The issue of fire safety is currently at the forefront of our city’s attention. Although the tragic event that befell Grenfell Tower has set the context for future attitudes regarding property safety measures, it’s not just residential buildings that require us to pay closer attention.
As we found out with Battersea Arts Centre a few years ago, commercial spaces are also susceptible to fire and damage that could lead to the loss of valuable items and potential damage to property and human life.
If you’re an owner or a manager of a commercial property, it’s crucial to know your obligations when it comes to fire safety. Failure to fulfil your obligations could result in harm to people, property and the invalidation of your property insurance, so read on to find out more.
A change in attitude
Typically, attitudes to fire safety have been more relaxed than they should be, and some of this is down to a lack of clarity in government regulations about who is responsible and what exactly ‘suitable and sufficient’ risk assessments entail.
At Bright, we take fire safety very seriously. It only takes one mistake or a chance accident to lead to a catastrophe. This drives us to take all the necessary steps in our projects to minimise the risk of extensive fire damage to people and property.
If you’re unsure about whether you’re responsible for the safety of a commercial property, whether this is an office block or a retail space, the code for leasing business premises or a professional electrical contractor can help when it comes to understanding your obligations in regards to regular fire alarm and emergency lighting checks.
Checklist for safety on commercial premises:
- Structural integrity
- Emergency lighting
- Fire safety equipment (fire alarms, extinguishers etc.)
- Lighting fixtures connected property
- Internal wiring tucked away
- Fire doors
- Effective escape routes
If you’re concerned about any of these issues on your commercial property, get in touch with Bright Contractors and we’ll happily come down and make a full assessment of your premises.
Commercial fire safety obligations
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 sets out relevant obligations for those who are responsible for a non-residential property. These duties lie with the employer in the context of a work and office environment, or any individual who has control of a premise such as a trade or business space. All commercial premises must have a legally designated person responsible for fire safety.
The responsible person must carry out sufficient fire risk assessments to identify any fire hazards and ensure that the environment includes suitable escape routes, fire detection and control equipment and emergency lighting. The fact that equipment exists is not enough in itself, as equipment must be regularly maintained to ensure it’s in good working order.
For retail locations and commercial offices, procedures and preventive measures must be in place to protect all employees and customers who may be on site. A weekly fire alarm test is a recommended way to ensure the site is effectively covered as well as checks on fire doors and potential obstructions to escape routes, especially in multi-storey buildings.
Perform a weekly fire alarm test. If there is a problem, contact a certified contractor ASAP to get your fire alarm system fixed.
Emergency lighting is not simply a contingency for a power cut, but a necessary component of illuminating exit routes and providing emergency light for individuals in the event of a fire – when normal lighting becomes ineffective. This can be a result of fire and smoke creating low visibility or when primary lighting fails due to damaged or faulty electrics.
If you require regular scheduled emergency lighting checks from a qualified electrician, get in touch with Bright Contractors to make sure your property is sufficiently maintained with the appropriate electrical compliance certificates.
Electric and gas
The individual responsible for a site must take reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring and ensure people can safely escape when necessary. As fires can often be started by faulty sockets, wiring or appliances, it is essential that these elements are regularly checked by an electrical technician during your maintenance schedules.
It is also essential that your electric and gas systems have safety certificates, and that you keep up to date with any developing rules or regulations as set out by the government. This will protect your property, employees, merchandise and customers.
Potentially faulty appliances:
- Electric grills
As the owner of a commercial property, an employer, landlord, or occupier of a non‐domestic premises, you may be responsible for ensuring your building meets fire safety standards. The best way to limit future fire hazards is to perform regular scheduled checks.
Did you know:
Your buildings and business insurance could be invalidated if you do not fulfil your fire safety obligations?
Arranging regular checks can seem inconvenient and unnecessary, but the consequences of cutting corners can be huge. Rather than waiting for something to go wrong, the best approach is to utilise a pre-emptive and preventative approach, by keeping all equipment in working order and updating maintenance programmes regularly.
At Bright we understand this responsibility can be overwhelming, and therefore offer our professional property maintenance services as trusted safety partners. By employing us to fit, regularly check and maintain your fire alarm equipment and emergency lighting, we can pre-empt any potential malfunctions. We have worked with many commercial and retail businesses to help maintain a safe environment for everyone on site.