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Author Topic: Level of detail in FRA Reports  (Read 398 times)
Suttonfire
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« on: June 13, 2018, 10:15:32 AM »

I am regularly coming across FRA reports in which the assessor makes statements along the lines of:

Safe Condition Signs identifying escape routes not adequate - undertake full survey of signs required and install where necessary.

Several compartmentation issues identified within the offices, stairwells etc - carry out a full compartmentation survey and undertake fire stopping works etc where required.

I have always worked on the basis that my FRAs should identify specific areas/details relating to works required, so that the client does not routinely have to instruct a series of further fire door, compartmentation, sign surveys etc on the back of FRA reports. Am I going beyond what an FRA should be expected to cover? Should an FRA simply set objectives to be met, with the full scope to be determined via follow up surveys? I understand that this may be appropriate when making recommendations in relation to specialist systems such as suppression/ventilation etc - but surely it would be reasonable for an assessor to identify specific areas where signage or fire stopping etc is required in the FRA report?
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Dinnertime Dave
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2018, 12:20:35 PM »


That is the easy way out and I would suggest the author will say that if you want it to that depth then you have to pay more. Time is money.

As I work for a Housing Association, the expectation on me is to identify every hole if possible. Some properties I have 50 actions. These may be a single cable penetration, but everyone is documented, photographed, given a precise location and inserted into the FRA with recommendations of an appropriate product.

It can take a long time. But that is what I am paid to do and I sleep at night.
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Fishy
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2018, 03:02:14 PM »

You can obviously do whatever you're competent to do, & if you're competent to do compartmentation surveys (and can demonstrate that) then you can include that as an included or additional service.

I wouldn't go too far down the line of specifying exactly what to do, though, as you might be straying into the territory of being a 'Designer' under CDM.  Not a problem if you understand the implications, you are happy that you're competent and you've covered the liabilities involved, but not something to be treated lightly, I would suggest?
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Fire Monkey
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2018, 12:32:54 PM »

Yes I see this type of assessment all of the time. The issue is that the assessor is assessing just the risk - probably just as they are contracted to do. I do both internal FRAs (on the building portfolio my company owns) and private ones as well. In the former my role is to carry out the findings of the FRA as well - to carry out this work what is required needs to be documented in the FRA (or my company has no paper trail). For private FRAs I take care to explain, with as much detail as is reasonable and suitable, what the responsible person needs to do and they type of company they need to employ for every action required. I even offer an after sales service to help then understand the FRA and its requirements (2nd visits/telephone calls and email correspondence). Dinnertime has a good approach - evidence and report on the findings and make it clear to the client - passing the buck is not fair and can you live with your self if you delivered a sub-standard FRA? We have to ask our selves - is our goal making money or making people safe and ensuring legislation is upheld.
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SeaBass
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2018, 12:48:42 PM »

I think that there are a number of issues to consider.

First and foremost, if in house fire risk assessors keep finding service penetrations in their buildings, I would suggest that the key finding has to be that the organisation for whom they work, needs to review and tighten up their contractor controls, to stop the creation of unsealed openings in the first place.

Third party Fire Risk assessors are carrying out a fire risk assessments, not a fire safety audits.  Audits, by their nature, need to be far more detailed than fire risk assessments, they take much more timer to complete and they usually report on the compliance status of a system or arrangement, as opposed to the risk that it presents.  

Obviously, listing examples of the none compliance's that you have found in the building, will be helpful to the client/RP, but do you have the time to survey the whole building and individually list all the issues?  If you start out on this route, and miss one or two issues, could that be considered negligent, would you be liable?  I think that in general, fire  risk assessments, as they stand at present, identify trends and behaviours which compromise fire safety, rather than each item that is not compliant.   If I come across one or two issues when carrying out a FRA, I do tend to list them. However, where there are, what I consider to be, systematic failings, I list sufficient examples to justify further surveys / audits.  
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nearlythere
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2018, 04:40:34 PM »

I think that there are a number of issues to consider.

First and foremost, if in house fire risk assessors keep finding service penetrations in their buildings, I would suggest that the key finding has to be that the organisation for whom they work, needs to review and tighten up their contractor controls, to stop the creation of unsealed openings in the first place.

Third party Fire Risk assessors are carrying out a fire risk assessments, not a fire safety audits.  Audits, by their nature, need to be far more detailed than fire risk assessments, they take much more timer to complete and they usually report on the compliance status of a system or arrangement, as opposed to the risk that it presents.  

Obviously, listing examples of the none compliance's that you have found in the building, will be helpful to the client/RP, but do you have the time to survey the whole building and individually list all the issues?  If you start out on this route, and miss one or two issues, could that be considered negligent, would you be liable?  I think that in general, fire  risk assessments, as they stand at present, identify trends and behaviours which compromise fire safety, rather than each item that is not compliant.   If I come across one or two issues when carrying out a FRA, I do tend to list them. However, where there are, what I consider to be, systematic failings, I list sufficient examples to justify further surveys / audits.  

Fully agree SB. It isn't meant to be a snag list. I would take a few pics for the assessment but would only refer to them as examples of what I have found.

Sometimes I find the likes of housing associations expect too much for next to nothing so I don't get involved in multiply site contract work.

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We're not Brazil we're Northern Ireland.
ahmedh
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2018, 04:27:12 PM »

For private sector, time/money are important considerations. Those commissioning services getting something for nothing can be an issue.

I noted that some house associations do level 1-4 FRAs.

A FRA is ultimately a snapshot. Some stuff is more reasonable to do that others such as highlighting missing signage. Assumptions will be made in others.

Competency will be an important factor and making clear what was done and what wasn't.

For instance, you find a number of instances where there is change in direction on an escape route with no emergency lighting. So that goes down as needing to be addressed. Is the inherent assumption then the the assessor has picked up all non-conformities or note down a few and then say that they EL should be surveyed as it is inadequate to ensure it captures the risk. That's an easy one, say there is emergency lighting, is the assessor then checking the photometric data to ensure that it provides suitable illumination?


"Several compartmentation issues identified within the offices, stairwells etc - carry out a full compartmentation survey and undertake fire stopping works etc where required."

What is being done here, poking head above every ceiling tile to look for penetrations, what if the assessor misses some? Are they checking the H&S file for the building to ensure that the blockwork is thick enough or the studwork of a partition wall is a suitably tested system.

Again easier to pick up holes that aren't sealed but what about penetration that are sealed but not correctly? Annular gap too large for the product used, inadequate depth of mastic, batt not adequately framed, centres not correct. Is assessor competent to determine that? Will the commissioner of assessment have expected that the assessor should have picked these up?

I can easily see why they have recommended a compartmentation or fire stopping survey.

Fire doors- big hole in door from lock taken out, big gap between leaves for example easy to pick up. How about checking the test data for the doorset,  checking gaps are all between 2-4mm, condition of the intumescent, correct hinges fitted, glazing install, operation of self closer, use of pads, incorrect screws or skewed, taking architrave off and inspecting how the frame has been fitted and space between it and aperture adequately filled with a suitably tested product as per BS8214.

Or does the assessor highlight some deficiencies as examples and also make a management recommendation to survey all and do 6 monthly PPMs.

OP, a long way of saying.. maybe a mixture required with a clear framework of what was and wasn't done.




« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 04:32:51 PM by ahmedh » Logged
Dinnertime Dave
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2018, 10:47:42 PM »


First and foremost, if in house fire risk assessors keep finding service penetrations in their buildings, I would suggest that the key finding has to be that the organisation for whom they work, needs to review and tighten up their contractor controls, to stop the creation of unsealed openings in the first place.

2 years ago I would have agreed. We can control our own contractors. But Mr Jones has just had a new internet and TV package from XYZ Ltd. Their appointment is with the tenant, they go into the loft drill down into the communal area then into the flat with a 25mm drill bit for a 5mm cable. The same company offered to put all the infrastructure into one of our schemes and proceeded to use a lump hammer to knock a hole above all the cross corridor doors. Fortunately somebody reported it and we threw them off site.

It sound easy to control but in practice it's not.
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