Fire safety is paramount in event management, but since Grenfell and the subsequent review, event managers may need to take heed to ensure they are compliant under the correct regulations and guidelines.

Peter Golding, Symphotech’s fire and event safety consultant, explores the approach to potential developments surrounding fire safety and regulation since the tragic Grenfell disaster in 2017.

All event organisers have a duty to plan, manage and monitor their event to make sure that employees and the public are not exposed to health and safety risks. Peter comes from an extensive career in the Fire & Rescue Service, where he spent the best part of eight years working on fire safety advisory groups for events. He now leads the Symphotech team responsible for undertaking fire safety risk assessments for venues including theatres, concert venues and warehouses.

Peter says: “One of the main ways we support our clients is by trying to demystify the safety legislation to provide practical support so that they can get on with running the event, knowing that we are covering their back in case anything unforeseen comes up with their licensing requirements”

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt led a review in light of the system failures revealed after the fire. Her findings were published earlier this month on 17th May 2018 and highlighted what she believed was a systemic problem in the industry. The report says ‘The current system is far too complex, it lacks clarity as to who is responsible for what, and there is inadequate regulatory oversight and enforcement.’

According to Pete, Grenfell drew attention to the shortcomings in fire risk assessments. He continues: “Dame Hackitt’s report is very critical of the industry, I think we will end up with more questions asked at the design stage now, for example about routes on site, access points, fire evacuation points and maximum occupancy as well as a lot more questions asked by safety advisory groups now.”

“Where I think this could affect the industry is for those involved in temporary events that are held in permanent premises, such as warehouses. If event organisers are now looking to hold an event in premises that has never been used for an event before they may find they get more and more obstacles put in their way since Grenfell, mainly because it is a change in use for the building”

“Symphotech has had two recent projects where the clients and licensing councils were not clear as to how to apply legislation. Our experience in the live industry meant that we could bridge the gap between the two and enable the events to progress safely and successfully.”

To find out more information on fire safety regulations and risk assessments, get in touch with our team. Symphotech are able to provide full risk assessments, monitoring and consultative advice about fire safety to event organisers, production companies and events professionals.