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Fire Safety Risk Assessments with DDS International

We have many years of experience in completing fire safety risk assessments for clients in the UK, and in Europe. At DDS International, we recognise the importance that having a “suitable and sufficient” fire safety risk assessment in place.

Our consultants are qualified, experienced and insured, and all fire safety risk assessments carried out in the UK are also issued with an NSI BAFE SP205 – Part 1 Certificate of Conformity The Certificate of Conformity when issued is a clear statement that the approved company conducts the fire risk assessment for life safety, it is suitable and sufficient and compliant with the BAFE SP205-1 Scheme document and is certified by a registered competent fire risk assessor.

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DDS International have completed numerous fire safety risk assessments, from small individual commercial properties, to large scale government/local authority and private sector projects, comprising hundreds of locations inspected over several months.

Over the years we have seen many examples of clients and competitors considering the fire safety risk assessment to be an exercise completed in isolation and then forgotten about. Fire safety risk assessment inspections are just the start of the process, and should be considered as working documents which need to be reviewed regularly. In most cases, there will have a number of remedial actions that need to take place subsequently, in order to correct issues that were identified in the initial inspection. Failing to consider what how those remedial actions are going to be managed, especially when the client is responsible for a large number of premises, can result in them being buried in paperwork which identifies serious deficiencies that never get resolved as those piles of paper sit on a shelf gathering dust.

At DDS International, we recognise the importance of being able to manage fire safety risk assessments effectively, prioritising issues, and recording remedial actions, so that there is always a simple method of understanding how compliant all parts of the organisation are to fire safety legislation. Our award winning Pyramid™ system helps our clients keep track of all of their fire safety risk assessments, and manage any issues identified on the initial inspections.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order

When the Fire Safety Order was introduced in 2006, it placed a legal requirement for all businesses to have a Fire Safety Risk Assessment, and for this to be “Suitable and Sufficient” and also carried out by “Competent Persons”. In simple terms, that’s the Law and that it what you need to do to fulfil your statutory requirement

Unfortunately, we have seen widespread and many different interpretations on what these two phrases mean by the Enforcing Authorities, and even by different inspecting officers within the same authority

At DDS we have always prided ourselves on leading the way as far as fire risk assessments, quality and competence, are concerned and as a result have NEVER had to deal with any enforcement proceedings for any of our clients, which underlines the quality of what we do

As the Fire Industry moves forward, the relevant professional organisations and public bodies have sought to set a national standard or guidelines.

As part of this process the National Security and Safety Inspectorate (NSI) in partnership with the British Association of Fire Engineers (BAFE) introduced a National Scheme for accrediting companies and individuals providing Fire Safety Risk Assessment services, to demonstrate that those approved and accredited meet the national guidelines.

What are the regulations?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order legislation came into force on 1st October 2006.

Every organisation is required to appoint a responsible person, to coordinate fire safety arrangements including staff training and the completion of a fire safety risk assessment.
If you employ 5 or more people you are required by law to have an up to date fire safety risk assessment which is documented and completed by a competent person.

Fire precautions legislation changed on 1st October 2006 with the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO).

The RRFSO is intended to simplify fire safety requirements by replacing 118 pieces of legislation, including the repeal of the Fire Precautions Act 1971, and the revocation of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.

The RRFSO is part of the Government’s commitment to reduce the incidence of death and injury caused by fire.

The RRFSO firmly places a responsibility on the responsible person and outlines all the measures that must be taken to ensure that safety of all the people he/she is either directly or indirectly responsible for. It requires the responsible person to ensure the completion of a fire risk assessment and to take suitable steps to remove or reduce fire hazards.

What’s changed?

The RRFSO requires the responsible person to carry out a fire risk assessment of their premises and to take suitable steps to remove or reduce hazards as far as possible. It also requires the responsible person to ensure they have appointed competent persons who have specified duties for fire safety within the workplace.

Fire risk assessments have been required for some time under the Fire Precautions (Workplace) regulations 1997 (as amended) and many premises were required to obtain a fire certificate from the fire service under the Fire Precautions Act 1971.

The RRFSO removes the requirement for a fire certificate, and fire services will check fire risk assessments now that the RRFSO has come into force.

The RRFSO applies to a wide range of premises, with a “workplace” defined as all areas of the premises including access roads (other than public roads). It does not apply to single occupancy dwellings, but does apply to shared areas of communal buildings, such as staircases and landings of a block of flats and offices.

The responsible person may be the owner, occupier or employer. This is the person who owns the premises or business or the person with control over the premises, business or activity. Where two or more responsible persons share responsibility, (e.g. tenant / landlord, multiple tenancy building or adjacent premises) the responsible persons must cooperate, share information and collaborate to provide measures.

Under the RRFSO, the Fire & Rescue Services now have inspection and enforcement responsibility. Therefore, the Fire Service will be working towards raising organisations’ awareness of the RRFSO, but are also responsible for enforcement where non-compliance is identified, and have powers to issue:

  • Alterations notices, where an organisation has made or proposes to make changes that constitute a risk to fire safety
  • Enforcement notices, where the responsible person fails to comply
  • Prohibition notices, where a serious fire risk is identified and can prohibit or restrict the use of premises

Implications for your organisation

  • Organisations no longer require a fire certificate
  • Organisations are responsible for their own fire safety
  • Organisations must appoint a responsible person
  • Organisations must conduct a fire risk assessment regardless of the size of the risk
  • Extended scope of consideration now includes property safety, fire fighter safety and the environment around the site as well as just protecting life
  • The Fire Safety Order places emphasis on business continuity and containing and preventing the spread of small fires
  • Protection is extended to all occupants and not just employees. Visitors, contractors or passers-by also have to be considered in the risk assessment
  • Organisations will be subject to enforcement from their Fire & Rescue service

What help is available?

To carry out a fire risk assessment the responsible person must possess an understanding, not just of the fire risk assessment process, but how fires start and spread, products of combustion, and a good understanding of the workplace and its procedures is essential.

Assessing fire risks can require technical fire safety knowledge that the responsible person may not have and therefore it may be necessary to seek help from a Kent and London based fire safety consultant. The consultant will need to work with the responsible person in order to understand the nature of the workplace and its procedures, as even though the law standardises things, in reality no two organisations operate in exactly the same way.

The local Fire and Rescue services are responsible for enforcing the RRFSO, but are also on hand to provide help, support and advice where required.

DDS (International) Limited’s Kent and London based fire safety consultants exist to provide all of the support that organisations require implementing changes in legislation such as the RRFSO. We recognise that no two organisations are the same, so listen carefully to each customer’s requirements in order to tailor an effective solution, whether it is addressing training shortfalls, or completion of a fire risk assessment.

PYRAMID™ Risk Management

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Imagine having one simple solution for all of your fire and health and safety requirements, the knowledge that all of your team are trained, and that you have the expert back up when you need it most.

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Testimonials

Epping Forest District Council

I think overall Paul and the team have completed this project very professionally and Epping Forest District Council are very pleased with the service provided.

Epping Forest District Council Housing Assets Manager 29th April 2016

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