The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises –FSO and Enforcement– Part 84

May 3, 2022 12:02 pm

LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals aims to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 83 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF discussed staircases and enforcement action. In part 84, we will continue to look at the process of enforcement and appeals.

It is important that all parties involved with the audit process of a healthcare building by the Fire Authority make every effort to agree on the works required to ensure fire safety is at the required standard. It may mean that senior officers within the company in question should hold discussions with the FA senior staff to ensure a full understanding is gained, and this should be completed before the issue of an enforcement notice.

The aim of such discussions is to allow time for the responsible person to have recourse to the court should the informal approach fail. Of course, working closely on such issues often helps ensure that the informal approach does not fail.

When the FA issues an agreed action plan with the responsible person, it should be complied with, or formal action is likely to be taken with the issue of an enforcement notice. If the enforcement notice is similarly ignored, prosecution will follow.

In cases where the hospital in question is planned to be replaced, relevant timescales should be taken into account. It may be that if the replacement is due within two years, interim measures may be acceptable to reduce any significant expenditure on a building which will not be in use for long. However, if the time period is longer, it is likely that the FA will require the necessary changes to be made, without significant compromise.

The fire safety audit process undertaken by FAs will include a number of phases:

  • The primary audit, arranged with the responsible person usually a month in advance
  • Data gathering phase
  • Audit of risk assessment, systems, procedures, records and responsible person compliance against specific duties (Articles) under the Fire Safety Order
  • Validation by inspection of the above – may be whole premises or key elements
  • Compliance level assessment and risk level calculation
  • Outcome of audit and inspection and feedback (including any necessary enforcement action)
  • Follow-up inspection if necessary
  • Scheduling of next fire safety audit dependent upon compliance level and premises risk

In Part 85 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will continue to look at the process of fire authority audits. 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 LWF on freephone 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.

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