Fire Risk Assessment

Can holiday cottage owners really carry out their own Fire Risk Assessment?

The answer is yes, provided that they follow industry guidance, adopt a sensible procedure and seek further advice where required. The whole essence of the guidance given in Do You Have Paying Guests is that the government believe that in simple premises such as individual holiday cottages, the owner is best placed to control the risks from fire. In more complex or risky properties, additional advice from the Fire Service or a professional Fire Risk Assessor will be needed to supplement the owner's initial findings but the owner will have covered the main areas themselves.

By carrying out your own Fire Risk Assessment you will be taking ownership of fire safety in your property, will better understand what it is all about and will be well placed to maintain fire safety precautions over the long term. The vast majority of the task is collecting together pieces of information and documents relating to the property. If you break it down into a series of tasks it isn't as daunting as it at first seems.

Once you have collected together the information, you can use our online Fire Risk Assessment Tool to produce a detailed report of your Fire Risk Assessment which you can retain as proof that you have taken your responsibilities seriously.

Our Fire Risk Assessment Tool has been carefully researched, drawing on:

  • Do You Have Paying Guests
  • Sleeping Accommodation
  • Tolleys Practical Risk Assessment Handbook
  • The Principles of Fire Risk Assessment in Buildings
  • PAS79*
  • A lot of practical experience of holiday cottages and working with owners to improve Fire Safety

* PAS79 is a Publicly Available Specification for carrying out Fire Risk Assessments and our Online Tool closely follows the recommended structure given.

What about using a Professional Assessor?

When holiday cottage owners find out that they need a Fire Risk Assessment a proportion immediately opt to use the services of a professional fire risk assessor without first considering the type of property they own. Generally this is because they don't really want to know about Fire Risk Assessment and find the whole concept baffling.

Once professional assessors provide their assessment report a number of things tend to happen. It could get put in a drawer and forgotten about, after all you've now got a fire risk assessment so that's the end of it right? Improvements listed on the Significant Findings don't always get done and the whole thing is just seen as a purely paperwork exercise. Diligent owners will read the report carefully and implement some or all of the improvements. But over time the report and the need to regularly review it sometimes gets forgotten and fire safety can slip as a result.

Completing your own Fire Risk Assessment - Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages Disadvantages

You are taking ownership of Fire Safety in your Holiday Cottage

You know your own property well

You will save money on the assessment which can be used for practical fire safety measures

You can review the assessment regularly and update it yourself when things change

You will know the type of guests you typically deal with so are well placed to control the risks

You will be better placed to arrange maintenance of Smoke Alarms and other Protection Measures

You will have an amazing sense of satisfaction when you have done it

You will have to put aside some time to complete the job

You may have to do some research

You may have to seek expert help if you find an unusual risk

Using a Professional Assessor

Advantages Disadvantages

You won't have to spend any time completing the assessment or do any research

Better for risky, very large or complex properties

Cost

You may not be taking ownership of Fire Safety in your property

Every time you need to change the assessment you may have to pay again

The assessor may not understand the holiday cottage industry as well as you do

You have to watch out for poor quality assessors who have not had sufficient training

Either Way

Once you have completed the actual Assessment you need to implement any necessary improvements and continue to maintain Fire Safety over the longer term.