reasonable steps to confirm that the person or organisation that you choose is competent, there are a number of ways that you could do this including confirming third party approvals, relevant background, experience and one of the best ways is through qualified recommendations.
If you are asking yourself any of these questions then its time to talk to us about this and any other queries that you have relating to fire and security maintenance in Essex, London or the surrounding counties.
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