Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants



Navigation

Client login
Forgotten password
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Subscribe to our blog

Freephone: 0800 410 1130
E-mail: fire@lwf.co.uk

Fire Safety - Prioritisation of Works

When any Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) / safety assessment is made, it is inevitable that some actions will be required, unless of course perfection has been achieved.  These actions can be extremely varied from a recommendation to place an adhesive sign on a fire door, to the installation of a new fire alarm system, for example.

Whilst a standard FRA will recommend works / actions to be undertaken, it is not necessarily the norm for the risk assessment process to prioritise those works, although it is noted that some ‘natural prioritisation’ will occur based on the residual risk level that is established.

Acting on the recommendations of a fire safety inspection is likely to be the key.  All too often, people believe that undertaking an FRA is enough; however, it is acting on the findings of the assessment that reduces the residual risk to a tolerable level.  Failing to act on these recommendations is effectively failing to meet the legislative requirements.

However, as with most actions / work items, external factors have a significant influence.  Arguably, one of the most common factors is cost, although there are a number of others; lead times for contractors, ordering materials, ability to undertake works without severely compromising the ‘day to day’ running of the organisation, to name a few.  With all these factors, it is evident that a clear, prioritised programme of works is developed and whilst it can take on board these factors, life safety will always take precedence.

The current economic climate has seen budget constraints placed on the majority of commercial and public sectors, therefore this ability to prioritise has become more important than ever.  It is clear that a defined budget may be allocated to such works, and for that budget to be spent without due consideration may lead to the fire safety objectives not being met and additional expenditure required.

With this borne in mind, which works should be prioritised?  This question is fundamental and can only be answered on a bespoke basis and each recommendation should be reviewed against its risk grading.  Should the FRA find that the lack of a fire alarm system, for example, leads to a significant life safety concern, focus must be placed on this finding.  However, it is likely that the decisions will not always be this obvious.  Similarly, it is not as simple as the most expensive works will reap the greatest benefits.

On this basis, all actions must be considered and set against life safety objectives. However, with the term ‘reasonable’ within legislation, it is clear that cost can be taken into account to ensure that the right fire precautions are installed (and maintained) commensurate to the risks.  If this were not the case, the latest guidance could have introduced facilities such as sprinklers within every building and a fire station on the corner of every street, however, this is not deemed necessary to mitigate the risk posed in most buildings.

A prioritisation programme will also look at the potential for interim measures.  Should a recommendation not be feasible immediately or have a time delay due to various constraints, a detailed programme could be formulated with other fire safety measures considered as an immediate (but temporary) risk reduction measure. 

In complex buildings such as hospitals for example, the formulation of such a programme can ensure life safety objectives are maintained whilst the building remains in operation.

Where FRA actions can not be implemented immediately, these may need to be discussed and agreed with the Enforcing Authorities.  Our experience indicates that if minimum safe conditions are maintained, improvement / remedial works can be programmed in with interim measures adopted where necessary.

If you would like to know more – or would like to arrange an appointment with one of our senior fire safety advisers – simply call Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663

Subscribe to our fire safety blogs

Bulletins
Email Format
* indicates required

FIRE SAFETY BLOGS

  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - External Access for the Fire Service - Part 42

    In LWF's Fire Engineering blogs for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been looking at the subject of firefighting. In part 41 of this series, we discussed where to fit landing valves in rising mains, taking into account travel distance for the firefighters to the place of fire origin. In part 42, we look at what external access to the premises for the Fire Service should be provided.In England and...

    Read more...

  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Prevention & Waste Management - Part 76

    In LWF's blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 75, LWF discussed good housekeeping measures which should be implemented in a healthcare venue to avoid instances of fire. In part 76, we begin to discuss waste management from a fire prevention point of view. The effective management of waste on an ongoing basis is one of the...

    Read more...

  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Community Fire Safety - Part 2

    In LWF's blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at community fire safety. In part 1, it was established that while there was scarce regulation on fire safety standards in residential buildings, such dictates would have little effect on owner/occupier domiciles. Fire safety education, however, has proved more successful and the informal beginnings of this lay with the...

    Read more...

  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Prevention - Part 75

    In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 74, LWF discussed good housekeeping measures which should be implemented in a healthcare venue to avoid instances of fire. In part 75, we will continue from that point. Rubbish can accumulate in certain spaces which are out of the way and ignored, such as lift wells, behind radiators,...

    Read more...

  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Community Fire Safety - Part 1

    In LWF’s blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, our aim is to give information on best practice and fire engineering. In part 1 of this series, we will take a look at Community Fire Safety, a term which, while it relates in the main to domestic fire safety, can also be applied to business environments. Community Fire Safety (CFS) could be...

    Read more...

Case Studies

Brentwood Town Hall Redevelopment
The redevelopment of Brentwood Town Hall included renovating the existing five storey property to provide police and council offices, a community hub and lettable office space across the basement, gro...

Read more..

General Bulletins

Fire - The External Risk
When we consider fire safety, our focus is normally from within, what can we do to prevent the occurrence of fire and how we can limit its damage.  Whilst this is the correct stance to take, we m...

Read more..

Technical Bulletins

Evacuation Modelling - Factor in Human Behaviour
Evacuation of buildings can be analyzed in different ways. Approved Document B (ADB) which provides guidance on meeting the requirements of the England and Wales Building Regulations with regard to fi...

Read more..

Site map | Web development Croydon