How Often Should A Fire Risk Assessment Be Carried Out
A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement for most businesses and any multi-occupancy building. However, it is not only a matter of having a fire risk assessment in place but also ensuring that your risk assessment is regularly reviewed. Here at Elite Fire, we will always advise you on how often should a fire risk assessment be carried out, as this will vary depending on several factors. Fire is extremely dangerous, and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Don’t leave your fire risk assessment to change, make sure you seek professional fire safety advice.
The History of Fire Safety Legislation & Compliance
Since the Great Fire of London in 1666, governments have been working to improve fire safety standards. Fire safety law is often revised following serious fires with devastating results. Indeed, between 1960 and 1989 there were five severe incidents resulting in multiple deaths, with caused much of the legislation that we see today. The latest amendments to fire safety law were implemented in 2021 after the tragedy of Grenfell Tower. As new legislation is bought in, you must review your current risk assessment to ensure that it meets the latest regulations.
Understanding the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 states that if you own, manage or operate a business or building, you must ensure the safety of the people within the building. This law applies to nearly all businesses, and all domestic properties other than individual private houses. It includes blocks of flats, maisonettes, and HMOs. If you are unsure if the law applies to you, then it is your responsibility to check. You are responsible for ensuring that your building reaches the current fire safety standards and that all employees are given adequate fire safety training.
Importance of Regular Fire Risk Assessments
We are frequently asked how often should fire risk assessments be reviewed, and there is no definitive answer. However, all fire risk assessments should be regularly reviewed, as there are often changes that occur within a business or building that will impact the risks. It can be easy to overlook any knock-on risk that changes may cause, and these will be picked up during your fire risk assessment review.
Factors That Affect the Frequency of Fire Risk Assessment
Different factors will affect how often your fire risk assessment should be carried out. These will be unique to all premises, which is why there are no definite dates regarding review frequency. When you come to the professional team at Elite Fire, we will be able to assess how often your fire risk assessment will need to be reviewed based on the risk level of your building.
Type of building
The layout and construction of the building will have a big impact on the fire risk of your building. A single-storey building with multiple exit points to the outside may appear to be inherently safer than a tower block. However, a single-storey building built of flammable materials with no compartmentation, is dangerous, as fire travels incredibly fast – consider that the average home can be engulfed within just 5 minutes. A modern constructed block of flats will be built with compartmentation, which prevents the fire from travelling between floors or flats. This allows time to safely evacuate residents to other flats. It is important to look at both the layout and construction of the premises when evaluating risk.
It is not only the type of building but who is using this building that is crucial in how frequently your fire risk assessment needs to be carried out. If you are managing a care home, your occupants will generally have extremely poor mobility, so your risk is significantly higher. If you have disabled employees in your workforce, you need to ensure that your risk assessment takes this into account. Buildings that are used by members of the public have a risk, as these people will not know where to go during an emergency. Each of these factors will affect your fire risk assessment.
Level of risk
What you do in your building, also plays a large part in the risk factor. Buildings with workshops, with individuals using naked flames or flammable materials, are always going to have a high-risk level. When we assess the risk in a premise, we always spend time understanding what your building is used for, and what fire risk that usage carries.
Changes to the building or occupancy
Any structural alteration to your building will impact your fire risk assessment. However, it may be easy to overlook this when you are carrying out this work. Occupancy, or who is using your building, may change over time. Perhaps your workforce has grown, or you have taken on young apprentices. Whatever changes may have occurred, they will alter the risk, and this will be picked up when we carry out your fire risk review. Having a regular review will ensure that these seemingly small changes are captured and included in the fire risk assessment.
Legal Requirements for Fire Risk Assessment Frequency
There are no definitive legal requirements for the review of your fire risk assessment, instead, the onus falls upon the responsible individual to ensure that the fire risk assessment is kept up-to-date. It can be difficult to appreciate the changes that happen within your own business, and the implications that these may have on your fire safety. When you use a professional company to come in and review your fire risk assessment, they are seeing your business with fresh eyes and will spot any changes that have occurred since the last fire review. When we work with businesses, we advise on the best frequency for your fire risk assessment reviews based on the multitude of factors that affect the fire risk. A fire can have terrible consequences, so it is always worth veering on the side of caution and reviewing more regularly than risking lives. If you are unsure, though, please consult a fire safety professional for advice.
How Often Should Fire Risk Assessments be Reviewed?
Any business or premise that has high or increased fire hazards should carry out a fire risk assessment review every year. Low-risk buildings can leave longer between their reviews. You can use an in-house fire officer to review your fire risk assessment every year and use fire professionals every few years but consider your responsibilities. If you are the responsible individual and there was a fire, and it was deemed that your fire risk assessment was not up-to-date, you could be held legally responsible for any deaths, or injuries that occurred. The effects of fire can be truly life-altering, and it is not worth the risk to skimp on your fire safety. If you are ever in doubt, it is always better to consult a fire safety professional and save lives.
Need Fire Risk and Safety Assessment Services? We Can Help!
Here at Elite Fire, we have accredited assessors who are professionally trained to carry out and review your fire risk assessment. Don’t leave your fire safety to chance, when you can work with a professional fire safety company. If you want to learn more about fire risk assessments, please click here. Or contact our helpful team to book your fire safety review today at 0800 5677999