The importance of passive fire protection (PFP) is vital information for any business owner. Whether your company be private or public, passive fire protection could be the difference of life and death for the people in your building and life and death for your business if it were to be found negligent of fire safety compliance.
Why is Passive Fire Protection necessary?
Passive fire protection is your building’s ‘first responder’ in the event of a fire. Generally integrated within the structure of the building, it works to contain a fire in its point of origin, prevents it spreading to other parts of the building, protects the structural integrity of the property stopping it collapsing and provides time for personnel to evacuate safely. These principles are achieved by the use of fire-resistant materials to manufacture fire walls, fire doors, fire-resistant glass, intumescent door seals and emergency lighting.
Passive fire protection, is a legal requirement, in accordance with British Standard BS 476. It must be installed in all non-private buildings, including businesses, schools, universities and hospitals by a qualified provider, with required maintenance checks completed and recorded accurately for the purpose of risk assessment procedures.
The bottom line is that if your building has not been installed with required passive fire protection, you are breaking the law. If people were to lose their lives in a fire in your building, the penalty is time in prison. This places a huge responsibility on all business owners to have the necessary fire protections installed and ensure compliance.
Passive Fire Protection and Your Business
When considering necessary costs to your business, some of the first thoughts are commonly the required materials, technology or tools, staff wages and important licenses, permits and insurances required to operate.
One that is generally not considered in the first instance is the installation and maintenance of passive fire protection to your property. Although not the most considered, this is a necessary and vital cost to any business owner and should be considered as one of the most important.
Each year people die or are seriously injured as a result of fires in non-private buildings. Besides the tragic loss of life, fire costs UK businesses millions of pounds in property damage, loss of revenue, fines, compensation and insurance costs. The cost of fire damage stands at record levels according to Association of British Insurers (ABI). The average cost in damages to a commercial building is £60,000. This cost does not include the detrimental impact to your reputation which could potentially cost you thousands more on top of that? Can you as a business owner afford not to give significant funding to fire protection systems?
This is an increasingly important issue; according to the National Fire Chiefs Council, there are still thousands of business owners that are unaware of their responsibilities when it comes to ensuring their building is compliant. Fire prevention is key to a safe environment for your employees and clients. Assessments must be undertaken, with adequate measures installed and routinely maintained by qualified professionals. Failure to do so could result in prosecution or worse; a fire destroying your business.
Who Should I Instruct to Manage the Passive Fire Protection within My Business?
To ensure maximum fire safety measures and full compliance of the law, building inspectors will recommend that the installation and maintenance of a passive fire protection system be carried out by a FIRAS accredited company. FIRAS stands for Fire Accreditation Scheme and is a certification that companies installing fire protection systems can voluntarily put themselves forward for. The FIRAS brand is recognised and respected among fire safety professionals. Instructing a FIRAS accredited company to install fire protection systems gives business owners peace of mind that the work carried out on their building is completed to the highest standard.
The Passive Fire Protection Federation warns that leaving the installation of such a vital part of fire protection to certain architects and developers that are not committed to the importance of fire safety could be, “viewed as a hindrance towards their creativity and another restrictive regulation to adhere to rather than a vital and highly important part of the process.”
Their Vice Chairman, Mike Wood was quoted saying that fire safety, “too often seen as a constraint in design, limiting flexibility, adding cost and preventing the full expression of other cherished design niceties.” There is a worry among fire safety professionals that short cuts are being taken when installing passive fire protection in order to cut costs and to not encroach too much on the overall design of the building.
The Broadsword Promise
At Broadsword, we understand the responsibility that business owners have to comply with the law, protect their building and ensure the safety of their people. This is a job that needs to be done correctly, first time. As a FIRAS accredited company, Broadsword have the knowledge and expertise to ensure fire safety compliance for all required works without the need for additional contractors. It is our promise to you to carry out work to the highest standard and the utmost professionalism. Business owners never need to worry again with the peace of mind of total fire protection.