Building Safe Case Reports
Upon the passage of the Building Safety Bill, certain buildings in England will be required to produce a Safety Case Report. If you are an owner, Responsible Person or Building Safety Manager of a building it is best to do the necessary preparations to not just be in compliance, but most importantly, safeguard the wellbeing of your building’s users against fire and structural failure.
What is a Building Safety Case and what is a Building Safety Case Report?
In ‘A Safety Case Principles’ document, recently released by the Health and Safety Executive, the key terms “Safety Case” and “Safety Case Report” are defined as such:
“The Safety Case is all the information you use to manage the risk of fire spread and the structural safety of your building. In the proposed new safety case regime, you will use some of the information as evidence to demonstrate (or justify) how you are preventing major accidents in your building and limiting their consequences.”
When preparing a Safety Case, one has to list down the building’s major accident hazards and the steps currently undertaken to mitigate the risk and prevent a major accident. It is worth noting that this Safety Case requirement is not intended to replace legal requirements that are already in existence.
“The Safety Case Report is a document that summarises your Safety Case. The Safety Case report identifies the major fire and structural hazards associated with your building. It shows how you are managing the risks they present, as far as you can, to prevent a major accident.”
The Safety Case Report narrates why individual parts of your Safety Case are necessary and how they link up to make your building safe for its occupants. It should also show how effective the measures indicated in the Safety Case are when it comes to managing and controlling risks that could result in a major accident.
Far from being a one-off document, the Safety Case Report will have to be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect the changes within the building, the hazards contained therein, and how it is managed.
What buildings are in scope?
In scope are buildings that have at least seven storeys or at least 18 metres in height and have at least two residential units (HRRBs). Multi-use buildings, for example, those containing both residential units and shops, are included.
What information is included in a Building Safety Case Report?
A Safety Case Report should include, but not limited to, the following:
Clear description of the building
This includes the building address, size, use and density, surrounding buildings, building plans, fire safety information, and key people involved with the building's management and maintenance regime. Photographs, videos, and plans may also be included to support the descriptions.
Identification of safety risks
The report should reflect the identified risks of major accidents that involve fire spread and structural safety that could affect the building. The report can entail considering a worst-case scenario, the factors that lead to it, and how significant the impact would be in terms of the number of people in the building affected and how serious the consequences will be for them.
Safety measures and adequacy
Having a clear description of the building, its features, and risks, the report will then enumerate the safety measures that are in place to prevent, minimise or mitigate the effect of major fire and structural accidents. A few examples include fire compartmentation, warning systems and evacuation plans, smoke control systems, emergency lighting and the like. This is by no means a complete list of safety measures, and as a Building Safety Manager (BSM) or Responsible Person, one must thoroughly assess if the safety measures currently in place are adequate to deal with a worst-case scenario. How the safety measures are maintained, and that these measures will work when needed must be demonstrated in the report.
What is the purpose of a Building safety Case report?
Creating a Safety Case Report is part of the safety case regime that is now being required for the management of High-Rise Residential Buildings (HRRBs). Previously, Safety Case regimes have only been for high hazard industries, where the potential consequences of a serious single event or linked series of events are understood to be high. However, the Grenfell Tower Fire in 2017 demonstrated that great loss of life can manifest in HRRBs especially when a fire spreads far beyond its point of origin (Major accident).
As a BSM or Responsible Person, responsible for a high-rise residential building, through the Safety Case Report, you demonstrate that you are actively keeping your building safe, that you have the necessary measures implemented to prevent a major accident or mitigate its risks, and that you are managing these measures on an ongoing basis to ensure that they will work in the event that these will be needed.
Who will see the Building Safety Case Report?
The Safety Case Report will be provided to the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). They will use the report to assess and verify your systems for managing, controlling, and mitigating major fire and structural risks.
This report may also be provided to parties interested in the information contained therein, including residents of the building, enforcement officers or future buyers of the property.
Whether it is in the hands of the BSR or a resident of the building, the report must give them confidence that the building's fire and structural risks are identified and are being actively managed adequately.
Why Fire Consultancy Specialists?
You need a reliable partner, who is competent to assess the building's safety risk holistically and prepare an accurate, factual and detailed Safety Case Report which includes all the requirements as previously mentioned. FCS understands that this is more than a technical document to be submitted to a regulator. With our expertise in fire consultancy, we ensure that your building safety information will be presented in a clear and succinct document backed by relevant inspections which provide a ‘Golden Thread’ of information, reflecting the buildings’ risk (i.e. Fire Risk Assessments, Compartmentation Surveys, Intumescent Steels, External Wall Systems, Fire Safety Management Plans etc). All of which are conducted thoroughly by competent expert fire consultants, professionally and with integrity.