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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Part 35

March 2, 2020 2:43 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 34, LWF considered those organisations who have responsibility for enforcing the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in different premises and organisations. In part 35, we look at what inspection by an official inspector under the Order might comprise.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) allows for the designated organisation with responsibility for enforcing the Order to undertake inspections of relevant premises. Inspectors appointed under the Order have the power to enter premises at any reasonable time and to undertake any inquiries as might be required to ascertain if there is compliance with the provisions of the Order and to identify the Responsible Person.

The Inspector may ask to see any relevant records and furthermore, they have the power to inspect and take copies of such records. Where they are computerised, they may request extracts.

The Order requires that the Inspector is given necessary support and assistance to undertake their duties and that this should be given either by the Responsible Person themselves, or any person who is deemed to be the most responsible person on the premises at the time. In other words, the Inspector is unlikely to be swayed by statements such as ‘The boss will be back in next week’.

The Inspector may wish to take samples to ascertain levels of fire resistance or flammability. Any process or test the Inspector wishes to make on any substance on the premises is covered by the Order.

Following the inspection (and any resulting tests), the enforcing authority may serve the Responsible Person with an ‘alterations notice’ if it is decided that:

a) The Premises constitute a serious risk to relevant persons, or
b) Such a risk may be constituted if a change is made to them or the use to which the premises are put.
The alterations notice must specify those matters which constitute a serious risk.

Having received such a note, the Responsible Person must notify the enforcing authority prior to making any changes that might increase risk. This might be because of a change of use, a change to the premises or services, fittings, equipment or an increase in the dangerous substances present on the premises.

In part 36, LWF will continue looking at the potential contents of an alteration notice issued by an Enforcing Authority. 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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