3. How to assess building safety risks

Risk assessment methods

If you are responsible for an occupied high-rise residential building, you will be required to assess its safety risks. The Building Safety Act doesn't require you to use a specific risk assessment method. The one you currently use may be suitable, and you should refer to work you have done under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO).

There are numerous risk assessment methods you can use, for example, bow-tie analysis or source, pathway, receptor analysis. While we don't recommend any specific methodologies, HAZID (hazard identification) is relatively straightforward and may be suitable. Whichever one you choose should be systematic. This will ensure you consider the full range of risks throughout your building.

We’ve prepared a HAZID example to help you understand the method.

Risk assessment team

Building safety assessment is normally performed by a team of people whose knowledge and experience cover areas including:

  • safety management systems
  • fire safety
  • structural safety

The team may also want to seek specific advice from others such as the fire and rescue service.

Review existing control measures

Once you identify how an incident could occur and what could happen, review the existing control measures. These will include the general fire precautions in place under duties set out in the FSO. You'll also need to demonstrate that any control measures for which you're responsible will remain effective and operate as designed.

All reasonable steps

All reasonable steps should be taken to prevent and mitigate building safety risks. What is reasonable in any given case will depend on the individual circumstances of the building. Consider:

  • measures already in place and how effectively they control building safety risks
  • what other measures could be taken and whether they are reasonable

Certain factors will influence whether measures are reasonable. For example, whether they may create additional risks or are disproportionately expensive.

Further information on the principles to be followed and possible benchmarks will be published in due course.

Record your assessment

Keep a record of your building safety risk assessment. Track any actions or recommendations until closed out, and store and maintain any new information. If you identify additional measures but don't think they are reasonable, provide an explanation.

Updated 2023-04-24