St Joseph's Specialist Trust

Fire Risk Assessments, Fire Door and
Compartmentation Surveys

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Challenge

St Joseph’s Specialist Trust is an independent non-maintained specialist school and college, catering for approximately 75 young people aged 5 – 19 with complex and severe learning difficulties. The trust was looking to update their fire risk assessments (FRAs) to enhance their ability to coordinate and track the actions required of the existing ones. A new management team had recently come in, who were keen to take a fresh view of the fire safety management and risk assessment processes. The trust asked Sircle to provide updated FRAs in a more useable format and presented a clear action plan of the significant findings and actions required using timebound and priority risk-rated recommendations.

Solution

Sircle was able to quickly accommodate the trust’s needs and begun to put the arrangements in place required to successfully deliver the fire risk assessments for their on and off-site buildings.

We sat down with the trust’s management staff to understand their current position in relation to FRAs and obtain available data such as plan drawings, compliance records, policy information, and key contacts. We also agreed on specific details around the best times for access and programming of the assessments. We shared sample reports with the client, which helped them fully appreciate and understand our process and the outputs prior to commencement. It also ensured that all premises were accessible, and we were able to inspect all areas required and achieve the planned survey programme. We utilised two of our highly experienced fire risk assessors to carry out the work.

 

Outcome

We were able to successfully deliver the project on time and completed the fieldwork within one week. The following week we supplied the validated written reports and action plans.

The data for each FRA was presented in an individual PDF report for each building, along with an individual excel spreadsheet action plan. This helped the trust understand exactly what the risks were and how they could reduce and manage these to an acceptable level, providing a risk rating and recommended timescale for completion for each finding. The FRAs we provided considered all aspects of fire safety within the buildings using detailed templates based on PAS 79. At the same time, they utilised the key guidance associated with the type of premises being assessed. This information greatly assisted the trust in meeting the requirements for fire safety, as determined in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Our risk matrix provided the trust with realistic and achievable fire safety recommendations commensurate with the risks identified.
This information helped the trust manage their fire strategy more efficiently by informing them where best to allocate resources in
the short, medium, and long term and any recommendations that should be considered good practice. It also helps the trust with its
ongoing maintenance regimes by identifying the fire doors and structures necessary to adhere to their required fire evacuation
and compartmentation strategy.

We agreed to follow up the FRAs with more detailed fire door and compartmentation survey works. This work included surveying 129 fire doors and highlighted any deficiencies in the fire compartmentation. It also provided specialist advice, remedial actions and costs on fire doors and maintaining the building subdivision as directed in the Approved Document B and NFCC Specialised Housing Guidance in order to adequately protect the escape routes and particularly any areas of sleeping accommodation.

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