The LWF Blog

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Insurers and Property Protection – Part 1

December 28, 2018 11:55 am

In LWF’s blog series for those who work in facilities management, or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we aim to give a guide on fire safety with information on best practice and references to relevant current legislation. In part 1 of ‘Insurers & Property Protection’ we look at the role of the insurer in property protection.


Fire safety legislation in the UK and Ireland relates solely to the protection of life. While this is a reasonable standpoint from the government, it means any and all fire safety measures which relate to property and content protection are undertaken on a private basis by the building owner or occupier, in conjunction with the fire insurer.


For example, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires building owners or occupiers to provide a means of warning for occupants in the event of fire, a means by which they can safely escape the building and measures taken to assist in those procedures. This includes an element of provision of means for fighting fire, but only where it is necessary.


It might be envisaged that somebody in the building would need access to a fire extinguisher, a fire blanket or a hose reel and so for that reason, it is included in the RR(FS)O. Fire insurers will also require that this equipment is provided, as it will contribute to the limitation of property damage.


There are further areas of crossover between life safety requirements and property protection insurance requirements. Sprinkler systems are now increasingly being used in more complex buildings for life safety purposes, although historically they have been seen mainly as a property protection measure. A sprinkler system slows the rate of fire growth, sometimes so effectively that the fire is extinguished or under control before the Fire Service attend.


Fire-resistant doors and frames which are provided for the protection of escape routes help to limit fire spread between areas and therefore limit property damage. An alarm system gives an early alert to the presence of fire in a building and results in earlier attendance by the Fire Service, protecting both lives and property.


While the crossover between life safety and property protection is often fortuitous, the focus remains on life safety from a legislatory point of view. The flip side of this is that while many of the measures undertaken for life safety will benefit property protection aims, it is often the case that the insurers will require additional measures to be taken in order to safeguard their risk.


In part 2 of this series, LWF will continue discussing Insurers & Property Protection. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.


Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.


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