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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Risk Assessment – Part 90

March 22, 2021 11:06 am

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 89, LWF looked at how a fire risk assessment should be documented. In part 90, we discuss how a fire risk assessment should be viewed and used by the management of an organisation.

The management of an organisation should view the fire risk assessment not as a task which must be completed, but as a document encompassing what must be actioned and stating the basis for ongoing fire safety management. A fire risk assessment is a ‘living’ document which should be added to and amended as situations and fire safety measures change. When contractors are brought in to work in a building, for example, the fire risk assessment document should reflect the impact and the necessary mitigatory steps taken.

An attitude of a fire risk assessment being a bureaucratic task which must be completed will not help to protect the building occupants from fire. While the fire risk assessment may be carried out by a third party brought in for the task, the document should always be studied and understood by senior management.

Legislation requires that a fire risk assessment should be periodically reviewed. However, it is good sense to not simply adhere to the letter of the law but to take on board the ethos of the fire risk assessment and make changes to the document (and practices or facilities) when changes arise. A fire risk in a building is not static and changes may be gradual or acute. Wear and tear of a building can impact fire safety measures. A change of management, number or type of employees, whether or not the public have access to certain areas all have a significant effect that could require reassessment, repairs or a new fire safety approach.

Acute changes can occur as a result of a refurbishment, changes in processes, or people with limited mobility on site, etc.

It is necessary to undertake a review of the fire risk assessment document if there is reason to suspect it is no longer valid or where there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates.

While there is no right or wrong frequency for a fire risk assessment, it is commonplace for it to be reviewed annually, unless the environment is particularly stable or subject to change.  Determining the correct review period for a building or organisation should be a matter of what will best serve the fire safety requirements and ensure building occupants are safe and should be included in the fire risk assessment itself.

In part 91 of this series, LWF will begin to discuss Fire Prevention. 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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