The US Towering Inferno movie was nominated for 8 oscars including the Academy Award for Best Picture. Won 3 and was the highest-grossing film released in 1974. Steve McQueen Fire Chief says to Paul Newman Architect ….

You know we were lucky tonight. Body counts less than 200. You know one of these days we are going to kill 10,000 in one of these fire traps and I am going keep eating smoke and bringing out bodies until somebody asks us…… how to build them”.

“OK I’m asking?”

“You know where to reach me….. So long Architect”.

Partnership working has come on a very long way since the 1970’s. However, there is always room for improvement and as dedicated fire consultants we actively encourage asking relevant fire protection questions.

As members of the IFPO national executive committee, MB Fire Risk regularly attend EC meetings in London and FSF competency work-stream workshops including Fire Risk Assessment.

As an Authorised Engineer (Fire) Martin strives to assist hospital Fire Officers to secure positive timely engagement with estates, capital projects, building control and the fire service.

When managing building projects, not all shortfalls in fire safety can be addressed immediately, often warranting longer turm solutions and financial investment by planning out potential fire disasters.

An inclusive common sense approach to fire safety by engaging all stakeholders from initial conception, through design stages up to as built completion, sign off and final handover saves on the finances and underpins a swift resolve.

To conclude; in the movie, Architect Paul Newman was right to be asking the Fire Chief and Sanfransico fire department. With some exceptions in our fire inspection experience, its time for the UK building community to walk across the same partnership bridge and get asking fire consultants and fire stopping inspectors before, during and at handover of new and refurbished building projects. Its good to talk!

towering inferno

fire risk assessment

We are a property developer who own various properties around the M25. We have given these properties to an agent on a long lease of 5 years. They have subsequently sublet these properties to various tenants.

My question is who is responsible to carry out the FRA for these properties – us as owners or the agent who has a 5 year lease??

I would be grateful if you could give me some clarity on the above as when I look at the Regulatory Reform Order (2005) it mentions “responsible person”. I feel that this term is a bit “grey”?

Suggest the Responsible Person (Fire) duties, the Duty Holder in Scotland is best addressed by way of contract as it is a legal question requiring clear agreement.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires a fire risk assessment to be carried out regularly. The life fire risk assessment should be suitable and sufficient and is best achieved by engaging registered fire risk assessors.

Testing and maintaining fire alarm and detection, emergency lighting and other fire protection systems:  

The engineers should have sufficient training, experience, knowledge and other qualities to assist in undertaking preventive and protective measures. This can best be assured by engaging an engineer or company who are registered or accredited with a third-party scheme to maintain your fire protection systems.

Relevant primary legislation in England and Wales:

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order 2005 and Fire Safety (Employees Capabilities) (England) 2010

Sharing fire risk assessments:

Residential: – Although the FSO only applies to common parts, residents within flats are ‘relevant persons’, whose safety from a fire that starts in or spreads to the common parts, must be considered.

Workplace: – The Fire Safety Order requires the responsible person to provide his employees and the self-employed from outside undertakings with comprehensible and relevant information regarding:

  • Risks to them identified by the risk assessment
  • Preventive and protective measures
  • Procedures and the measures including fire drills for responding to serious and imminent danger
  • Identities of those persons nominated as competent persons to implement measures including fire procedures and Emergency Fire Evacuation Plans

There is also a requirement for co-operation and co-ordination where two or more responsible persons share or have duties in respect of the same premises whether on a temporary or a permanent basis to:

  • Co-operate with the other responsible persons concerned so far as is necessary
    Take into account the nature of activities and take all reasonable steps to co-ordinate the measures
  • Take all reasonable steps to inform the other responsible persons concerned, of the risks to relevant persons arising out of or in connection with, the conduct by him of his undertaking E.G. meaning processes, storage, manufacture, alterations, building works, change of use etc


Management of Health & Safety at Work Regs:

Every self-employed person shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking. This is to identify the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions.

Every employer shall provide his employees with comprehensible and relevant fire safety information.

Healthcare Firecode:

Hospitals provide sleeping accommodation for medicated and incapacitated patients with varying degrees of dependence on staff assistance to move. Firecode sets out additional measures including:

  • Are adequate fire risk assessments in place for all areas under the organisation’s ownership, occupation and/or control? 
  • Have suitable fire safety improvement action plans been developed to mitigate the risks identified in the fire risk assessments? 
  • Have the significant findings from fire risk assessments been communicated to the board, partners or equivalent controlling body and has appropriate action been implemented?

Inform, instruct, cooperate and coordinate – All relevant persons (for example contractors) should give and receive information about the fire safety arrangements and the findings of their and the healthcare organisation’s fire risk assessments; both risk assessments should be amended accordingly, if necessary, before they start work.

Cooperation and coordination – In non-NHS-owned premises like Private Finance Initiative (PFI) or where there is more than one occupier with others responsible for different parts of the building, it is important that: 

  • liaison takes place between the various parties
  • They are made aware of any significant risks that have been identified and
  • Any significant findings of their fire risk assessments are taken into account

Guidance including relevant primary legislation in England and Wales:

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order 2005 Articles 15,19,20,22. The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 3.2(b), 10 (1). HTM 05-01 and HTM 05-03 part K. CFOA Specialised Housing guidance 2017.

fire risk assessment

fire risk assessment


Staff undertaking fire risk assessments:

Your staff member should be competent to undertake a fire risk assessment. Competence can be achieved by a blend of fire safety experience, training, having the right skills and underpinning knowledge.

As you remain responsible for selecting the fire risk assessor, suggest you consider the following; will the completed fire risk assessments fully consider all fire hazards and significant risks to life. Will they quantify the likelihood and consequences of fire and the impact. Gather all relevant information. Make timely recommendations in the action plan and reviewed as often as necessary?

Your finished fire risk assessment report and supporting notes must be demined suitable and sufficient by the local fire authority and if necessary, a court of law. If not, we strongly advice engaging a registered fire risk assessor like MB Fire Risk is a wise financial investment.

Relevant primary legislation in England and Wales:

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order 2005 and the Fire Safety (Employees Capabilities) (England) 2010

Who can update fire risk assessments:

Fire risk assessment reports should be considered as living documents.

The action plan should be regularly updated by a suitable member of the resident’s association reflecting progress and final sign off. Same applies for workplace fire risk assessment action plans.

Relevant primary legislation in England and Wales:

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order 2005 and Fire Safety (Employees Capabilities) (England) 2010