Risk may be defined as 'uncertainty of outcome', whether positive opportunity or negative impact, and is the product of the likelihood and consequence of uncertain events.
While every project involves some amount of risk, good risk management helps to reduce loss and more importantly, builds the confidence for innovation.
Over the last 15 years, the need for a variety of risk assessment and evaluation techniques has grown in the UK, very often in response to legal and regulatory requirements. In October 2006, the UK Government introduced the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRO), which has resulted in a change of focus with regard to fire protection, whilst simultaneously simplifying the legislative framework.
A number of existing laws have also been repealed by this Order. The main effect of the RRO is a move towards greater emphasis on fire prevention in all non-domestic premises, including the voluntary sector and self-employed people with premises separate from their homes. Fire certificates which were previously required have been abolished, and cease to have legal status.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order applies in England and Wales (Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own laws). The responsibility for compliance with its requirements rests with the 'responsible person', who has a duty to carry out, or arrange to be carried out a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment.
The fire risk assessment must focus on safety in case of fire of all 'relevant persons' and will assist in identifying risks that can be removed or reduced; further, to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions required to protect people against the fire risks that remain.
A series of guides have been produced in order to assist those preparing fire risk assessments; these give detailed information on risk assessments and other issues.
The Government has published the following series of RRO guides:
- offices and shops
- premises providing sleeping accommodation
- residential care premises
- small and medium places of assembly
- large places of assembly
- factories and warehouses
- theatres and cinemas
- educational premises
- healthcare premises (responsibility of the Department of Health)
- transport premises and facilities
- open air events and venues
- animal premises and stables
Halcrow's fire safety engineers have a wealth of experience in fire safety risk assessment and can fulfil the role of the 'competent person' required to undertake a reliable risk assessment under the new regulatory framework.
Our team have conducted a number of qualitative and quantitative fire risk assessments on diverse premises, and are able to professionally assess, and report on, fire risks as determined by on-site inspections, liaison with clients and other affected persons and the appraisal of documentation, plans and specifications of the property concerned.