Facilities management Once again, channels of communication

are essential because changes in management for individual tenants can lead to problems, such as not complying with evacuation drills or perhaps causing repeated accidental actuations of fire signals. In addition, there can be issues with common parts management, for example a tenant leaving obstructions, or their own contractors creating a fire safety hazard by carrying out an act that is unsafe, for instance. Ideally, the contract should recognise that the landlord will support the facilities manager when local consultation with a tenant is not successful on a fire safety matter. Where the contract is not so clear cut, the FM professional still needs to ensure that the matter is raised with the landlord’s representatives, to agree a strategy for dealing with such an issue.

All hot air?

If the FM contractor assumes all or most of the fire safety duties of a site, this may include obtaining fire risk assessments (FRAs), or completing these jointly with the landlord or their managing agent, which means that all parties can contribute to the risk assessment approach to fire safety, including life safety evacuation and fire detection systems.

Risk assessment is intrinsically connected with the original fire engineering design within the building, and this is not always fully appreciated when FRAs are reviewed. For example, if a building was designed with smoke and heat exhaust ventilation (SHEV) type ventilation systems, this will be directly connected with the building’s fire strategy, particularly for evacuation as it will extract smoke away from traffic routes. In a case where the landlord has changed since the original site was developed, they may not have access to all the plans. In my experience, even with modern buildings, the full monitoring and evaluation plans, ventilation strategies and drainage plans may not always be available. In multi site buildings, it can be a particular

challenge when tenants have their own fire strategies. These may or may not conflict with the fire strategy for the building. Some landlords are proactive in checking these points, and others will let tenants do their own thing. This is something the facilities manager needs to be aware of, and then adjust their own life safety approach, including updating the landlord’s representatives when any tenants appear to be compromising fire safety through inaction or, on occasion, by high risk activities such as a tenant’s contractor working on demise based electrical wiring that could have an impact on fire detection systems.



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