Provision of fire safety information is mandatory says PFPF
But, says the Passive Fire Protection Federation (PFPF), there is little awareness of a requirement contained within the Building Regulations which makes it mandatory for fire safety information to be passed on to the building occupier on completion of a construction project.
Much has been done to educate building owners and occupiers and raise awareness of the requirements placed on them by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RR(FS)O). But, despite being a legal obligation, there is often confusion about what is needed to comply with Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations.
Regulation 38 applies to any new building or extension to which the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RR(FS)O) applies, and to any such building which has undergone a material change of use. For these buildings, the person carrying out the work is required to give fire safety information to the Responsible Person (as defined under the RR(FS)O).
The purpose of the Regulation is to assist the Responsible Person in fulfilling their duties in respect to fire safety for the building. The information required relates to the design and construction of the building or extension, and the services, fittings and equipment provided. This knowledge will assist the Responsible Person to operate and maintain the building or extension with reasonable safety.
Further guidance on what information may be appropriate is set out in Appendix G of Approved Document B, Volume 2. Divided into two parts, Appendix G gives recommendations on the type of information required for ‘Simple’ and ‘Complex’ buildings.
For simple buildings, only basic information on the location of fire protection measures is required. This information could take the form of a detailed as built plan showing escape routes, compartmentation, fire doors, automatic fire detection, smoke control systems and emergency lighting and signage; as well as firefighting equipment such as hydrants, extinguishers and sprinklers. Any assumptions relating to the design and management of the fire safety precautions should also be identified.
For more complex buildings, a more detailed record of the fire safety strategy should be provided. Information relating to all the assumptions in the design of the fire safety systems (such as fire load) and any risk analysis and assumptions about building management should also be included.
PFPF Chairman David Sugden declared: “ADB provides excellent guidance right through the construction phase of a building and on into its time of occupation”. Regulation 7 of the Building Regulations points people to third party certification to ensure the use of quality products and installers, while Regulation 38 requires information on what has been installed to be given to the Responsible Person.
Regulation 38 is not just a recommendation, it is a requirement, since this information can greatly improve the building occupier’s understanding of the safety precautions installed within a building.
“The system is complete. There is no excuse for a building to be unsafe in a fire. If it is, there is negligence somewhere, and someone has not followed the rules or the available guidance.”
For further information on fire safety legislation and third party certification schemes for all aspects of PFP, visit the PFPF website, www.pfpf.org.uk.