Fire Risk Assessor Competence


It should clearly be noted that although there is no legislative requirement for a fire risk assessment to be carried out by a competent person, one of the most usual reasons for the 'Responsible Person' (RP) to be taken to court is because their fire risk assessment was not 'suitable and sufficient' as required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.


Before commissioning or conducting a fire risk assessment, take time to check that the criteria can be met by the person who will be undertaking the fire risk assessment.


Fire safety legislation requires for most premises except private dwellings, that a fire risk assessment must be carried out to determine the risks to people from fire. The legislation also requires that suitable measures are taken to ensure the safety of premises from fire. The appropriate fire precautions will be clearly defined and determined by the contents of the fire risk assessment.


There is no legislative requirement for the fire risk assessment to be carried out by a competent person. This is to avoid an implication that every Responsible Person (RP) under the legislation needs to employ the services of a fire safety specialist, such as a fire safety consultant or a fire risk assessor to carry out their fire risk assessment.


For small simple premises, it is more often that the RP carries out the fire risk assessment in-house. Perhaps in these premises, the RP is the best person to do so because of their intimate knowledge of the premises and the activities therein. Guidance to support those wishing to carry out the fire risk assessment themselves has been made available by the various Government issued fire risk assessment guidance publications.


However, for many premises, the RP will need to seek the professional services of an external fire safety consultant (e.g. 'a fire risk assessor'). In the case of larger, more complex, or high-risk premises, this is often appropriate, as the task might well be beyond the ability of the RP.


Fire risk assessors work to strict guidelines set out by the Government and other fire safety experts and organisations, and must ensure that premises and services are compliant with all regulations such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.


Those carrying out a fire risk assessment must be satisfied that they are able to:

  1. Identify the existing fire hazards (e.g. potential causes of fire).
  2. Identify all people at risk.
  3. Evaluate the existing fire safety measures provided and/or required to protect people (e.g. escape routes and fire alarm systems).
  4. Review and record the existing arrangements for the management of fire safety (e.g. fire procedures, staff training, fire drills, and the maintenance of any fire precautions, etc.).
  5. Formulate an action plan or a list of recommendations.
  6. Record their findings and, if necessary, implement an action plan or a list of recommendations.
  7. Keep the fire risk assessment up to date.



A Fire Risk Assessment is merely where fire safety management begins!



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