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Choosing a competent fire risk assessor

Introduction

The law on fire safety relates to all premises that are not a single domestic property.

It includes:

  • commercial premises and workplaces
  • voluntary organisations
  • workplaces of the self employed
  • anywhere that the public have access to
  • the common (shared) parts of residential buildings, such as flats or houses where lots of different people live

Are you an employer?

Then you have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

Do you live in or control/help to control premises that are not domestic? (This also applies to empty premises if you own them)

Then it is likely you will also have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment

Are you an owner?

If your business does not have an employer, or an occupier, you may be the responsible person and have the legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

What is your legal duty?

Your legal duty is to carry out a fire risk assessment to ensure the premises comply with the relevant law.

What is the law relating to this duty?

For England and Wales – it is The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (known as the Fire Safety Order)

What does a fire risk assessment do?

It identifies possible fire hazards and people who may be at risk. It evaluates the risks and what can be done to remove or reduce them. It records what was found and done.

Is it a one-off assessment?

No, it must be up to date and reviewed regularly, taking into account any changes to your premises.

Can I do it myself?

It is possible to do the fire risk assessment yourself, particularly if your premises are small or low risk. You will find information about this on the fire risk assessments section, together with a link to the relevant government guidelines.

However, if on reading the government guidelines, you have any doubts or reservations about the time, resources, level of understanding, knowledge or any other aspect of carrying out the assessment yourself, you can employ a specialist to do it for you.

What if I’m not sure about doing it myself – can I employ someone else to do it?

Yes you can.

How do I go about finding and appointing someone?

Because the legal duty always remains with you, it is important that you check that the person you are employing to do the assessment is competent and can do the job correctly.

Approach appointing an assessor in the same way that you would approach appointing any supplier for your business.

  • check that the person or company is registered with, or certified by, a professional body or organisation
  • contact the professional body or organisation that they are registered with or certified by, and discuss your needs with them, in order to establish that the assessor you choose is appropriate, sufficiently qualified and competent to carry out an assessment for your type of business
  • check that an assessor has carried out fire risk assessments for businesses and premises like yours before
  • ask for names of previous clients with business/premises similar to yours from whom you can request references
  • ask all and any other questions to satisfy yourself that they are experienced in, and understand your type of business or premises, including if they keep up to date with current practice (for example by attending continuing professional development courses)
  • agree work in writing, provide access, obtain quotes, keep records and check the assessor has the appropriate insurance

How do I find out more and is there a list of certification and registration schemes?

You can find more detailed information about choosing a competent fire risk assessor in the Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council’s Guide to Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor. On page 5 of this guide you will also find a list of registration and certification schemes. This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

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