Fire risk assessments even more important as property owners face unlimited fines for non-compliance

News | April 2021

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With building owners facing unlimited fines for fire safety breaches under the Building Safety Bill currently going through parliament, the need to ensure fire risk assessments are kept up to date is becoming even more important, says CDS.

Stronger enforcement action for those responsible for fire safety in commercial and multi-occupancy residential buildings was one of the measures announced by the government in its response to the Fire Safety Consultation, which will come into force as part of the Building Safety Bill.

The current Fire Safety Order will be amended and will include a requirement for fire risk assessments to be recorded for each building and improve how fire safety information is handed over throughout its lifetime.

The new measures will also make it easier to identify who is responsible for fire safety, with anyone impersonating or obstructing a fire inspector facing unlimited fines.

When the Bill comes into force, maybe later this year, the ‘responsible persons’ will need to ensure that their fire risk assessments include the fire safety risks and, where appropriate, any general fire precautions.

CDS managing director Simon Abley said: “Carrying out a fire risk assessment is already a complex process, and these regulatory changes will make it more so. While there is currently no legal requirement for them to be carried out by an expert, the likelihood of missing something crucial, and now the added threat of fines, suggests it would make sense to instruct an independent, appropriately qualified specialist.

Fire risk assessments are a legal requirement for all non-domestic premises, as well as for the communal areas of residential buildings such as blocks of flats and sheltered housing complexes.

CDS has more than 30 years’ experience of providing such assessments to an extensive client base including universities, schools, hospitals, care homes, councils, police authorities, social housing providers, hotel chains, warehouses, distribution centres, factories and airports.