MG Fire Safety Group

Fire Risk Assessment Reading, Fire Risk Assessment in Caversham, Earley, Woodley, Twyford, Sonning, Three Mile Cross, Burghfield, Theale, Calcot, Pangbourne, Crowthorne, Shinfield, Winnersh & Wokingham - Reading Fire Safety & Berkshire Fire Safety - Protecting Life, Property & Infrastructure throughout Reading & the Royal County of Berkshire - MG Fire Safety Group.

Services


"Protecting Life, Property & Infrastructure"

Fire Risk Assessment

MG Fire Safety Group are ex-fire & rescue services & fully qualified & accredited life safety fire risk assessors through the Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE). Our fire risk assessors can conduct a fire risk assessment on any type of commercial or residential premises. Our fire risk assessors have each conducted 1000's of fire risk assessments for both workplace and residential types of premises. Our experience will assist you in passing fire authority, local council authority, local building control fire inspections & provide insurers & solicitors with legal fire inspection reports - Call 0800 999 8595.

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Fire Extinguisher Service

We provide fire extinguisher service, supply & maintenance for all workplace premises from offices to shops through to colleges, hospitals & industrial factories. We can also survey your workplace as part of our standard annual fire extinguisher service plan. We provide full installation of every type of fire extinguisher to meet BS 5306-8: 2012/ 2021 and full service routines to meet BS 5306-3: 2017 by BAFE qualified fire extinguisher service technicians. Fire Extinguisher Service, Supply & Maintenance - We take pride in our fire safety equipment & signage installation services - Call 0800 999 8595.

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Fire Warden Training

Our fire safety consultants are all ex-fire service with each over 30 years experience in fire service, safety & training. We offer 3 types of fire safety training courses. Fire warden course & practical hot fire extinguisher course conducted on-site. In-addition or separate, on-line fire safety e-training courses are provided. Each designed to assist the clients needs and budget. Our fire safety training services meet each clients legal requirements. Whether you need on-line or on-site fire training, we address all of our clients needs - Do you need to know how many staff need fire training - Call 0800 999 8595.

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Fire Risk Assessment - Residential

MG Fire Safety Group are ex-fire & rescue services & fully qualified & accredited life safety fire risk assessors through the Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE). Our fire risk assessors conduct fire risk assessments on all types of residential premises. Our fire risk assessors have each conducted 1000's of fire risk assessments for purpose built blocks of flats as well as converted houses to flats, such as Georgian, Victorian & Edwardian (house-to-flat conversions). Houses in Multiple Occupation or HMO's, as they are commonly known, licensing purposes fire risk assessments are required. We have assisted many appropriate landlords in managing their properties and continue to do so for many estate agents, property management companies and suitable private landlords. Our experience will assist you in passing fire authority, local council authority & building control fire inspections & provide insurers, solicitors, banks & financial institutions with an legal fire fire risk assessment inspection report to assist credit & confirm your building control - Call 0800 999 8595.

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Features


"Life Safety, Building Safety & Fire Safety Consultancy"

 

Fire Safety Strategy

A fire strategy covers many areas. Our technical fire safety, guides our clients in occupancy characteristics & floor space factors for all types of premises & takes into account the number of fire escape routes & the size of fire doors. Providing maximum occupancy.

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Fire Safety Management

All business premises, no matter how small or large, require suitable fire safety management policies and procedures to suit the needs of the business environment in-which they operate. Suitable fire safety management protects life, property & infrastructure.

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Fire Evacuation Drills

Fire evacuation drills, emergency evacuation drills, personal emergency evacuation plans & general emergency evacuation plans are required by the majority of workplaces. The frequency & type depends on the size & nature of your workplace operations.

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Fire Door Survey Report

Fire doors are life and property protection devices designed to allow occupants to escape in a fire, prevent a fire from spreading from its room of fire origin & provide the fire & rescue services time to carry out vital fire fighting operations. Need to know more?

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Fire Alarm Zone Plans

Fire alarm systems are designed to provide early warning when they operate. Suitable evacuation depends on many factors. A fire alarm zone & fire alarm escape plan is primary & required to expedite occupants escape & assist fire & rescue service access operations.

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About


"Qualified & Experienced Fire Safety Professionals - We Are All 30 Years Ex-Fire Service & Fire Safety Consultants"

About
MG Fire Safety Group formed in 2005 to provide vital fire safety services to all commercial & residential business premises to assist in the implementation of the Regulatory Reform (Fire) (Safety) Order 2005 (RRO/ FSO).
We are ex-fire service fire fighters, fire safety officers & fire safety consultants of 30 years.

We are IFE life safety fire risk assessors & fire safety managers, providing building & fire safety management plans, fire safety training, fire safety evacuation plans, fire extinguisher servicing, fire warden training, fire door surveys, fire compartment surveys, fire engineering solutions & fire safety strategy planning reports.

We provide legal fire risk assessments to ensure our clients provision of:

1. Life Safety
2. Property Protection & 
3. Business Resilience

We enjoy working with like-minded professionals.

Our Fire Risk Assessors Are Fully Qualified:

1.Full-time Fire Fighters & Fire Safety since 1991
2. Life Safety Fire Risk Assessors
3. Complex Premises Fire Risk Assessors
4. Passive Fire Protection Fire Risk Assessors
5. Fire Safety Strategy - Fire Consultants

See Services - Features - Articles - Any questions? Please complete our brief on-line Contact-Us form or call - 0800 999 8595.

F.A.Q


Dear All,

We understand the need for FAQ's - Questions & Answers:

We do advise, that we are a fire safety consultancy service that can only answer the majority of technical questions as an employed fire safety consultant, fire safety strategy assessor, building control assessor, fire risk assessor or, fire warden trainer or, fire extinguisher technician from clients/ companies directly & as paying clients. Your basic questions are likely answered within our websites.

We have however, provided exceptional FREE guidance within our FAQ's.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure our answers are both legal & up to date, we cannot accept responsibility for any changes in law or, updates that you have not addressed through an suitable & sufficient fire risk assessment, fire safety strategy or, fire safety management plan.

Please Note: There are some questions we will not answer online/ over the phone? Why?
Answering could be illegal & technically & professionally immoral:-
This is to protect our clients & any new enquiries, whilst ensuring the highest standards.

Any answers required legally should be sought through an suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment or, Fire Safety Strategy Report - MG Fire Safety Group can provide these reports.

Q. Clarification of other companies questions or, our fire safety strategy answers.
A. We CAN liaise with other companies, to enable your Fire Safety Strategy Plan.

Q. Answering technical questions on the phone or, via email.
A. Paying Clients - CAN DO, following a booked Fire Risk Assessment or, Fire Safety Strategy Plan.

Legal Guidance & Professional Fire Safety Consultants:-

This can be done through - MG Fire Safety Group - Fire Risk Assessment or, Fire Safety Strategy Report and Local Council Authority, Building Control & Local Authority Fire & Rescue Services.

MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595
The RRFSO 2005 - Article 9:- Fire Risk Assessment:

Fire safety law and guidance documents for business is available & addresses:

The responsible person (RP), must make suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the measures they need to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on them by the Order.

The nature of the assessment will vary according to the type and use of the premises, the persons who use or may use the premises, and the risks associated with that use.

A fire risk assessment should be reviewed regularly by the responsible person to keep it up to date, valid and to reflect any significant changes that may have taken place.


Fire risk assessments are legal documents & will be used in a court of law:

1. Are you fire risk assessment & fire safety qualified?
2. Are you fire risk assessment & fire safety experienced?
3. Can you interpret fire safety law & apply it to residential or workplaces?
4. Can you interpret the building regulations and equally apply it?
5. Do you know what other codes & standards are required for your premises?
6. Do you know how many people can legally occupy your premises?
7. Is your fire escape route protected or unprotected?
8. Is the fire safety strategy suitable for your building environment?
9. Are active fire protection systems installed as required by the law?
10. Are passive fire protection systems assessed and addressed?

In-answer, YES & NO
It all depends on your knowledge & the type & size of premises to be assessed.


Can employees be held accountable for failures under article 23 of the Order?

Employees can only be held to account by way of legal proceedings for an offence under article 32(2)(a). Employees avoid being issued with an Enforcement Notice because the Notice must be served on a responsible person (or article 5(3) duty holder). The duties associated with these persons specifically exclude matters relating to article 23. Instead, poor employee behaviour must be addressed through other articles.


Who is the responsible person (RP)?

Meaning of "responsible person"

Under the RRFSO 2005 (3) "responsible person" means_

(a) in relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control:

(b) in relation to any premises not falling within paragraph (a)--

(i) the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or

(ii) the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in the connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.

The responsible person concept is established, as a hierarchy at article 3.
The hierarchy consists of three elements with the first being the employer (where there is one), being given this responsibility to bring the Order into compliance with European Directives.

The other responsible persons (in descending order) are, where there is no employer, the person in control of the premises (in connection with a trade, business or other undertaking whether for profit or not) and finally the owner.

The inclusion of the second responsible person on the hierarchy is to increase the scope of fire law to include many more premises than had previously been included, such as voluntary sectors, places of religious worship, self-employed persons, residential management committee members etc.

The employer is held by strict liability under the Order & will always be held to be the "responsible person" where the workplace is to any extent under his control.


MG Fire Safety Group - Fire Risk Assessment or, Fire Safety Strategy Report and Local Council Authority, Building Control & Local Authority Fire & Rescue Services.

MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595
Article 8 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire) (Safety) Order 2005

Imposes on the responsible person the duty to implement the preventive and protective measures which have been evaluated in the risk assessment.

By virtue of this article, the responsible person is under a duty to ensure that general fire precautions are in place to ensure the safety of any of his or her employees or, of any relevant persons who are not his or her employees.

Fire risk assessments are required to be reviewed annually by law at a minimum.
Fire risk assessments are also required to be reviewed when:

1. Any material alteration has taken place to the building
2. Any significant changes in operations to the business are implemented
3. Any change of use or occupation to the building
4. Any change of directors or fire safety management to the building
5. Any intervals required by law and other codes of practice

The above list is not exhaustive and an suitable & sufficient fire risk assessment should guide your workplace or, residential premises in the required frequencies.

What is an Fire Risk Assessment Review?

Basically, it is a fire risk assessment.
It is called a review if you have had a previous fire risk assessment and the company visiting again are only providing brief guidance, termed as an review.

It could also be the company that conducted the original report are not returning and the client wishes to conduct their own internal inspection (review).

If the original report was thorough, then it may well be possible for the clients to conduct their own internal review if they are confidant and able to do so, utilising the original report findings and guidance, but only if certain areas have not changed, or, it is suspected that an full inspection is required by law, as briefly indicated in numbers 1-5 above or, your suitable fire risk assessment.

The majority of experienced and qualified fire risk assessors should basically conduct an full fire risk assessment inspection and provide you with a new and updated full report. This may be because a few simple things could have changed but were not advised to the assessor, affecting the original report and requiring further legal guidance, or simply because the premises requires an full inspection for insurance and life safety purposes each year, or if the premises are complex or the general public are permitted on-site.

Ultimately, the fire risk assessor takes all the legal responsibility for the contents of the report, so for an assessor to not conduct an full fire risk assessment report each year would require exceptional circumstances.

Such as, when an residential property fire risk assessment review of the communal areas can be conducted by the resident management company. An example would be the initial inspection was conducted and the remedial life safety and passive fire safety works were all completed. The following year, the visiting company confirmed this and provided an second full report reflecting these works and that your communal areas were now low risk.

It is now, the resident management company, with suitable procedures and guidance, can conduct their own internal communal areas fire risk assessment review. However, it is advised and appropriate, for another full fire risk assessment to be carried-out again by an external company every 3 years to maintain your insurance and of-course, peace of mind. Again, unless any of the numbers 1-5 above are conducted or your FRA report advises as legally appropriate e.g. stay put procedures or evacuation procedures updates and remediation required etc. to name but a few.

How much should a Fire Risk Assessment or FRA Review Cost?

An experienced & qualified assessor providing an suitable & sufficient fire risk assessment to HELP you pass local authority fire & rescue service audit or local authority building control audit or, an solicitor or bank audit, should cost as much as it costs to reflect the type, size & required information for your premises to pass such audits.

The overall cost may also reflect the knowledge & experience the qualified fire risk assessor may be willing to work for i.e. Time, knowledge & assistance provided varies for everyone. Some companies charge extra consulting fees to just discuss their reports, others do it as part of their service.


Residential Premises - Guide to Costs:

An example of basic costs for an suitable & sufficient and professionally prepared fire risk assessment document costings example.

An 2-storey 6 bed HMO cost £ 350.00 + £25.00 Fire Officer Service Attendance
An 2-storey communal areas purpose built flats cost £ 350.00 + FOSA
An 2-storey communal areas converted house to flats cost £ 350.00 + FOSA
Expect to add £100.00 per floor (as further legal guidance is required).


Commercial Premises - Guide to Costs:

These premises inspections and reports can vary considerably.
Example of recent inspection costs for legal: Fire Risk Assessment Reports:

The local Grocery Shop/ Store (single storey) outlet cost £ 350.00
The local Hairdresser/ Barber (single storey) outlet cost £ 350.00
The local Pub/ Restaurant (single storey) outlet cost £ 650.00

An Office Unit (single storey) outlet cost @ £ 400.00
An Office Block (Communal areas 2-storey) cost @ £ 650.00
An Office Block (Communal areas 2-storey) + u/g car park & roof) @ £ 950.00

An Factory (single storey) cost @ £ 1000.00
An Factory (multiple units - single storey) @ £ 1000.00 + TBD

A Place Of Worship/ Church & Facilities (single storey) cost @ £ 500.00
A Place Of Worship/ Church (multiple units & two storey) @ £ 1000.00 + TBD

An Residential Care Premises (2-storey/ 48 beds) @ £ 1500.00 = 1x site
An Residential Care Premises (2-storey/ 48 beds) @ £ 1250.00 = 5x per site
An Residential Care Premises (2-storey/ 6 beds) cost @ £ 650.00 = 1x site
An Residential Care Premises (2 storey/ 6 beds) cost @ £ 450.00 = 5x per site

A Nightclub (single storey) cost @ £ 500.00
A Nightclub (two storey) cost @ £ 1000.00

Please note:

Our reports are legally compliant, suitable & sufficient & have passed both fire service, local authority council, local authority building control, solicitor, insurance, bank & financial institutions assessor audits in ALL years (0 report failures since start of trading in 2005).
Our charges may well increase exponentially.

MG Fire Safety Group - Fire Risk Assessment or, Fire Safety Strategy Report and Local Council Authority, Building Control & Local Authority Fire & Rescue Services.


MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595
Fire Extinguisher Guidance: Purpose Built Blocks Of Flats:

The provision of fire extinguishers and other forms of fire-fighting equipment in common parts for use by residents is problematic. It is not expected that residents should need to tackle a fire in their flats to make their escape.

Indeed, to obtain a fire extinguisher located in the common parts for this purpose would involve the person leaving their flat in the first place.

This does not preclude residents from providing their own fire extinguishers and fire blankets. Indeed, it may be appropriate for landlords, and others responsible for the common parts, to encourage this as part of the process of engaging with, and educating residents on, fire safety.

We recommend that an suitable & sufficient fire risk assessment is conducted - In many instances, this can save you money in areas of fire protection equipment that is actually not required.

Please Note: An suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment should identify where fire extinguishers are required by law. In-turn, it should also indicate where fire extinguishers can potentially affect life safety.

Alternately; we have clients that want fire extinguishers in the flat communal areas, in-which case, we have provided the necessary guidance for them to remain legal in this application whilst deviating from local authorities guidance.

This is done through - MG Fire Safety Group - Fire Risk Assessment or, Fire Safety Strategy Report and Local Council Authority, Building Control & Local Authority Fire & Rescue Services.

MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595
Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services: LACoRS

YES - However, the number and location of these fire extinguishers will depend on several factors. The council will have their own legal requirements for your minimum provisions and a fire risk assessment will identify certain factors.

This is relevant whether your premises require a licence or not.

An suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment should guide you appropriately as to the number and location, or indeed, if they are required or, whether practical or not, for the individual/ specific type of HMO to be assessed (not all are the same).

Again, several factors will need to be assessed competently. We recommend you have a fire risk assessment conducted. It can actually save lives & save you money in unnecessary fire protection systems that may, or may not be required.

Please Note: Some local authority inspectors have advised multi-purpose fire extinguishers (dry powder), for the communal areas of an HMO in-writing, to help save money for the HMO applicants licence. This is incorrect/ wrong.

Dry Powder: can cause visibility problems and breathing problems once discharged - especially with asthma sufferers, which can cause an asthma attack.
Basically, dry powder can kill if installed. Dry powder is also not suitable for use indoors due to the above and several more reasons that our suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment may identify/ address suitably for you.

Therefore; it may be that your premises requires a mixture of water & Co2 for each floor of the common areas, as well as covering the kitchen hazards.

In-turn, it may also be unsuitable for this - As we say - An suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment will discuss these reasons why, whilst providing appropriate reasoning & guidance pertaining to each individual HMO premises fire safety.

This is done through - MG Fire Safety Group - Fire Risk Assessment or, Fire Safety Strategy Report and Local Council Authority, Building Control & Local Authority Fire & Rescue Services.

MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595
Can I use an ALL class liquid or powder based fire extinguisher to cover ALL fire hazards within my workplace? This is an popular question asked by many due to some 35 kV ratings applied.

The most prominent being - Can I use a water fire extinguisher on my electrical equipment that claims to put-out all classes of fire (as it has an 35 kV fire rating)?

In-short, NO you can't..!

Whilst the extinguisher products, if suitably tested 'can do' what they say on the tin, there are many H&S implications that are not clearly identified by many professionals & can lead to further life safety risks if not identified or, fire risk assessed suitably.

Firstly, what does 35 kV mean?

When testing fire extinguishers for suitability, they are given classes and fire ratings to denote the type of fire they are capable of extinguishing & the size of test fire they can actually extinguish, if used in the hands of a trained person.

For example: An 6 litre foam fire extinguisher can extinguish a type (class B fire involving flammable liquids such as petrol, oil, adhesives & spirits etc) and can extinguish the class B fire to the size of 113 B - This means the foam fire extinguisher has extinguished a test fire of 113 litres of flammable liquid materials to the required British Standard test requirements, thus, the extinguisher earns an impressive '113 B - Fire Rating Classification'.

However, an approved fire extinguisher carrying the 35 kV test for electrical fires has a few more stipulations in its use, such as - the test is conducted via an extinguisher sited 1 meter away from the steel electrical plate to ascertain if an lethal charge of electricity runs back through the extinguisher.

Note: if the electric charge is 'below the required amount' then the extinguisher is given 35 kV status.

This basically translates:

The 35 kV tested fire extinguisher is only certified safe so long as - if used directly onto an electrical appliance of less than 35 kV & the user stands 1m away from the appliance on fire, then you should not be electrocuted? This occurs via de-ionised water - However, there is no evidence the water or other solution cannot become ionised when in contact with ANY other combustible materials.

In real life - fire extinguisher USER fire safety terms, translate:

An extinguisher with an 'added 35 kV rating', is best used for the class of fire it was intended for; Such as an water fire extinguisher with an class A fire rating is intended for (flammable solids like paper, wood & plastics etc).
However, it may also carry an added 35 kV rating - So the benefits of the 35 kV fire rating would only be beneficial -

"if whilst tackling an class A fire, the fire extinguishing medium (water), is inadvertently applied to or, passed over an electrical appliance by the user, (computer, socket, battery charger etc) that is less than 35,000 volts -
Then the user would be safe from electrocution in that specific environment & application of trained use of the operator provided accidental application over electrical appliances or, albeit 1m away and any other safety data sheet requirements for each individual product for 35 kV suitability was adhered to strictly".

Pros:

1. May be suitable for complex premises such as large fuel depots
2. May be suitable for many households & standard private kitchens in homes
3. Ideal for the fire & rescue service for quick reaction & trained operational use

Cons:

1. Staff training can become convoluted for many extinguishers in workplaces
2. Fire risk assessments will have to verify if suitable for each premises
3. Extinguisher use, damage, parts & replacement costs will increase
4. If fire extinguisher is used incorrectly, electrocution of staff occurs
5. Workplace insurance lawsuit against company for staff injury/ loss of life

One point missed by many professionals in the application & use of the 35 kV status is that - the fire extinguisher user/ operative MUST BE trained & the unit/ extinguisher MUST BE used at the 1m discharge/ use position - Otherwise, the user is (at risk) from ELECTROCUTION - not the equipment technician, supplier or distributor, but the users life is at risk..!

An suitable & sufficient fire risk assessment should guide your workplace or, residential premises in the extinguishers required and deemed safe for use in the environment in-which they are to be used.

MG Fire Safety Group have advised many on the above, we choose to provide this information online to educate more and promote life safety over sales.

This is done through - MG Fire Safety Group - Fire Risk Assessment or, Fire Safety Strategy Report and Local Council Authority, Building Control & Local Authority Fire & Rescue Services.

MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595
External Wall Systems & Cladding Systems - EWS1 Form:

These forms are being requested by many:

1. Estate Agents
2. Solicitors
3. Banks &
4. Insurance Companies

They are also asking for an Fire Risk Assessment to address & sign-off on the EWS-1 form?
More appropriately, designated managers are asking for these reports..?

Please Note:

An fire risk assessment will not be suitable or sufficient for an EWS-1 form.
Cladding inspections or other external wall systems will require much further inspections & engineered guidance.

That is to say: Cladding inspections shall comply to relevant standards such as:

1. BS 8414-1: 2020 &
2. BS 8414-2: 2020
3. ADBv1 + ADBv2: Fire Safety 2019 & BR 135

PLEASE BE ADVISED:

It is expected your building control engineer and project manager should be able to provide all the information required by-law, to sign the EWS-1 form as requested.
If not, then the JOB may well be compromised..?

Furthermore, the performance of the cladding materials tested will depend on the design, materials, workmanship & maintenance, as well as the O&M Manual.

If the above is in doubt, your property/ site may not be, compliant to the LAW.

This can be done through - MG Fire Safety Group Fire Safety Strategy Report or, BRE Group & Local Council Authority, Building Control & Local Fire & Rescue Services.

MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595
Simultaneous Evacuation Strategy Guides:

We would urge those interested and with questions to fully read the new edition of the guidance and refer to the FAQ’s listed below. Whilst the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) is not responsible for the design, build, sign off or maintenance of buildings, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is committed to ensure the communities we serve are safe and believe this guidance helps us ensure consistent direction and understanding for those responsible for implementing it.

It is important to note that it is the Responsible Person along with their competent person in conjunction with the fire risk assessment that makes the decision to change strategy, not the FRS.

Q. What is Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance for and when should it be used?

A. If a building has been identified as high risk because of an unsuitable external wall system or other fire safety measures, interim fire safety arrangements can be adopted for the temporary, short-term management and mitigation from the risk of a fire and the risk to life if a fire occurs. These arrangements can range from simple steps to remove potential ignition sources that might give rise to a fire, through to a change in the evacuation strategy for a building, moving from Stay Put to Simultaneous Evacuation supported by the installation of a common fire alarm and/or a waking watch.

The aim of a waking watch is to ensure there is sufficient warning in the event of fire to support the evacuation strategy and has been utilised in buildings before the Grenfell Tower fire. It is intended for very short periods of time whilst the increased risk is being urgently addressed through either remediation or the installation of a common fire alarm system.

Q. Why was there a need for the guidance in the first place – surely residents should have been rehomed?

A: It was identified following the tragic Grenfell Tower Fire that there were many more buildings with similar cladding. The level of risk to life, as a result of a fire involving these external wall systems, could not be ignored. In some cases, the only alternative housing options would place people into even worse living conditions, and potentially leave others without accommodation. To enable people to continue to live in relative safety in their own homes, interim solutions were needed to mitigate the risk.

Although waking watch had been used in buildings before Grenfell it became clear following the Grenfell Tower fire that no central guidance existed on how to consistently implement these arrangements. This needed to be rectified urgently given the emerging scale of the problem and the need to support Responsible Persons to implement measures effectively and consistently.

In response to this need, NFCC convened a group of industry professionals to produce a technical guide on arrangements to support a temporary change to the evacuation strategy. In the absence of a common fire alarm, the central premise of this guidance is how to ensure that all residents can be alerted by the waking watch and an evacuation commenced within 10-15 minutes, with due regard to the number of flats on each floor, the height of building, travel distances, time taken to raise the alarm and the needs and vulnerabilities of all residents. In producing the guide, the group sought to ensure the safety of residents, and prevent removing people from their homes, whilst fully accepting that the principle way to reduce risk was to urgently remediate the non-compliant external wall systems.

Q. Who are the ‘experts’ involved in writing this guidance?

A. The NFCC have worked with experts from the following organisations and government departments to produce this edition of the guidance:

The Government’s Independent Expert Advisory Panel; Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government; Fire Industry Association; Institution of Fire Engineers; Fire Brigades Union; Optivo; Association of Residential Managing Agents; London Councils; Local Government Association; Home Office, and London Fire Brigade.

Q: Why are we now on edition 3 of this guidance?

A. Guidance needs continually reviewing to ensure it is fit for purpose. Having liaised with leaseholders we recognise that temporary measures that were only ever expected to be in place for a short period of time, remain in place and are costly to leaseholders. Therefore, there was the need for remediation to make things more practical for leaseholders.

The stakeholder group are deeply conscious of the impacts arising from the delays in remediating buildings and consequent extended use of interim measures have on residents and leaseholders. The same residents and leaseholders who are being protected from the risk of rapid fire spread, are instead experiencing other significant consequences through no fault of their own. These include the ongoing high costs of waking watches and insurance products, an inability to sell or re-mortgage their properties, financial stress and unacceptable impacts on mental health and wellbeing.

In some cases, freeholders and developers have not stepped up to the expectations placed upon them to fund remediation or interim measures. NFCC, and others, have advocated for government funding for remediation, and on 11 March 2020 the Government announced £1 billion would be available for owners to apply for the removal of non-ACM combustible cladding, in addition to the £600 million for unsafe ACM.

Whilst these steps have been taken, it seems that in some cases, barriers to remediation may remain for some time and therefore the need to make clear what short term should look like in the guidance was imperative.

Q: What are the key changes to this edition?

A. The key changes are as follows:

  • Advice to consult with residents and leaseholders to explore cost/benefit options, with emphasis placed on the need to fully and properly consider the installation of common fire alarms where measures are now, or are likely in the future to be in place for the longer term.

  • Clear distinction between waking watch and evacuation management as separate roles.

Definitions for the terms:


  • Short-term – the time required to formulate a longer-term remediation plan, as soon as practically possible and no longer than 12 months; and

  • Temporary – non-permanent measures implemented to mitigate an unacceptable risk in a building, as an interim measure, adopted for the safety of residents while works to rectify the identified fire safety failings are carried out.

Q: What does this guidance mean for me?

A: This updated guidance means that all Responsible Persons for affected buildings should review their fire risk assessment to ensure the fire safety arrangements including the interim measures in place are appropriate, informed by this guidance and the advice of a competent person.

Q: What about buildings where remediation can’t happen in the short term – how are the leaseholders meant to afford the ongoing costs of interim solutions such as waking watches?

A: We have ensured the guidance clearly underscores the stakeholder group and NFCC’s firm and long held expectation that building owners should move to install common fire alarms as quickly as possible to reduce or remove the dependence on waking watches. This is the clear expectation for buildings where remediation cannot be undertaken in the ‘short term’. This approach should, in almost all circumstances, reduce the financial burden on residents where they are funding the waking watches.

Q: How do I ensure if a Waking Watch is provided to my building, they are fully competent to carry out this important role?

A: It is the duty of the Responsible Person for the building to ensure that the waking watch are competent to carry out the role. The updated guidance now includes appendices to advise Responsible Persons of the management considerations to take into account when specifying a waking watch and also outlines the person specifications to be considered for roles as part of the waking watch and evacuation management.

The role of the waking watch is specific to the individual building, and therefore the training needs to be building specific.

Companies providing waking watch services have their own duties as employers for the safety of their staff working in these buildings and to ensure they are competent and fully trained to carry out the role.

Source: NFCC - National Fire Chiefs Council:
https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/ 

MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595
PU Foam - We often see on our fire risk assessment inspections, PU foam, filling all and sundry holes/ gaps/ and also providing seals for wood or plasterboard fixtures, as well as plastic pipe fixtures, amongst many other illegal attempts at fire stopping.

It is understood knowledge is lacking in many areas of passive fire protection, this is why we are providing FREE guidance here to encourage ALL with an interest to learn more and ensure when you pay money, you get exactly what you are paying for - that is - property protection & life safety.

Other than what we report in our fire risk assessment findings, we often get asked separately by many - can we use fire rated foam to fill the gaps or holes located in walls, corridors or through service pipe penetrations or, on cable trays separating rooms?

First of all - what is PU foam?
PU stands for Polyurethane and the foam itself comes sold as an 4 hour fire rated product. It is usually discharged with a pink colour to identify the fact it is a fire rated foam product. Some colours vary, such as Blue 60, for fire door architraves.

So, the PU fire rated foam - Is it fire rated?

YES, however, you MUST realise the use in-which the foam is to be installed.
For example, to achieve the 4 hour fire rating, the foam would need to be applied within dimensions not exceeding 10 mm width x 50 mm depth.

To confirm this, you would need to provide an fire strategy identifying the width and depth by both written evidence & pictorial evidence, prior to application.

By doing this, you would confirm for fire risk assessment, local authority fire safety inspecting officers, local authority building control officers & your insurers, that the fire rating claimed, is indeed that to which you have confirmed legally in both writing & pictorial evidence. Thus ensuring, any legal implications can be managed suitably.

It pays to be diligent!

So, if you applied the same product to an area of 50 mm width x 10 mm depth, the fire rating would be reduced dramatically by an massive 3 hours 49 minutes drop time - Thus only achieving 11 minutes of fire resistance. Not the 4 hours stipulated on the tin..!

Therefore, the 4 hour fire rating only applies in the most exceptional circumstance, where dimensions for its use are met and measured accurately.
Thus, it is very likely, most PU foam fire rating seals provided throughout the UK, will not be achieving the desired or expected fire rating that is required.
Furthermore, fire rated foam alone, is almost always not suitable.

In-short:

10 mm width x 50 mm depth = Application = 280 minutes fire rating.
50 mm width x 10 mm depth = Application = 11 minutes fire rating.

Installation techniques can have an major effect on the fire resistance of PU fire rated foam - In subsequent tests, the PU foam 'time to failure' in cable tray applications was in 9 mins & 7 mins, under laboratory test conditions. Not the 4 hours claimed by the installation engineers..!

Remember this?

Don't just let anyone conduct your fire stopping or passive fire protection installations. Check they know what they are doing. Check they are qualified passive fire protection installers & finally, check they have third party accreditation for passive fire protection products & installations, as this is the fabric of your building and if the job is not done correctly, it could well cost you your property, your business, your livelihood and worst case scenario - a LIFE..!

We conduct fire risk assessments on commercial and residential properties throughout Reading, Berkshire, for private landlords, commercial landlords/ letting agents, estate agents & all commercial businesses. We are helping many to identify failings in passive fire protection and remedy areas that could have cost a fortune or, a LIFE.

The key is to identify, then you can manage the risks suitably as your budget dictates (as per), your fire safety management policy & procedures may indicate or, an suitable Fire Safety Strategy.

MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595

Fire alarm systems are provided within commercial & residential properties as both an legal requirement or, as an engineered method to ensure:

1. Early warning of fire & smoke provision plus+
2. Provide enough time for persons to escape to an final place of safety

Many organisations can become confused over the requirements of the fire alarm system fitted, required and/ or managed within their premises.

Such as - Commercial Office Blocks or, Blocks of Flats or, HMO Properties.

This can be because either multiple occupancy shared premises are used or, separate management companies are organising the fire risk assessment and fire alarm services.

Primarily, it is because not enough 'helpful information' is provided to the client/ end-user to HELP ensure both training & knowledge of their premises fire alarm systems are maintained - Insofar as (all end-users) have an suitable fire alarm system working 'in-harmony' with their fire evacuation strategy & management policy procedure for their building occupancy.

The organisation may have regards the system or type of system installed, other than that indicated in an 'Certificate of Inspection'.

However, it may not know if its call points or other devices linked to the fire alarm panel are being serviced, maintained & checked to British Standards or indeed, if the systems in-place are actually legally required..?

As fire risk assessors, our job is to assess the building and building services provided related to life safety protection - an example includes services as:

1. Fire Alarm Systems - Commercial - BS 5839- Part 1
2. Fire Alarm Systems - Residential - BS 5839 - Part 6

We see many installations and reporting certificates of inspection relating to each individual type of premises. Right & Wrong..!

9x out of 10, most fire alarm certificates indicate one way or the other - (subject to an suitable fire risk assessment)..! In other words, an suitable fire risk assessment is required to approve or validate their certificate of inspection. Read into it what you will. It is clear an Fire Risk Assessment is required in almost ALL cases.


Fire Alarm System Classification: Commercial Premises:

Fire Alarm Systems - Commercial Properties: BS 5839 - Part 1


L1 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)

L2 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)

L3 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)

L4 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)

L5 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)


P1 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)

P2 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)


Fire Alarm System Classification: Residential Premises:

Fire Alarm Systems - Residential Properties: BS 5839 - Part 6


LD1 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)

LD2 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)

LD3 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)


PD1 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)

PD2 - Fire Risk Assessment to discuss (if required)


Smoke & Heat Detection come/with Carbon Monoxide:

Carbon Monoxide: Multi-Use - Smoke, Heat & C0 Detection: Combination..?


Many smoke & heat detection units, come/ with C0 (carbon monoxide) detection, are the one-fits-all solution for fire & C0 detection - Incorrect.

Smoke/ Heat detectors that come/ with 'carbon monoxide' detection will STILL require an separate C0 detector alarm unit for your individual gas boiler unit.

We strongly advise ANY smoke or heat detection units provided with carbon monoxide cells, and as such, conform to the environment they are sited within.

We also suggest that ALL Carbon Monoxide (ALARMS), are assessed, installed & sited & fitted separately to ANY required fire & smoke detection units assessed/ fitted and/ or required for the building to BS 5839 parts 1 or 6.

This type of alarm (C0 - carbon monoxide), is intended to give an alarm signal at much higher carbon monoxide levels than any other type of combined carbon monoxide fire & smoke/ heat detectors, and as such, they (combined smoke/ heat & C0 units), are therefore 'NOT SUITABLE' as providing both, any  or, all to the required British Standards & more importantly, either being suitable, independent &/ or,  appropriate - Carbon Monoxide (C0) alarm detection for life safety.

Therefore, independent (carbon monoxide) C0 ALARM detection is ALWAYS required where gas boilers or, other gas burning equipment is installed such as fire places, gas boilers & other gas burning units/ equipment provided where sleeping occurs or, other life safety issues may arise.

Fire risk assess both suitably & legally.
We hope this assists you further.


MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595

Do I actually need an - Fire Safety Strategy?

Whilst the Building Regulations and the approved document B provide legal guidance that should adequately deliver a compliant building based on achieving the level of functional requirements as detailed in AD B1-B5 for both commercial &/or domestic buildings albeit for life safety, it does not necessarily provide an answer to your fire safety strategy requirements.

Architects. Building Construction & Building Control, should be made aware and clearly instructed at the 'earliest stages' of ANY NEW BUILD of the project requirements and expectations. Otherwise they will most likely build what you tell them to build. In some circumstances, approval in the end may well be refused as information was not managed accordingly by your architect or an LABC private company.

Therefore, you may well indeed require an 'Fire Safety Strategy'.
This may be to provide legal written information where your Architect could not provide in the earliest stages or, Building Control simply did not provide..?

That is to say:

Were the occupancy levels adequate for your premises?
Were open-plan areas and escape routes planned?
Are escape routes adequate for the future number of persons on-site (as well as the current) number of persons on-site - especially in high-rise office blocks where numbers and use or change of occupancy can occur overnight?

Many questions can & will be asked, especially by your local authority fire & rescue service - Whilst the LAFRS will look to life safety evacuation is established in the first instance, in the event your fire safety strategy only meets this, they may also only look to provide or establish 'Defensive Fire-fighting Operations' in the likelihood your building is going-to or, designed to burn-down.

This is where many other subjects become involved such as - YOUR OWN:

1. Fire risk assessment
2. Distance of travel
3. Type of fire compartmentation - fire doors
4. Type of fire compartmentation - fire escape corridors
5. Number and width of fire escape staircases
6. Width of final fire exit doors
7. Occupancy characteristics of building
8. Purpose group of building - Use or multi-use of the premises
9. Specific hazards associated to your premises
10. Specific vulnerable persons associated to your premises

The list goes-on and acts as an example of WHY an Fire Safety Strategy may well be requested by the Fire & Rescue Services to answer such questions.

As described above, they should have already been answered by Building Control. However, it is very often, Building Control simply pass this work over to Fire Risk Assessors to complete.
Usually at a very high cost to yourself - the Client/ End-User.

That is why we strongly advise in the first instance, architects & private building control companies are fully appraised and work closely with each other to ensure YOUR PROJECT both receives APPROVAL and that any further fire safety strategy is purely for management and business continuity purposes only, not legal building control or life safety escape issues.


Does the LAW require me to have an - Fire Safety Strategy?

Whilst the AD B1-B5 2019 (as amended) provides life safety guidance, further legal written guidance is also obtained via:

Regulation 6 - Management of premises
Regulation 7 - Additional requirements (insurance)
Regulation 38 - Provision of information

Whilst the Regulatory Reform (Fire) (Safety) Order 2005 - FSO

Article 8 - Responsible person 'must comply' requirements
Article 9 - Suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
Article 11 - Fire safety arrangements to manage the risk of fire

However, it must be noted, none of the above actually require an Fire Safety Strategy..?


What should I do next - Fire Safety Strategy?

Does your compliance look at LIFE SAFETY?
Does your compliance look at both PASSIVE & ACTIVE FIRE PROTECTION?
Does your maintenance & management have CLEAR FIRE SAFETY ROLES?
Does your compliance look at BUSINESS CONTINUITY?
Are directors involved in their own buildings FIRE SAFETY MANAGEMENT?

So, if you are knowledgeable & suitably compliant - See below:

1. You ARE compliant with legislation & regulations - CHECK = YES
2. You ARE managing risks identified & understand these risks - CHECK = YES

Can you be certain if you have a FIRE, you can predict what the extent will be?
What in the business elements can you afford to lose and for how long?

If this is known, you can build a structure that protects your business to the level that corresponds to your abilities & availability to provide CONTINGENCY.

Ultimately, your Fire Safety Strategy should ensure that the FIRE you may have, will not cause damage beyond that which your business can sustain.


MG Fire Safety Group
Email: info@mgfiresafetygroup.co.uk 
Tel: 0800 999 8595

Contact


Fire Risk Assessment Reading, Fire Risk Assessment in Caversham, Earley, Winnersh, Woodley, Sonning, Shinfield, Three Mile Cross, Burghfield, Theale, Calcot, Pangbourne, Crowthorne & Wokingham - Reading Fire Safety - Berkshire Fire Safety - Protecting Life, Property & Infrastructure throughout Reading & the Local Communities of the Royal County of Berkshire - MG Fire Safety Group.

  • 47 Furnival Avenue, Slough SL2 1DH, UK
  • Reading - Slough - London
  •  0800-999-8595
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