The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Commercial Property Fires See 46 Per Cent Spike Over Lockdown 

Commercial Property Fires See 46 Per Cent Spike Over Lockdown 
12 August 2020
 

Commercial property owners and their tenants are being urged not to neglect fire risk assessments during the pandemic.

The warning comes as property insurance specialist NFU Mutual’s claims statistics reveal a 46 per cent spike in the number of commercial property fires during lockdown.

Trevor Palmer, Property Insurance Specialist at NFU Mutual commented: “The ongoing global crisis has put pressure on commercial property owners and their tenants as they adopt new measures to ensure working environments are COVID-secure, often involving changes to the premises.  

“Having seen a spike in our commercial fire claims statistics, we’re concerned that the added focus on coronavirus may be causing some premises to put other safety matters to one side.”

 

“Having seen a spike in our commercial fire claims statistics, we’re concerned that the added focus on coronavirus may be causing some premises to put other safety matters to one side.”

–Trevor Palmer

Property Insurance Specialist, NFU Mutual 

Tips on Fire Safety Vigilance

 

  • Communication is key – keep all stakeholders up to date with Fire Risk Assessment progress and changes
  • Ensure all records of contact details are kept up to date in case they are needed in an emergency
  • Regularly review the Fire Risk Assessment, particularly if there have been any changes on the premises
  • Stay up to date with all relevant fire safety legislation
  • Consider consulting fire safety and risk management professionals for technical information on fire safety
  • While it is not a requirement for Fire Risk Assessments to be documented if there are fewer than five occupants, keeping a written record is still advisable
  • While your insurer may not ask for your Fire Risk Assessment, providing it upfront can aid clarity during any subsequent claims

 

Palmer added that whilst following COVID secure guidance is imperative, it should not be at the expense of other health and safety activity:

“Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) are a legal requirement for all non-domestic premises, allowing identification of specific areas of fire risk and providing recommended corrective actions to safeguard occupants.

“FRAs should also be reviewed if your building undergoes significant change. Where changes impact on any common areas within a property, the owner should consider the implications on fire safety and whether the current assessment will need to be re-visited.

“Owners should also encourage tenants to assess if any changes they are making, such as introducing partitioning, changing desk layouts and exit pathways or altering fire meeting points, will have an effect on fire safety and require updates to the FRA."

“As coronavirus poses new challenges, it is important to give pre-existing dangers equal consideration. The risk of fire remains, and property owners should maintain efforts to protect occupants, properties and themselves from fire incidents.

“Robust owner to tenant communications are essential, and while the current focus is likely related to lease agreements, rent and service charge payments, every effort should be made to keep fire safety at the forefront of all communications.  All parties should be fully aware of where the responsibility lies for updating the FRA and making necessary changes at the property.”

Picture: A photograph showing a fire alarm with a "pull down" release mechanism

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 12 August 2020

Share



Related Articles

Facilities Managers Should Introduce “Stricter” COVID Measures

With COVID-secure guidelines set to become a legal obligation, Bureau Veritas has advised that facilities managers must step up with a more robust and formalised...

 Read Full Article
New Grants Available for Businesses Affected By Local Lockdowns

Ministers have announced that businesses in England that are required to shut because of local interventions will now be able to claim up to £1,500 per property...

 Read Full Article
Making Buildings COVID-Secure To Encourage Workers Back Could Cost Millions

Adapting workplaces to increase employee confidence could cost larger property owners several million pounds, according to a report by the Financial Times. Liviu...

 Read Full Article
Government Begins Campaign To Encourage Returning to the Office

The Transport Minister has told a London radio station that: “Our central message is pretty straightforward: we are saying to people it is now safe to return to...

 Read Full Article
PM Reveals Economic Recovery Plans

Boris Johnson has revealed the government's plans for a post-COVID economic recovery, stressing that it will build the foundations now for "future...

 Read Full Article
PM Announces Additional Relaxation of Lockdown Measures

Boris Johnson has just announced additional easing of the lockdown in England, including changes to the two-metre social distancing rule. In Parliament today, it was...

 Read Full Article
Fire Safety And Coronavirus – A Change In Risk For Employers

The National Fire Chiefs Council is calling on businesses to review the change in fire risk in their buildings, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, as we...

 Read Full Article
Construction And Manufacturing Sectors Encouraged Back To Work By PM

In his address to the nation last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed a “conditional plan” to reopen society and encourage certain groups back to...

 Read Full Article
Government Suggests Post-Lockdown Workplace Measures 

Ahead of Boris Johnson revealing his lockdown exit strategy this week, a draft government plan to ease anti-coronavirus restrictions has been revealed by the BBC. The...

 Read Full Article
HSE COVID-Secure Spot Checks Continue Throughout UK

As Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire move into tier three of lockdown, the Health and Safety Executive will continue to operate safety inspections to check for...

 Read Full Article