Comment by: Malcolm Porter
Focus area: Fire safety regulation
Regulator concerned: Environmental Heath (Local Authority),Fire safety (Fire Authority),Local Authority or Fire Authority
I am chartered building surveyor; I flag up the absence of FRA’s when undertaking due diligence inpections of property and encourage commissioning of FRA’s. I notice variable quality of FRA’s and particularly tenant occupiers indifferent attitudes as to compliance. There appears to be great under- staffing as to enforcement and lack of enforcement/ compliance as consequence. Like fire insurance companies of old a simple control measure might be to display a (small) badge or similar certificate dated and signed by the issuing authority (fire risk assessor) just inside the entrance to the premises so that everyone entering can be assured that the premises are safe to enter and enthusiastic Mr Joe Public may soon report anyone to LA not displaying if they know what to look out for and there is a website or number to report non compliant premises to and this is known. Displayed close to main entrance reception then LA environmental health enforcement can quickly scoot round and check premises are displaying. Give a bonus or a target of one a week to a parking warden for they picking up on this sort of thing and add DEC checks EPC air con energy checks etc. or similarly get the gas and electric meter readers involved on a scheme to check commercial premises. Perhaps look at the DEC system and see if an electronic register of FRA’s might be worthwhile but may be expensive to run. Like the DEC sytsem perhaps insist that FRA’s have a more comprehensive review every 3/5/7years or so and one that is so often missing … ensure that fire strategy drawings are available on site to guide the building managers on site.
No building control or planning application accepted as valid for coemmercail premises unless a FRA ( and fire stratgey drawings) reviewed by competent person less than two years old is available.