As the looming Building Safety Bill makes its way through parliament, everyone working in the building safety industry is getting busier and busier.
In preparation for when the Bill receives royal assent and becomes an act, many ‘accountable persons’ are needing to appoint Building Safety Managers to help manage fire and structural risks on a day-to-day basis. However, this is just the beginning as the Bill requires the development of a ‘Safety Case Report,’ along with multiple other documents, for ‘high risk’ buildings to help build the ‘golden thread’ of information. The safety case report must then be passed onto the appointed regulator (The HSE) for approval.
What information will be required in a Building Safety Case report?
As most will already be aware, a safety case report is a portfolio of information put together by the ‘Accountable Person’ and will detail the steps taken to “identify, assess, remove, reduce and manage” building safety risks. To do this and to demonstrate that “reasonable and proportionate” steps have been taken with the risks, it must include:
Description of the building: The buildings’ occupants, fire and structural safety measures, systems, and details of the materials such as age and condition.
Risk assessments: Not only the risks presented to occupants of the building but those who use the building or are positioned nearby and must include likely consequences of the risk.
Measures to control the risks: The ‘accountable person’ must take ‘reasonable action’ to reduce the risks highlighted in the assessment.
Recordings and Implementation methods: Once the above steps have been undertaken, the accountable person’s findings must be recorded in the safety case report and present ways to manage the risks and mitigation actions.
Monitoring methods: The report must include strategies of how the Safety Case will be evaluated and monitored on an ongoing basis.
But finding and collating this information for the safety case report is problematic, and it is challenging to know where or how to start building it as the format and content required have not been set yet by the Government. There aren’t any set timescales of when these will be introduced, but having researched the topic and worked on Safety Case reports with several clients already, we have a good idea of what will be required in the report.
What does building a safety case report involve?
Creating a safety case report is time-consuming and complex, and the released information so far is unclear. Still, we do know that safety case reports will be required by law as part of the golden thread under the Building Safety Bill. Despite ambiguity around the form and content needed, we provide several services that we know will go a long way in helping to get started on gathering the information required for the Safety Case Report and will mean that once the relevant information is released, you will be a step ahead. The services are:
A Measured Building Survey: Detailed report which has everything related to the fire safety of a building and includes:
Mapping of existing building walls
Mapping of compartmentation lines onto plans
Mapping of fire alarm zones onto plans
A Fire Strategy Plan/ Annotated floor plan:This can only be put together once the building plans are in place. These may be already in place, but if they aren’t, see the section about Measured Building Surveys for more information on gathering the required information. The Fire Strategy Plan maps the defects onto the floor plans to allow quick identification, planning and delivery of any remedial works. These strategies then need to be shared with the fire brigade to be stored against the building, and the Fire Brigade is aware of the plans for mass evacuation and setting the zones for the fire alarm systems.
A Retrospective Fire Strategy Document: This document reviews all aspects of the building’s fire safety features, including construction, compartmentation strategy, means of escape and other fire safety measures. The strategy document also ensures management arrangements are in place to ensure it is fit for the end-user of the premises. Once a Fire Strategy document is complete, it will protect the business procedures and assets by analysing the potential ways a fire can spread, and a plan is implemented to minimise the destruction caused by fire.
Type 4 FRA’s: Type 4 FRA’s involve a high degree of destructive exposure to determine the competency of the building’s compartmentation. The assessment checks the integrity of the separating construction to evaluate the risk of fire spreading. This level of assessment will give a detailed and accurate representation of how secure a building is from the threat of fire, not only on a structural level but also taking into account the fire precautions such as means of escape and fire detection.
External Wall Assessment:This is an invasive survey of the external wall structure of each external section on a building to determine the build-up of the external wall system and the compliance of the materials as the installation. A further Calorific material test may be required if the materials cannot be identified, manufacturer and O+M information are not available, or combustible material types are found within the system on invasive inspection.
Because of the consultative approach that Firntec takes when working with clients, we have been able to assist in creating Safety Case reports by providing the services to gather the necessary information a report requires. We have noticed an increasing demand for the above services as ‘accountable persons’ across the country are preparing for the Building Safety Bill to work its way through parliament and receive royal assent.
Professional, accredited and highly skilled in delivering building compliance and surveying consultancy
Firntec is a leading provider in building compliance and surveying consultancy. We work with landlords, organisations and UK businesses to ensure their buildings are compliant for use by all. We carry out top-quality fire risk assessments and building surveys across a multitude of sectors.