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03 June 2021
Current fire safety legislation - The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 (RRFSO) states that:
“The Responsible Person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by or under this Order.” (Article 9 Paragraph 1).
Article 9(3) of the fire safety order requires that:
Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if—
(a) there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid; or
(b) there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates including when the premises, special, technical and organisational measures, or organisation of the work undergo significant changes, extensions, or conversions, and where changes to an assessment are required as a result of any such review, the responsible person must make them.
What “Regularly” means in real terms is open to interpretation, but, for many premises, an annual review would be regarded as best practice. The appropriate period is usually determined by the assessor as part of the assessment following careful consideration of all relevant information. For small, low-risk premises, a review by the responsible person might be carried out every year; a more thorough more detailed new fire risk assessment might be carried out every 2 or 3 years
A review of the FRA is not synonymous with a complete new assessment. Equally, however, in a regular review, all aspects of the original FRA might need to be revisited to check that they have not been subject to change; this emphasizes the importance of adequate recording of the significant findings of the original FRA so that the basis for its conclusions can be readily re-examined. On the other hand, if the review has arisen purely as the result of a specific material alteration, it might be the case that a limited review is sufficient.
A suitable and sufficient assessment should contain sufficient information presented in such a way that you can review the document yourself. However, if you do not feel competent to carry this out, you can ask an assessor to do this for you. If following your own review you feel that the information within the document is no longer valid or you are aware that there has been a significant change in either the building, its use or the occupancy, you should instruct a new or more detailed review by a competent assessor.
So to summarise and answer the question “Do I need to redo the fire risk assessment every year?”, put simply the answer is “no”. But you do need to ensure that the relevant actions are undertaken and that it is reviewed regularly and when changes take place to ensure it remains valid.
Always remember that your fire risk assessment is a living document, which is a basis for fire safety management in your building it should not simply be filed and forgotten.
Further information on fire risk assessments and their reviews can be found in PAS 79-1 and PAS 79-2, which deal with non-housing premises and housing premises respectively. These can be purchased from the FIA via this link:
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