Which Fire Risk Assessment Do I Need?

As the law states, every block of flats and all business locations are required to conduct a fire risk assessment (FRA). Although the law is there, not everyone knows what one is or has a clear understanding of this essential fire safety measure.
 
People aren’t often sure what one is and you tend to hear them asking ‘What is a Fire Risk Assessment?’ You have come to the right place to find out the answer. A Fire Risk Assessment is and should be at the very centre of your building’s fire safety plans. FRA’s are quite often overlooked which can result in unnecessary things being exposed to fire risk, and potentially resulting in loss of lives in some scenarios.
 

What does a Fire Safety Risk Assessment consist of?

There are 5 key steps when carrying out a Fire Safety Risk Assessment:
  1. Fire Hazards – A fire starts when heat comes into contact with fuel and oxygen. Keeping sources of ignition and fuel apart will prevent a fire from starting.
  2. People at Risk – Everyone is at risk, think about the various work situations with staff, vulnerable people, children, elderly or disabled.
  3. Evaluate, and act – Look at what has been found in steps 1 and 2 and then outline the risks which affect people in the building and nearby. Think about how you can remove the risk and protect the premises.
  4. Record, plan and train – Recording the fire hazards and what you have put in place to remove them. Create a clear plan on how you can prevent a fire from outbreaking and keep people safe. Training your staff so they know what they need to do. Provide necessary training courses if needed.
  5. Review – Ensure your risk assessment is under regular review to maintain safety and so that you keep on top of any new fire hazards.
 
To ensure you have the right risk assessment carried out you can look at the government website to find the guide which applies to your business sector.
 

What Fire Risk Assessment do I get?

There are 4 various types of FRA’s, including non-destructive and destructive FRA’s, keep on reading to find out the difference between them and which one may be best suited to you and your business.
 
Type 1 Fire Risk Assessment: Common Parts Only (non-destructive)
A type 1 FRA is the most common and standard form of risk assessment that a building will need to meet and satisfy the Fire Safety Order. Although this is a non-destructive assessment, it will include a sample of doors that protect common areas such as flat entrance doors within social housing buildings. It will require the consideration of any construction made to separate the flats from the common parts, without the need for opening of any construction. With type 1 FRAs there is no need to take it further and enter flats beyond the entrance.
 
Type 2 Fire Risk Assessment: Common Parts Only (destructive)
A type 2 FRA examines the same areas as those in type 1, however, samples are chosen for a destructive inspection in this case. It may be a requirement to have an accredited contractor present to ensure the opening of the construction is repaired after assessment completion. As in type 1 you do not need to enter flats beyond the entrance, whereas in type 2, you will need to sample a few through destructive inspections. In this instance, it is highly recommended that the flats to be inspected are made vacant to carry out the assessments.
 
Type 2 assessments should only be carried out if there is any reason for doubt within the structure that could lead to the non-containment of a fire. This type of assessment is recommended off the back of type 1 being completed, however, it can be justified and not considered a necessity.
 
Type 3 Fire Risk Assessment: Common Parts and min of 10% Flats (non-destructive)
A type 3 FRA is somewhat similar to type 1 as it is also a non-destructive assessment. Although, it does go above the minimum requirements that are set out in the Fire Safety Order, by accessing areas of fire defence within the building. These contain smoke alarms, and escape routes to be inspected in some flats. The assessment carried out inside the flats is non-destructive, but essential that the fire-resistant doors which lead to rooms are considered in the assessment. Other areas such as heating and electrical installations maintenance may be looked at if they are within the control of the landlord or responsible person.
 
Type 3 assessments are mostly necessary in rented flats in the case of a fire there may be a serious risk to residents. The age of the flats or building can add to the risk as materials may have been used that are not authorised and are also widespread.
 
Type 4 Fire Risk Assessment: Common Parts and min of 10% Flats (destructive)
A type 4 FRA contains the same scope as type 3, other than it allows for some destructive inspections and testing to take place. These can be carried out in both sample areas of common parts and flats which will be selected. An accredited contractor will then be required to assess the openings and then repair them upon completion of inspection and testing. This type of FRA may be comprehensive but it is the right thing in situations which have limitations. Some circumstances when this may be required; when a new landlord acquires a block of flats, where the history of works carried out is unknown, and there may be the concern that residents could be at risk in their flats.
 
Prior to any type 4 FRA being carried out the asbestos register must be obtained and inspected to ensure the risk of asbestos or disturbance of the material has been ruled out.
 
At Firntec, we offer all 4 types of Fire Risk Assessments to ensure your safety and that of those within your buildings. If you would like to know more about what we have to offer, please get in touch with us today and we will put your mind at ease and make sure your building and residents are safe. We do also carry out Asbestos Management Surveys.
 

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