Fire safety inspections are a fundamental part of ongoing building regulations. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 dictates that a fire risk assessment is carried out at least once a year on all non-domestic properties (although it also pertains to the common areas of shared residential properties, such as walkways and stairways). Although they can happen at any time, and often without any notice, they all follow the same format. Here are the usual phases of a fire safety inspection, so you know what to expect when the time comes.
Step 1 – Identify all fire hazards
Most fire safety inspectors are former firefighters that have specialist knowledge of the different risks found within a building. After the inspector has arrived and introduced themselves, they’ll go about the identification of any fire risks. Whilst this is an extensive exercise comprising various elements, they will mainly be looking for sources of ignition, fuel, and oxygen.
Step 2 – Identify people at risk
The initial phases also include identifying those who would be most at risk in the event of a fire. This includes people in and around the property, as well as anyone who would be particularly vulnerable, such as the elderly or those with mobility problems. By better understanding a building’s specific risks, the fire safety officer will know where to concentrate their attention.
Step 3 – Evaluate risks and assess current measures
Once the hazards and risks have been established, the next step of the inspection is to evaluate the effectiveness of current measures. This includes assessing fire detection and warnings systems,as well as the suitability of fire escape routes and signage. Ultimately, the inspector will be looking for what precautionary measures you have in place, and how often you’ve monitored them.
Step 4 – Record, plan, instruct, and train
Having visited your property and made a thorough assessment of fire risks and the resultant safety measures, the inspector will go away to write up a report. This will record the findings of the investigation, as well as recommendations on how to improve. This may include implementing fire safety training courses and improvements to passive fireproofing measures. Where serious faults in fire safety measures have been uncovered, inspectors can issue unlimited fines and even start criminal proceedings against the owners of the non-compliant building, with a maximum prison sentence of 2 years. Before it reaches this point, though, all efforts are expected to be made in order to bring a non-compliant building in full adherence to current regulations.
Step 5 – Review
Regardless of how the inspection went, all assessments are regularly reviewed by the local fire and rescue authority. Generally speaking, this is either on a quarterly or a yearly basis, but is also dependent on the outcome of the initial investigation.
CLM Fireproofing are the UK’s leading provider of passive fire protection services. Our operatives are FIRAS-certified and work with the strictest compliance to industry standards. To learn more about our passive fireproofing services, contact us today.