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Here at QDOS we regularly see the old Fire Service drawings, existing copies scanned and amended as we update your as fitted drawings and fire alarm zone plans. They were good clear drawings, conveying the locations of fire detection and alarm systems, fire safety and escape signs plus the siting of all firefighting equipment.
As the fire certificate was replaced with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order in 2005, these plans which formed part of the certificate disappeared too. Some councils did take on the responsibility to continue with plans such as these, however in times of austerity these too seem to have disappeared. Indeed, we see many local authority drawings of their respective estates but these seem generally used as just an asset register with unique room identification numbers. At the other end of the scale we do come across some plans which take on board the information the fire service used to detail, however these sometimes show full fire alarm system ‘as fitted’ information and the coloured zone plan all together. A very cluttered and confusing drawing is usually the outcome.
Using a professional and qualified fire risk assessor has become standard to comply with the RRO. In fact, many large organisations have employed people of this calibre as part of their overall health and safety departments. Detailed and informative reports and recommendations are being produced to ensure compliance and the continued fire safety in the premises assessed.
So, what about the plans?
..a drawing of the premises can convey so much information from the fire risk assessment, a snapshot or overview of the findings and recommendations.
These are not a requirement of the RRO, the full fire risk assessment gives you everything you need to comply. But is there a benefit to having these plans alongside the finished report? Of course, there are many benefits, a drawing of the premises can convey so much information from the fire risk assessment, a snapshot or overview of the findings and recommendations.
These fire safety plans can show:
- Fire detection & alarm system devices
- Emergency lighting
- Fire safety signage
- Firefighting equipment
- Fire compartmentation – including both fire doors and walls
- Fire safety items – such as door self-closers and emergency push bars
We always believe in keeping drawings simple and easy to understand, so basic colour coding between existing and recommended items is our normal way of identification on your plans. Drawings should always be read in conjunction with the fire risk assessment but having these stand out on a single floor plan is a great benefit.
Having locations and quantities of firefighting equipment and life safety devices can also help the maintenance manager keep on top of regular maintenance too. Especially in public buildings, it’s another way to identify if something’s missing so remedial action can be taken promptly.
Having plans that show the fire compartmentation of the building can be so important too.
Places that undergo regular remodelling or improvement works can also benefit from having these plans available. Schools and colleges carry out such works between most term times which can lead to the re-location of some existing items or the requirement for additional fire safety items to be installed. Having plans that show the fire compartmentation of the building can be so important too. Contractors can be made aware from the start of where correct fire stopping would be needed if their works penetrate any of these walls. In addition to this, it gives the maintenance manager or fire risk assessor a clear plan of high priority areas to check in any follow up risk assessment following such building work.
Fire safety plans are not a lost art. Get in touch to find out how we’re helping fire risk assessors and safety managers across the UK bring back these valuable record drawings.