Recent reports suggest that nearly half of all UK business owners are thinking about moving to a new office. The majority are looking for a better location to meet and impress clients. But some are also looking to upgrade their facilities, increase available working space, downsize, or reduce their costs.
Moving to new premises can be a big job, with lots of different things to consider. And while it may be a very busy time, it’s important to ensure you’re making fire safety a priority when moving.
Moving offices: who’s responsible for fire safety?
If you’re purchasing a building to move into, you’ll be responsible for making sure the building is protected. You’ll also need to ensure you’re complying with all health and safety requirements.
If you’re moving into a leased office, there may be a facilities company that oversees fire safety for the building. It’s important that you understand who your point of contact is, and what their responsibilities are. However, even if there is a facilities manager, you will still need to take full responsibility for reducing risk and protecting your employees in the event of an emergency.
Here are some fire safety considerations to take into account:
- Risk assessment
You won’t simply be able to transfer your previous risk assessment to your new premises. Working from a different location means that you’ll be exposed to different types of risks. For example, there may be different wall or floor coverings which are more flammable. Or there may be different sources of air, such as air conditioning systems. Carrying out a new risk assessment when you move isn’t just a smart decision; it’s a legal requirement. Read our risk assessment blog post to find out more.
In a leased office, extinguishers, fire alarms, and fire doors may come as part of the package. However, if your risk assessment identifies heightened risk, you may want to talk about bringing in more advanced forms of fire protection. In large and busy office spaces, sprinkler systems can help to slow down the spread of fire, providing more time for your employees to evacuate safely. And if you’re in a high-rise building, dry & wet risers can help firefighters to extinguish flames quickly.
One of the first things you should do before moving any of your staff into a new office is to make sure they know the safest way to leave, should a fire break out. As the layout of your new office will likely be different to your previous one, it’s important to draw up a new evacuation plan and share it with everyone. Spend some time examining the escape routes, and direct workers to the nearest safest exit to their workspace. Also, ensure everyone knows where the agreed assembly point is located.
- Fire marshals
If you already have appointed fire wardens who are responsible for promoting fire safety and assisting in an evacuation, they can keep their title in the new office. However, keep in mind that seating plans may be different. If you’re occupying two floors, and all your fire marshals have been allocated desks on the first floor, you may want to reassign some roles. It’s important to have a good spread of responsible individuals around the office to support workers in the event of a fire.
Move office with confidence
Moving offices can be a nerve-wracking experience. Let us take away any worries about fire safety. At Eversafe, we’re here to help you install the right fire protection equipment for your needs, and give you complete confidence that your equipment keeps working as expected.