Carrying out regular fire safety audits is extremely important for any building.
Fire safety audits are an inspection of non-residential buildings to determine the management of the property with regards to fire safety. These assessments are usually planned and include examinations of relevant documentation. Sometimes a discussion with staff about fire safety will occur to determine their knowledge of the matter.
Listen to the law.
In the eyes of the law, ‘responsible persons’ for a building (e.g. owners, employers, and managers) have to take responsibility to ensure that fire safety regulations get put into action. Failing to comply can cause trouble for a business owner, in the form of an expensive fine or worse, time in prison.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, requires Fire Risk Assessments on all commercial premises, and also on the communal areas of residential premises. It’s a severe law you must abide by to keep employees and visitors safe at all times.
Prevention is better than cure.
With fire safety, preparation is far more valuable than having to do some damage control. Regular fire safety audits to ensure that you have an idea of how safe your building is. Along with identifying fire hazards, you will also get recommendations for changes you can make to help protect the property.
What to expect
During a fire safety audit, an in-depth inspection of the property and relevant documentation will take place. An examiner will be present, and as mentioned previously, the review can also involve interviews with staff to check that they are aware of proper fire safety procedures.
A key factor in fire safety audits is reading through all relevant documentation, how you manage it and whether staff are fully aware of the information.
This can include:
- Evidence that fire prevention systems (alarms, sprinklers etc.) have had tests.
- Records of fire drills and staff training.
- A fire risk assessment.
- List of possible and known dangerous substances on the premises.
- Details of protocol for evacuation in the event of a fire written in a document.
The aftermath of a fire safety audit depends on how well your building scored during the inspection. If in the event the inspector discovers a breach of fire safety law, they will decide what happens next based on the severity of the violation and how much work the building requires.
If the breach is only minor, the audit can take an informal approach. In smaller cases, the inspector can let the business know what went wrong and the next step to take to fix the issue.
However, if severe, the inspector can issue an enforcement notice. Similar to a minor breach, along with a strict deadline in which the issue must get resolved. If the property shows signs of danger, the inspector can revoke access to the building until it is safe again. A prosecution of the responsible person can take place if they do not comply with fire safety law.
The importance of fire safety audits is evident. Keeping employees safe is critical. Preventing a fire by following procedures is far more appealing than paying a hefty fine, serving time in prison and most importantly putting people in danger.
Get in touch
To find out more about our property management services call the Smarter Services team on 0207 112 8857.
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