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Author Topic: At what point should the fire risk assessment of a new facility be carried out?  (Read 529 times)
SeaBass
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« on: March 20, 2017, 04:34:16 PM »

PAS 79 clearly states that a FRA can not be carried out unless the premises being assessed are operational. With that in mind, what would 'The panel' consider to be a reasonable interval between initial occupation / hand over of a building or facility to the occupant, and the first FRA inspection. Less than two weeks, three weeks, more than three weeks? 
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Phoenix
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 12:57:52 AM »

If you do a fire risk assessment after a building is constructed but before it is occupied (for example, the day before they move in) you will find that what you actually produce is a snagging list plus guidance on how the building should be managed.  The first element is due to the fact that there are bound to be snagging issues.  The second element is due to the fact that the people who are about to move in won't have their safety systems in place yet and you will be obliged to give them relevant guidance in your remedial actions.

So this exercise may not exactly be a fire risk assessment but it is still useful.  As well as finding faults, this exercise should largely cover the objectives of the FSO when it requires an FRA from day 1.

If the occupiers respond to your guidance, then doing the proper fire risk assessment a few weeks after they move in (a second inspection) should reveal a building that is pretty free from faults.  If they have not responded to your initial guidance then that may reveal an additional characteristic of the occupier that has to be considered. 

As for the length of time to wait after occupation, that depends on building size, complexity, use, number of staff, level of risk, findings of original inspection, confidence in remedial works being undertaken, etc.

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SeaBass
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 08:51:21 AM »

I agree that a pre-occupancy fire safety inspection is good practice, Pheonix,  and I've carried out a number of them in the past. But they are not enforceable and most clients do not want to incur the additional cost of a second site visit. 

Some while back, I went to a block of brand new flats which suffered a fire a month after the block was first occupied. In fact many flats were still vacant. The FRA had been carried out a day or two before the fire occurred. Had that sequence of events been reversed, would the F&RS have prosecuted the RP? If the RP had the FRA booked in but it had not been completed, would the F&RS taken action?  So my question remains; what is the ideal interval between building occupancy and the FRA taking place?  I'm thinking three three weeks, (fifteen working days) based on the minimum 28 day interval permitted under article 30 of the FSO.   But is this reasonable?     
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wee brian
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2017, 09:07:37 AM »

Para 2.40

https://www.labc.co.uk/sites/default/files/procedural_guidance_march_2015.pdf

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Bruce89
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 07:01:39 PM »

Whilst 2.40.1 is clear, it is unlikely or should I say unnecessary, in my opinion for a F.A. to go straight to enforcement/legal action if an issue arose on day one of occupation. I don't think any prescriptive time scales e.g. 2, 3 weeks etc. can be given, each case should, and dare I say would, be judged on its own merits. Besides if we are talking enforcement, as you rightly state a minimum of 28 days is required in any case.
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colin todd
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 11:51:10 PM »

At a meeting between the industry and CFOA a good while back, the CFOA reps said not to worry about Day 1 and agreed it was better to wait.  However, these were firemen- I still recall a large North West of England service saying not to worry about the 21 days to appeal an EN and not to appeal it as they would be happy to discuss whether the bedroom doors in a hotel really did need upgraded with strips and seals.  Stupidly, I thought at the time that firemen were men of their word.  Come the meeting, they said we had missed the date for appeal and regardless of what we might think they had no intention of changing the notice. 

On complaining, we were told that their HQ policy people were very embarrassed, that they thought that what had happened was all wrong and they had given their assurances in good faith, but that the local fire safety office was autonomous and wouldn't listen to HQ policy people either.

The General Manager of the hotel had her annual bonus cut for having an enforcement notice.

For my part, I have never trusted English firemen since.
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Colin Todd, C S Todd & Associates
Bruce89
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2017, 09:19:10 AM »

Colski, I can fully understand a sour taste being left in the mouth following the incident you describe. Hopefully though there are still some trustworthy "English firemen".
I would always advise to get something in writing and that applies outside of work environments also. I learnt that when I shook hands on a deal selling a car, 3 days later the rat changed his mind, when I pointed out we had shook hands all he said was that doesn't mean anything these days, well for me it still does, call me old fashioned perhaps but now I always get something in writing.
Most I.O.'S carry contemporaneous note books, if something is agreed which may have the potential to be contentious later, get the I.O. to make a record in his note book, both parties sign it and if possible get a copy of the entry.
I'm not saying it would definitely be water tight but I'm sure it would make the F.A. think twice before taking a legal route.
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William 29
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2017, 12:05:56 PM »

We always advise and carry out Pre Occupancy FRAs. They can sometimes be an inspection of building site as suggested and become a building snagging list, but can still be useful. We do however try to get involved earlier that that and provide a Building Regs Approval Risk inspection.

The RRFSO does not come into force on an unoccupied building and also as we are a BAFE SP205 firm we can't issue a BAFE certificate of conformity on an unoccupied building either.

I think you have to be reasonable and accept that in that time frame between completion of the build and occupation, the building has been "passed" under building regs and CDM regs as being fit for occupation (hopefully!).

Technically, if a fire did occur in this time period the RP would be in breach of the RRFSO if no FRA was conducted. However the FA has to be reasonable (or should be) and accept that an FRA completed on the day of occupation would not in my view be a true reflection of the risks and fire safety management procedures. Generally people create the risks, wedging doors, no fire training, fire alarm testing not implemented ect etc, etc and you can't "test" this on day one in my view. Best to wait a few weeks.
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Tom Sutton
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2017, 04:22:01 PM »


The RRFSO does not come into force on an unoccupied building and also as we are a BAFE SP205 firm we can't issue a BAFE certificate of conformity on an unoccupied building either.

What about article 3.b and article 6 does not exempt it therefore a vacant building applies and why not an unoccupied building, what have I missed?
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All my responses only apply to England and Wales and they are an overview of the subject, hopefully it will point you in the right direction and always treat with caution.
William 29
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2017, 08:01:34 PM »

Is it not unlikely that relevant persons would be put at risk in an unoccupied building?

We were criticized during a BAFE audit for issuing BAFE certs on unoccupied and buildings under construction.

It may have been better to say the RRFSO may apply but the FRA would not be required until the building is occupied?
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 08:04:47 PM by William 29 » Logged
Tom Sutton
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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2017, 08:51:22 PM »

Thanks William
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All my responses only apply to England and Wales and they are an overview of the subject, hopefully it will point you in the right direction and always treat with caution.
SeaBass
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2017, 01:13:00 PM »

With the original question in mind, I?d be interested in Mr T?s recommendations, as opposed to experiences, bearing in mind that PAS 79 is a CST Ltd publication and your comments about the dastardly English Fire officers.
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wee brian
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2017, 02:20:40 PM »

The PAS is a BSI publication, isn't it......

Anyway its just repeating the legislation. Here follows some random thoiughts

I think its important to separate what a professional FRA might be covering and how the law works.

the day you step into your shiny new building your duties as the RP begin. That includes a risk assessment.

A reasonable person would allow for the fact that it might take you a while to get a fully document risk assessment in place but you should still be considering the risks (which as the Proc Guide says could be different on day 1)

And if one of Colin's good friends from the Fire Authority turn up on day one and they find the building is dangerous then they can and should take steps. (hopefully proportionate ones).

As a pro delivering fire risk assessments then I suppose you cant do a PAS FRA on day 1, it would probably be daft.

Don't forget, a building site is subject to the Order, its transition into an occupied building will require proper consideration.







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colin todd
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2017, 08:41:09 PM »

SeaTreble, the wee fellow is right-PAS 79 is a BSI publication.  However, I reproduce the following extract in the hope it might help you along with my subsequent comments.:

It follows, therefore, that the fire risk assessment
can only validly be carried out on premises that
are in use, so that the actual working conditions,
practices and procedures can be taken into
account. The fire risk assessment required by the
relevant fire safety legislation (see 3.76), to which
this PAS refers, cannot be carried out at the design
stage of a new premises, nor is it a means for
snagging fire precautions in a newly constructed
premises prior to occupation.

If the FRS turn up on day 1 there might be a breach of the FSO, but even if they were silly enough to issue an EN for this, they couldnt give less than 28 days for the breach to be rectified which is masses of time.  They could only prosecute if the breach resulted in the risk of death or serious injury in case of fire.  If the building has been built correctly, and proper management has been put into place, no such risk will occur.

BruceAlmighty, would you have bought the  car from an English fire officer?  I do confess I would trust the many good personal friends I have made within many FRS but would not be sure of the rest, nor, institutionally, would I trust some of their employers, though I confess they have always paid their bills!
See the thing about we Scots is that we are a bit black and white- we love everyone and trust them without question until they let us down.  Then, its simple- we never trust them again.  Look what happened to old man McDonald in 1692- he trusted the letter of safe passage from the English Governor at Fort William and then experienced the duplicity of King William, when he signed the order for one of the earliest attempts at genocide.
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Colin Todd, C S Todd & Associates
Mike Buckley
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« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2017, 01:16:10 PM »

Colin at the risk of going off topic, if I remember correctly there was a lot more politicking and clan rivalry going on in that incident and wasn't it another clan (the Campbells) who actually did the dirty deed?
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