Fire, legal liability and you... ASFP fires warning shot

Fire, legal liability and you... ASFP fires warning shot

2008 witnessed the highest UK peace time fire losses of all time; rising over the previous year by 16% to a record £1.3bn. That’s why everyone should be playing their part to reduce these numbers, comments the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP).

The Association stresses that if you are involved in the provision of a fire protection package, at any level, you share liability for its usefulness and its operation when it is needed in a fire and that liability will still be there in the event of a court case.

If it is your responsibility to specify the materials and/or appoint the installation contractor, says the ASFP, it is also your responsibility to ensure that they can prove competency for the fire protection materials used, or the works to be carried out. It’s no longer simply a duty of care or voluntary – it is a legal obligation.

If you knowingly ignore advice that leads to a failure in the fire performance of any element of installed fire protection within a building, you are likely to be found to be just as culpable as the deficient installer.

You share liability for the provision of information required under Building Regulation 16B, that tells the user of the building about the fire prevention measures provided in that building. Otherwise, the user cannot make an effective risk assessment under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

In the event of a fire and deaths, a court will want to know how every fire protection system was selected; the basis for selection of the installer; whether adequate time was provided for its installation and whether there was adequate liaison between the different parties to ensure it was installed correctly. No ifs, no buts – it’s all contained in the Construction, Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2007. The CDM 2007 regulations, enforced by Health and Safety Executive, concentrate on managing the risk and the health and safety of all those who build, those that use the building, those who maintain it and those that demolish it – cradle to grave.

Be aware, says the ASFP. The time to consider the above is before the event, not after it!

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