Fire Industry Association Issues Guidance to Fire Risk Assessors

The Fire Industry Association, the UK’s largest not-for-profit fire protection trade association with over 900 members has recently issued helpful guidance for fire risk assessors when carrying out risk assessments on multi-occupied residential premises with external cladding.

The Guidance titled ‘The Issue of Cladding and External Wall Constructions in Fire Risk Assessments for Multi-Occupied Residential Premises’ is freely available to download on the FIA website and relates to fire risk assessments in England and Wales only.

The Guidance has been prepared by a Special Interest Group (SIG), comprising representatives of FIA member companies, other invited experts in the practice of fire risk assessment in housing premises and an observer from the National Fire Chiefs Council. Members of the SIG represent companies that carry out, in total, over 40,000 fire risk assessments for multi-occupied residential premises (blocks of flats and maisonettes) per annum. It has been published with the approval of the FIA Board. It was published after circulation to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the Home Office and the National Fire Chiefs Council, but opinions and guidance it sets out are those of the FIA and are not purported to represent those of consultees.

The FIA has a strong opinion on the role of fire risk assessors when assessing multi-occupied buildings and in particular, the external walls.  Of particular note are paragraphs 3.2.2 and 3.2.3 in which the FIA state “the skillset required to carry out a fire risk assessment of external walls is very different from that required to carry out fire risk assessments that have previously been undertaken for compliance with the Fire Safety Order.  There are very few within the fire risk assessment community who would possess those skills. It is completely unrealistic to expect a typical fire risk assessor to investigate the fire performance of external wall construction and cladding in the manner implied in the CAN (‘Consolidated Advice Note’ – advice for building owners of multi-storey, multi-occupancy residential buildings)”.

“It is the view of the FIA that if a legislative obligation to incorporate assessment of external wall construction is imposed on fire risk assessors, and that it is not acknowledged that this external wall assessment will normally require the services of a specialist, who should be appointed separately from the fire risk assessor, companies (including sole traders) engaged in fire risk assessment will decline to carry out fire risk assessments, at least for blocks of flats.  The effect will then, undoubtedly, be substantially to contract the already inadequate availability of competent fire risk assessors at a time when they are more required, particularly in relation to fire risk assessments for multi-occupied residential buildings.”

Download the guidance document from the FIA website

As the premier independent Certification body specialising in the fire and security sectors, NSI is authorised by BAFE to issue approval for the major BAFE fire safety schemes including Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment Scheme SP205.

Find out more about NSI approval for the BAFE Fire Safety Schemes.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.