Agree with all the foregoing. Here's a little bit of the picture as I see it.
Virtually all buildings have some shortfalls in their fire safety provisions.
Prior to any FRA being undertaken there is a gap between the ideal 'safe' building and the actual building. But no one knows about this gap, they don't know if it exists and, if it does, they don't know what it is. If they don't have a fire, which is most likely by a long stretch, they get away with it. If they do have a fire, the RP is culpable and there is no getting away from it.
When a FRA is undertaken in a building the gap becomes known. From this point on the RP is exposed to risk. If the safety gap leads to an accident/fire after the FRA, the RP knew about the shortfall whilst it persisted and a law court could take a very dim view of this. But if the RP had commenced remedial actions, even if the remedial actions were long winded and had only got so far as requesting funds, then a law court might judge that due diligence had been displayed due to the fact that the RP has acted on information as soon as it became available and was following some established protocols for correcting building faults. I only say 'might' there as it very much depends on precise circumstances.
When I do a FRA and present a remedial action plan, I recommend that the RP commences those remedial actions as soon as possible so as to minimise the risk to which he or she is exposed. I don't expect all the work to be completed quickly, I understand that some actions may require months to complete but the RP should start putting some sort of action plan in place almost straight away.
Most risk assessors will give some sort of relative priorities to the items in their plan and this, I appreciate, is the crux of the original question. The prioritisation can be in the form of dates, time scales, a quantitative scale of priority or some qualitative expression of priority, e.g. some loosely defined categories of high, medium and low. However the prioritisation is presented, the RP must not sit on the document without taking some sort of initial steps. In that way, he or she would be exposing themselves to the maximum risk.
All of the faults identified in a FRA have to be addressed and the prioritisation of the remedial actions is as fundamentally important as the identification of the faults in the first place. The RP is not equipped to prioritise but the risk assessor is.
- The prioritisation is fundamentally important
- It may take a number of forms, any of which might be acceptable
- Whichever form it takes, the RP must start actioning the list almost immediately
- The timescale to complete the tasks is often driven by the complexity and scale of the remedial actions
- It should be borne in mind that fire risk assessors cannot stop all accidents/fires from occurring but a reasonable, professional and overall pragmatic approach by both the RP and the fire risk assessor will often demonstrate due diligence to any party who may have to make a judgement