The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety Management – Part 21

March 23, 2020 1:46 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at those activities of a company which can be classed as fire safety management. In part 20, we considered those fire prevention tasks a Fire Safety Manager will find themselves dealing with. In part 21, we continue to look at fire safety management by discussing areas of greatest risk.

The fire safety manager is responsible for ensuring the fire safety policy and procedures are followed in the building at all times. Regular checks, tests, maintenance and security will all help to ensure systems and procedures are operating as they should.

Some of the greatest risks to continued fire safety come from staff and visitors to the building. While it was advantageous to fire safety that smoking was banned in workplaces in 2007, it has meant that surreptitious smoking is now a significant risk. Back rooms, stock rooms and other ‘out of sight’ areas are a tempting harbour for a smoker during bad weather particularly.

While some of the danger of smoking in hidden areas can be mitigated by checks, detectors, signage and staff education, the most effective way of avoiding this type of risk is to provide convenient and purpose-built outside shelters with fire-safe ashtrays provided.

For premises where smoking is not permitted at all, significant vigilance will be required.

Another significant fire risk comes from outside contractors on site. Those working for the outside contractor will not be familiar with the building and cannot be expected to know the fire risks, required precautions and correct action in case of a fire. Additionally, they are often engaged to undertake tasks which will involve hazardous operations, e.g. hot work.

Contractors should be made aware of the building’s fire safety requirements before starting work, including assembly points for fire alarms and their activities while on site should be monitored carefully. The fire safety manager and their staff should ensure that all necessary precautions against fire are taken in light of the activities of the contractor, which may include the issuing of permits for hot work and a fire risk assessment for the duration of the works, with mitigatory actions taken for any areas of additional fire risk.

In part 22, LWF will look at those tasks within the remit of the fire safety manager which can be categorised as ‘Good Housekeeping’. 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