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Now questioning my ability to carry out FRA

Discuss all things fire related.

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Anorak Extraordinaire
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Re: Now questioning my ability to carry out FRA

Post by bernicarey »

I agree wholeheartedly with Messy on this.

There seems to be a tendency with FRS Inspecting officers in some areas to use what amounts to Faux Notices.
Some of them also have a high opinion of themselves and use these Faux Notices to 'pull the wool over the eyes' of RPS to influence towards their interpretation of the requirements.

I cannot in any way agree with
hardhat wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:48 am
If you are not 100% certain that you will not miss a single thing, then don't do a fire risk assessment.
Nobody can ever be 100% certain doing our sort of work; anybody who thinks they can is a narcissist who shouldn't be doing Safety related work in any field.
What you do in any field of safety work is spot all the serious problems and as many of the lesser issues as you can, AS FAR AS REASONABLY PRACTICABLE!

As the Epidemiologist said on TV this morning, if I want to totally stop this Covid Virus I use a 'Bubble of ONE', nobody meets anyone else for several months, but that isn't practical.

Tomorrow - your reward for being safe today...

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Re: Now questioning my ability to carry out FRA

Post by todai »

hardhat wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:01 am
todai wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:07 pm Wouldn't get yourself down. They're experts in their field. you've only completed a Fire cert.
This. This is just so wrong - what the hell are you doing if you are not competent.

In occupational health and safety, if you DO miss something, there are others - employees, supervisors, managers - that will probably see the issues too. There will often be warnings - near misses, minor injuries - that may also bring it to light.

But in fire safety, YOU are paid to be the expert and look beyond the visible. There is absolutely no room for error - no-one else is likely to pick up what you have missed until 200 people are trapped getting out of an exit, or 20 elderly residents die because Mr Wannabe Fire Expert didn't understand exactly what he was doing, WHAT the standards are for and importantly WHY each element of a fire safety standard is there.

If you want to do fire risk assessments, you need proper experience with a time-served professional who will check your work, show you what you missed, and importantly provide assurance that each job has been done correctly.
"time served professional" because they work in the fire service doesn't mean they are A competent or B experienced in any fires outwit trainings.
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Re: Now questioning my ability to carry out FRA

Post by stephen1974 »

Calm down hardhat.

At the end of the day everyone has a different opinion when carrying out assessments and rarely will you get people in 100% agreement. I've seen people from different fire services disagreeing over things, so to go on about 100% certianty is nonsense. Time served means nothing if that time served wasn't in the right environment. You go on about standards - many of the standards are very amiguous and open to huge amounts of interpretation.

Its hard to criticise the OP's abilities or their assessment without knowing more about the environment. I would say no fire call point at a fire exit would have been something I would have flagged up, but without more information, I cant say about the other two items and both, imo, are grey areas on what is and isnt acceptable.

As to S&S I know what you are feeling and I would say its always going to happen when someone has said something different to you. All I can suggest is you look at what they have said and try and understand why. You may come away disagreeing with their decision. The important thing is can you justify why? Whose going to use the bolt? have they been trained? if its office staff, chances are they have been so whats the issue? if its public, get rid of it, if the company claims public will be lead down their by a staff member - query the hell out of the likelihood of that actually happening and always justify your position, even if it is just a recomendation.
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Re: Now questioning my ability to carry out FRA

Post by ssmith65 »

A very interesting post.

I was asked previously how I felt about potentially doing some FRA`s on some schools. At the time I was like, yes I would love to do that sounds like fun. At the time and I stick to this now, you dont know what you dont know. Don't get me wrong I had some understanding of the risks of fire having been a facilities manager for a number of years and I was happy to be the responsible person for the building because I knew that building inside and out.

Since then I have undertaken a chartered building surveyor degree course and somewhat moved away from the health and safety side of things moving more into condition reporting and building surveys.

I just wanted to say, I am glad I didn't take that step because while I have always believed I would do a good job I only realize now looking back at that how out of my depth I would have been at that time. With that being said, I also think there is a certain amount of it that comes down to confidence. Part of my path to chartered status with the RICS is called the pathway to competence. This is where I have to supply proof that I am competent to a certain level and without it I wont gain my chartered status, even now when I know I am competent and I have proof of said competence I still question myself and wonder if there was or still is an alternative solution to that particular problem but I also believe that is the way everyone should work because we should all strive to be better and do better work, shouldnt we?
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Re: Now questioning my ability to carry out FRA

Post by Messy »

ssmith65- Spot on! - Schools are very very tricky places to work. My first job after going self employed was within the O2 arena in London. I thought that was tough, especially working out occupancy figures for a round exhibition area!!!

But my next job was even tougher. It was a project in connection with the rebuilding of a large private residential school in Surrey. The architects where hopeless, the customer had deep pockets and short arms and the local building control mob were out of their depth. But the biggest lesson for me was the risk of litigation if anything went wrong. This anxiety led everything in this project, and was given a higher priority than safety!

We entrust our most valuable possessions to schools and many parents run straight to moneygrabbinglawyers_are-us.com if anything goes wrong. Add to this the risk posed as kids slept there and some of the parents were very well connected and wealthy!!! This can help managers make decisions but it can hinder it too. The whole project was run in fear, with decisions made by a committee of snails. I was so pleased to see the back of it

So yes, if you are applying fire safety in schools, residential homes or other locations where the more venerable members of social are likely to be, check your PI insurance and have a long think about your competencies. Your advice will be scrutinised by enforcement authorities and if it goes wrong, by lawyers and the CPS too.
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