What Should a Fire Risk Assessment Include?



It is a legal requirement in the UK for all flat buildings and business premises to conduct fire risk assessments.

If you’re new to the idea, your first question may be “what is a fire risk assessment?”, and understandably so.

Luckily, we have years of experience handling this for clients across the UK and can explain everything you need to know:

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

A fire risk assessment is a comprehensive review of a building or working environment in order to assess the risk of fire. It will also include recommendations to improve the fire safety of the building if appropriate.

When buildings have more than 5 employees or occupants, the fire risk assessment will need to be recorded as documentation.

How Often Must Fire Risk Assessments Be Carried Out?

A building’s fire risk assessment must be reviewed regularly. Some good rules to stick to are to carry out a new risk assessment every time that:

  • 1 whole calendar year passes since the last assessment
  • The purpose or layout of a building changes
  • There is a significant change in the number of occupants (increase or decrease)
  • New equipment or machinery is installed, especially heavy machinery or equipment that uses any form of combustion or combustible material

All of these things can dramatically affect the safety standards in a building and make any previous assessment irrelevant and outdated.

While it is legally required that your assessment is recorded in writing if your organisation is above a specific size, we recommend doing this even if not legally required to do so as it can help to avoid issues in the future.

You will also be required to conduct a fire risk assessment if your company needs a licence to run and can be ordered to carry one out by the fire department if they believe there is a risk.

When carried out by a professional fire safety service provider such as phs, you will be provided with two main documents - the first is the fire risk assessment review which assesses the safety of the premises against several predetermined factors.

The second is the list of fire risk requirements that need to be acted on, improved or repaired in order for the building to be compliant with fire safety standards.

Even if you pass the fire risk assessment with flying colours and do not have any immediate requirements, there may also be some non-mandatory recommendations for generally improving safety.

Who is responsible for a fire safety risk assessment?

In the case of any building owned or operated by a company, the company director is always responsible. In a building shared by multiple businesses or used for non-commercial residences, a responsible person will need to be designated. However, this person is only responsible for communal areas such as hallways and staircases. Each individual resident or company will still be responsible for their own private areas of the building.

The company director or responsible person must ensure all relevant fire safety tasks are carried out, and ensure any corrective actions recommended by the assessment are carried out on a reasonable timescale.

If they fail to do so, they can be fined or arrested in more serious cases.

What is Reviewed as Part of a Fire Risk Assessment?

The amount of detail required in a fire risk assessment depends largely on the size and complexity of the building. However, it is crucial that the assessment is carried out comprehensively and that nothing is missed out.

While each assessment is unique and depends on the buildings own risks, you can generally expect the following to be reviewed:

  • Testing and maintenance procedures for fire alarms and other safety systems
  • How records and documents related to fire safety measures are stored
  • Who manages the building’s fire evacuation plan and how effective it is likely to be
  • How often fire safety training is carried out and by whom
  • How many fire extinguishers are in the building and whether or not they’re in the optimal locations
  • Measures for limiting fire spread (if relevant)
  • Procedures for disposing of potentially flammable or dangerous waste
  • Emergency lighting
  • Storage for dangerous liquids such as fuel
  • Maintenance and visibility of escape routes
  • General housekeeping such as obstacles and clutter that could become dangerous
  • Maintenance and condition of electrical equipment
  • The building’s history and whether fire has been an issue before
  • The general condition, construction, layout and use of the building
  • Other considerations such as defence against arson and smoking areas

Who Can Conduct a Fire Safety Assessment?

While a fire safety assessor doesn’t need to be an official position, they do need to be somebody who is comfortable having this responsibility on their shoulders and who is well aware of the potential dangers and how to mitigate them.

They will need to:

  • Record all findings in detail and as clearly as possible
  • Construct a fire safety plan and ensure it is followed
  • Update the fire risk assessment whenever necessary

Need Help With This?

phs Compliance is the UK’s leading provider of fire safety risk assessments and certification.

Our highly trained team members are available all over the country and are responsible for fire safety in many government buildings, schools, hospitals and office buildings in every town and city in the UK.

Our operatives can complete a comprehensive fire safety assessment of your building with minimal interruption to your daily routine, allowing you to remain safe and compliant while your employees are free to continue focusing on what they do best.

To learn more about our Fire Risk Assessments, to get a quote, or simply to ask a query, please feel free to contact us now!

Enquire About Fire Risk Assessments


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