With so much to manage in commercial and public buildings as well as private spaces, knowing who holds responsibility for different tasks can feel like a bit of a minefield – especially given the ever-changing regulations about fire safety, hazardous materials, and overall health and safety.

In this blog, we’re focussing specifically on asbestos and fire risk assessments, looking at whose job it is to conduct and complete these assessments across different property types.

Assigning the Responsible Person

Typically, if you are the one who is responsible for the management of a building and the safety of its users and inhabitants, then you are the responsible person who should conduct fire and other risk assessments.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you own the building; for example, if you are the tenant of a commercial space or you are the designated building manager for a leased space then this responsibility may fall in your hands rather than the individual who owns the building.

Similarly, if the building is owned by a trust or organisation, then the responsible individual will be assigned according to their role in the building, as health and safety manager or the overall facilities manager for the site.

To cut a long story short, when it comes to assigning the correct person to complete and report on any risk assessments, this role must be outlined very clearly as per the Fire Safety Act of 2021.

The Fire Safety Act of 2021 and the role it plays in fire risk assessments

The Fire Safety Act was introduced in 2021 in response to the London Grenfell disaster and ensures that any commercial or residential property which is occupied by multiple individuals or tenants is managed by one responsible person in terms of fire risk assessments and other safety procedures.

Whether this individual is the building manager, owner, an employee whose role is around risk assessments and safety, or an external agency or facilities manager, the most important thing to note about this role under the Fire Safety Act is that in the event of an incident caused by neglect, that individual is held responsible.

The role of the responsible person who handles fire risk assessments and other safety areas

The role of the responsible person is to ensure that risk assessments are up to date and reflective of the property as it stands – noting any problem areas, removing or minimising risk factors where possible, and examining the various components of the risk assessment regularly to ensure that the whole building is fully informed.

This includes testing fire doors, ensuring that signage is up to date and clearly labelled, conducting fire alarm tests, and matching the size of the building with the different regulations which apply.

For more information on fire risk assessments and the role of the responsible person, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the details of the Fire Safety Act 2021. You can also get in touch with us for more advice on fire risk assessments and asbestos surveys, keeping your buildings safe for everyone inside.