The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety Management – Part 14

February 3, 2020 2:09 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at the activities of a company which can be classed as fire safety management. In part 13 we looked how the fire safety manual should be reviewed and tested. In part 14, we will explore the role of the fire safety manager and consider their authority and responsibilities in the workplace.

The fire safety manager holds direct responsibility for fire safety in the premises in question, as well as having overall control of the premises while people are on site. In some cases, the fire safety manager undertakes the fire safety duties directly, while in others – for example if the owner is classed as the fire safety manager – the responsibilities may be delegated. However large or small the premises and business therein, there should be no doubt as to with whom the responsibility resides.

In some premises in the UK, the fire safety manager will also be the ‘Responsible Person’ as per the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005  and the equivalent Orders in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In other buildings, it may be that the fire safety manager will be a ‘Competent Person’ nominated by the ‘Responsible Person’. The ‘Responsible Person’ may in fact be a corporate body, (known as a ‘Duty Holder’ in Scotland). The Responsible Person has the legal responsibility to comply with fire safety law and the legal responsibility aspect cannot be delegated to the Competent Person who has been nominated to carry out the fire safety duties. It should also be noted that, where the corporate body is seen as the ‘Responsible Person’, this does not preclude legal action being taken against the most senior executives of the corporate body in situations which require such action, as they will also be considered personally responsible and liable.

The fire safety manager should be provided with sufficient authority and powers of sanction to ensure that the standards of fire safety on the premises are adequately maintained. Such powers might allow them to close the building to the public, restrict use or shut down normal operations, should the situation require them. It is also important that sufficient financial resources are supplied to the fire safety manager for them to ensure that repairs and maintenance are carried out in a timely and efficient manner.

In part 15, LWF will continue to look at the responsibilities of the fire safety manager. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact the LWF office on 0800 410 1130.

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.

Share this post