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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Risk Assessment – Part 87

March 1, 2021 1:22 pm

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 86, LWF discussed the process of fire risk assessment. In part 87, we will look at how to form the action plan.

When undertaking a fire risk assessment, determination of the level of fire risk should be completed before we turn our attention to producing an action plan. The aim of the action plan is to address any deficiencies found in the assessment and to reduce the risk from fire to occupants as low as is reasonably practicable. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 accepts it is not possible to reduce the level of risk to zero, but uses the term ‘as low as is reasonably practicable’.

In December 2020, the PAS 79 guidance was updated and gives information on suitable actions and timescales for the five categories of risk:

Trivial risks do not require action or detailed records to be kept;

Tolerable risks do not require major additional controls, but there may be a need for improvements involving minor or limited cost;

Moderate risks require that efforts are made to reduce the risk and within a defined time period –  moderate risks may be associated with severe consequences and so further assessment may be required to ascertain the likelihood of harm as a basis for determining the priority for improved control measures;

Substantial risks can result in the necessity of allocating considerable resources in order to reduce the risk. Where the building is unoccupied, it must not be occupied until the risk level has been reduced. If it is occupied, action must be taken on an urgent basis;

Intolerable risks indicate that the building or area of a building should not be occupied until the risk is reduced.

It should be noted that the names given by PAS 79 to the levels of risk should not be taken too literally when dealing with fire safety. Even a risk labelled ‘tolerable’ should be addressed, albeit usually at a limited capital cost. The use of five categories in order to determine priorities and to compare different premises is useful and provides structure.

In part 88 of this series, LWF will continue looking at the formulation of an action plan for fire risk assessments. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.


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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