Arguably, a clear understanding of who holds responsibility for passive fire protection is as important to the safety of employees as its implementation. Fire safety is visible, it requires the provision of visible tools – fire extinguishers, for example. PRP, though, is integrated into the structure of the building. It’s largely invisible and can be overlooked.
Building Regs Compliance
- People are able to exit the building safely, in the event of fire
- The building will not collapse due to fire
Practical implementation requires the creation of fire-resistant walls in order to stop fire spreading; partitioning as a means of creating safe evacuation routes, and intumescent coatings to protect the building from structural failure.
So, who is responsible for passive fire protection? Firstly, the building architects and owners, and thereafter the building managers and tenants.
Maintaining a Fire Protection Strategy
At the point of construction, a fire protection strategy will be ‘hard baked’ into the design of the building. This is proposed by the designer and signed off by the owner. The strategy will stipulate a limited range of modifications permitted, in order to protect the passive fire protection. Where this modification range is exceeded, a 3rd party reviewer will need to amend the strategy itself.
The Responsibilities of Employers and Managers
If you are the owner or manager of a business in England or Wales, you are subject to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This Order covers places of work, rather than residential properties. The regulations state that the ‘employer’ is designated the ‘responsible person’ who must ensure that the premises meet required standards, and that employees are equipped with fire safety training.
What Does the Responsible Person Need to Do to Comply?
In order to meet their responsibilities, an employer is required to carry out the following actions:
- Know the fire protection strategy that governs the premises and carry out regular risk assessments.
- Ensure that any fire-related fire related risks are logged, and any remedial actions required are carried out.
- Create an evacuation plan in the case of a fire emergency.
- Put fire safety measures in place.
- Provide clear information about fire safety for staff and carry out regular fire safety training.
What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
This is carried out in order to ensure that the fire precautions in your place of work are up-to-date and meet current standards. The records of these assessments need to be logged, and actions recorded where appropriate. Your assessment should include awareness of any business-related risks, such as the storage of flammable, or potentially explosive materials.
About Wallace Fire Protection
Wallace Fire Protection is a UK contractor offering bespoke passive fire protection design and installation. We’re one of 6 UK companies licensed and approved Promat DURASTEEL® installer, and much of our work takes us into high-risk environments where we provide blast resistant walls and ceilings, high impact walls, and fire barriers.