In line with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 the responsible person/s have a legal duty of care to appoint a competent person to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment.
Failure to take reasonable steps to appoint a competent person will often lead to an inadequate fire risk assessment. Furthermore, an inadequate fire risk assessment carried out by a unqualified assessor will not meet the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for responsible persons. Upon inspection from the Local Authorities the responsible person will be issued with an Improvement Notice and will be made to appoint a competent person to carry out an adequate Fire Risk Assessment.
Once a competent person has been appointed the responsibility in terms of assessing the building is passed to the Fire Safety Consultant who is then responsible for ensuring responsible person for the building is given the correct information on the current condition of the building as well as providing an action plan on any deficiencies noted withing the building with corrective actions on how best to improve the life safety of occupants.
By appointing a competent Fire Safety Consultant to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment the assessor will look at the building holistically and will make a risk assessed decision on what is actually required to improve the life safety of the occupants in the building. This meaning a competent assessor can justify any variations from the guidance documents to a more reasonably practicable solution which in turn could save the responsible person/s time and money.
A unqualified non competent assessor will be prescriptive in their approach when assessing a building and will work in a tick box type of assessment and could ask for numerous costly solutions which are in fact not required.
Failure to appoint a competent person to carry out a fire risk assessment could lead to an Enforcememt notice and/or Prohibition notice from the Local Fire Authority. Failure to bring the building up to a suitable standard of fire safety could lead to the responsible person occurring a large fine and in the worst case scenario imprisonment.
By appointing cheap non qualified fire safety consultants does not remove your responsibilities under the order. It is not acceptable to simply say ‘the consultant said he knows what he is doing’.
Remember it is your responsibility to ensure you appoint a competent person.
All consultants at wirral fire consultancy & training are degree qualified in fire safety and are affiliated members of the institute of fire engineers (ife) with over 10 years experience in fire safety across a broad spectrum of building types.