Fire safety audits in industrial buildings are essential to ensure the safety of both employees and assets. Industrial facilities often contain complex machinery, hazardous materials and high-risk processes, making them susceptible to fire incidents.

Regular audits help identify potential fire hazards, assess the effectiveness of existing fire safety measures and ensure compliance with regulations and standards.

In Europe, statistics reveal the importance of these audits. In France, for instance, around 5,000 fires in industrial buildings and warehouses were reported annually between 2008 and 2018, resulting in significant economic losses, environmental damage and loss of life. These figures highlight the critical importance of proactive fire safety measures, including regular audits, to mitigate risks and prevent devastating consequences. Using the combined expertise of its in-house experts in fire safety, Efectis can assist its clients to ensure that the right level of fire safety is maintained throughout the lifecycle of their industrial sites, by performing regular holistic fire safety audits.

Our proposed fire safety audit typically involves the following seven main steps:


Step 1: Definition of the client’s objectives

These may include:

These evaluations are vital for ensuring comprehensive fire safety measures and mitigating potential risks effectively.

Step 2: Documentation review

Efectis will thoroughly examine the documentation related to the studied objective. This process serves two primary purposes: ensuring that all the necessary information is current and accessible, and identifying any non-compliances.

The required documents can include various items such as as-built information, maintenance reports and contracts of fire safety systems, minutes from fire authority visits, fire strategy report, owner standards, and insurer standards and requests.

Step 3: Site visit

Efectis will conduct an on-site visit to verify the accuracy of the provided documentation in comparison with the actual operation conditions, aiming to identify and address any issues that may arise.

Step 4: Analysis of the information collected

Following the previous steps, Efectis can analyse the various pieces of collected information to confirm the key issues.

As experts in fire safety, Efectis goes beyond simple regulatory, insurer or owner requirements, employing a risk-based approach. This allows clients to seek exemptions in cases where non-compliance poses no risk to staff, building operations, etc. or where a situation falls outside the scope of regulations. Such instances commonly occur with the introduction of new technologies (Li-ion batteries, Hydrogen, PV panels…), where regulatory revisions may lag behind the assessment of the associated risks.

Subsequently, the findings are typically presented in tabular format, summarising key information:

In general, client interviews are conducted, particularly with the safety team, to confirm the key issues and classify them as minor, medium or high priority concerns regarding fire safety and operational risks.

Step 5: Proposition of remediation

For each identified finding Efectis will recommend remedial actions, which may vary from conducting further surveys to implementing design changes or developing management procedures. Efectis can collaborate with a quantity surveyor or a specialised company to estimate the cost of the proposed remediation, if required by the client.

Some remediation can be supported by Efectis’s in-house expertise, including fire testing (standardised, ad hoc, on site), analysis of available escape time versus required escape time (with evacuation and fire modelling), assessment of structural fire behaviour, review of construction details, and detailed evaluation of fire detection and alarm systems.
Efectis can also assist the client in validating remedial measures proposed and covered by other companies.

Step 6: Support throughout remediation

Once remedial measures are selected, Efectis can provide ongoing support to the client during the implementation phase. This support includes responding to queries from the contractors, conducting on-site inspections to ensure compliance with requirements, attending commissioning activities and providing overall guidance throughout the remediation process.

Step 7: Completing the cycle

Given that industrial sites usually undergo regular changes (e.g. process updates, organisational restructuring) fire safety audits should be conducted periodically and following any major changes. The frequency of audits depends on factors such as the size of the site, the inherent fire risk and the issues identified during the initial audit. Following the completion of the initial audit, Efectis can support the client for determining this frequency based on its knowledge of the site and the inherent fire risks identified.

For more information, please contact: Maxime Rapenne