Q: As “responsible” people the directors carried out the Fire Risk Assessment, updated every year. One of our directors suggested that we should get it externally reviewed.
FPRA Chairman Bob Smytherman replies:
A: Fire Risk Assessment, as you can appreciate, is keeping the FPRA busy advising members since the tragedy in London this year.
Under the current legislation – which I suspect may change once the independent enquiry has reported – you are quite within the law as directors fulfilling your duty as ‘responsible persons’ by completing a FRA. Currently only a ‘watching brief’ is required to keep this under review and no need for external review. Unless there are substantial changes to the risk at your block this review only needs to be pretty ‘light touch’.
What I would recommend to reassure your fellow directors is to seek some independent advice from your local fire service who are responsible for compliance under the Act. Most fire services or council building control departments will review this for you free of charge and will provide a good overview. Any recommendations they make are reasonable and proportionate, whereas if you employ a private company to do this there is a risk that any proposals they make may be ‘over the top’ to generate income for their company and less in your interests.
Ultimately the directors are the responsible persons and need to reach a balanced view about the ‘reasonableness’ of any fire safety improvements that may be necessary
[Submitted September 2017]