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 Management Audits

With much emphasis placed on physical fire safety precautions, it must be ensured that adequate management systems are also in place.  As with all safety systems and even day to day operating systems, failures in management will inevitably cause a breakdown of the system.  For fire safety to be effective all components must work in synergy.  Management has always been a component and recent legislative changes have acknowledged this.  For this reason, the effective management of fire safety must be assessed and where necessary, validated.  Deficiencies within the management system can often be easily rectified; this ensures the true value of the physical fire safety precautions.

Fire safety management will often increase in difficulty with the size / complexity of the building / organisation.  A smaller organisation may utilise a single point of contact for fire safety management, with larger organisations taking on a wide range of personnel over relevant fields, such as Health & Safety advisors, department managers etc.

Audits

A fire safety management audit is the same as any other audit, i.e. is the evaluation of a process / organisation.  Auditing is most commonly referred to in terms of financial accounting; however, this tool is also used across numerous management systems.  In terms of fire safety, the process can also perform a ‘gap analysis’ function, whereby the existing management system / structure is ‘measured’ against the benchmark standard, for example BS 9999.  The audit will generate areas for attention; from this an action plan can be generated.

Audit Findings

LWF have been responsible for undertaking a number of fire safety audits, with the following common deficiencies identified:

• Inadequate accountability – whereby organisations had failed to appropriately determine those persons responsible for fire safety.
• Inadequate communication – organisations had not ensured that all relevant persons were appropriately engaged, this commonly has two outcomes, a duplication of requirements / a lack of understanding of responsibilities, leading to fire safety requirements being overlooked.
• Inefficiency – this often occurs within large organisations, where different sections of an organisation operate their own policy.

The three common examples above highlight some important issues.  These examples found that organisations were in some instances failing to meet their legislative duties, while all fire doors may be in good order and fire extinguishers tested, the regulations clearly state that management systems also form part of the overall package.  On a number of scenarios, the fire precautions that are visible have been present and correct; however, other fundamental issues, for example, the evacuation strategy relating to persons with mobility impairments may be insufficient.  Unfortunately, when the management system fails, this is usually only identified in emergency conditions, which is obviously too late.

The examples above also indicate that audits can provide savings.  Organisations are often very focussed on ensuring they apply best practice when achieving value for money with physical items, but fail to achieve the same efficiencies with management systems.  Repetition of work is commonly identified within fire safety audits and is often un-realised by the ‘offending’ parties until the audit process questions this action.  In this respect, auditing can bring significant financial gain, as the management process can become more streamlined.

Undertaking a management review is likely to be a cost effective measure when a full, physical site survey is not required.  Experience indicates that when the management system in place is adequate, the majority of other precautions fall into place, such analogies are prevalent through many working operations, “failing to plan, is planning to fail,” experience indicates that fire safety follows this also.

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