Accountability was a key theme of the Hackitt Review into the Grenfell fire, published earlier this year. Whether residential or commercial, the question of who is responsible for evacuation and life safety in a building is not always clear.
High rise buildings of all descriptions including multi- floored offices often involve multiple stakeholders: the developer, the owner, the landlord, the facilities management company and, last but not least, the occupiers – who could be business owners, employers - so who is accountable in the event of a fire?
Building use and renting are becoming increasingly fluid. The rise of shared and collaborative workspaces, hot desking and short-term leasing makes it easy to lose sight of the importance of clear communications around fire safety and evacuation, especially when your occupiers are transient.
Every commercial, residential or public building needs to have someone who is specifically assigned the responsibility of planning and communicating the procedures for safe evacuation of people from a building, including the mobility-impaired. As building use changes, those roles and responsibilities must always be kept up-to-date and highly visible to all building users.
We at Law at Work advocate good communications when it comes to fire evacuations alongside having clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Which is why this is a key focus for us during our client fire risk assessments and fire warden training.