Passive Fire Protection Inspections Guide for a Risk Assessor

The role of a risk assessor is an extremely important one. As a fire risk assessor, you must possess the qualifications and experience in both active and passive fire protection disciplines as well as understand legislation and current building regulations.

The Role of Risk assessor in Passive Fire Protection

Although there are many vital aspects of this role, one, in particular, is to identify potential hazards relating to means of escape from the building, which may include blockages in the main escape route. As the fire risk assessor, it is incumbent on the assessor to evaluate and mitigate the risks of escaping in a fire.

The job does not entail making sure that building regulations are complied with when it comes to compartmentation. Compartmentation involves measures to decrease the spread of fire in the building. That responsibility is delegated to the designer and building control.

It involves what type of building it is and how many people can be inside the building at all times. A hotel, office building, flats or HMO (house of many occupants) has different risks associated with it. A risk assessor must approach each situation differently.

What you must do

As a fire risk assessor, the main undertaking is to inspect the following areas which are related to the main escape path.

  • Materials used to line the walls, ceilings and floors of the escape path.
  • Materials used in the construction of the walls, floors and ceilings of the escape path.
  • Fire doors and penetration sealing and other services in floors, ceilings and walls of the escape path.
  • Any other Passive Fire Protection
Look for excessively painted areas

Excessive and repeated painting has led to tragedy and the loss of life from a fire in a  building and other areas. As a fire risk assessor, you will be aware that it is not good practice to paint over existing coatings with new ones.  This can lead to a reaction between the coatings or preventing the smoke and fire seals from functioning properly. The assessor should check how well the paint can adhere to the escape route walls and ceilings. A reapplication of paint that is proven to work in case of over painted surfaces needs to be recommended in the assessment.

Wall carpets and notice boards

Both of these may serve an aesthetic or functional purpose or may even become a hindrance in the escape route of the apartment or hotel. As is the case with poor adhesive excessively overpainted surfaces, the materials can cause the fire to spread. It can even block the primary escape route and make the areas difficult to navigate through in the case of a fire.

Walls and other surface coverings

Make sure that wall coverings used to line walls are properly tested to be conformant to fire safety regulations and prevent the surface spread of flames. If wall coverings are not tested in the risk assessment, they should at least be recommended to be treated if not updated completely.

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