Construction Fire Safety: Responsibility & Competence Matrix

Purpose of the Matrix

The purpose of the matrix is to identify and outline the roles and the responsibilities of those involved in fire safety and prevention on construction projects. This will include those that have statutory duties and external fire safety professionals, who have a role in fire prevention during the design, pre-construction and the construction phases of projects. The tables in this document set out the minimum knowledge needed for each role and has been produced to support the construction industry in defining the Skills, Knowledge, Training and Experience needed by each of the duty holders’ roles.

How you Might use the Responsibility & Competence Matrix

The tables enable the user to help identify areas where gaps in competence exist and where improvement is required.  The tables can be used in good faith; however, it is difficult to define every situation where there might be a fire risk. The tables do give the user a structured framework to base their decisions on or to seek further clarity. The user of the tables must understand the basic fire safety requirements for both a construction site and a completed building and the impact of their activities on these; for example, fire stopping, compartmentation, and escape routes.

Duty Holders Role

All the duty holders need to have an understanding of the factors that contribute to construction fire risk and the safeguards available for reducing them. The ability to respond confidently if asked to describe and explain their legislation and guidance governing fire prevention and fire safety throughout the construction project, including site work. To support this, the matrix will signpost you to the information relevant to each of the duty holders and specific roles in fire management. By using the links in the left-hand column of the matrix, it will take you to the legislation/guidance where you will be able to research those roles.

Scope of Responsibility & Competence Matrix

This document contains guidance and signposts you to information relevant to duty holders and their specific roles in fire risk management in construction. It is not task specific and nor does it aim to provide you with all of the specialist information required for your specific site, or task. 

The matrix should provide you with the essential hints and structure from which you can develop the roles, responsibilities and tasks that are related to your particular activity(s).

Fire Safety

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Construction Industry Advisory Committee


HSE and relevant stakeholders are advised, by CONIAC, of emerging health and safety developments and risks in the construction industry, and sets a direction and plan for their promotion and mitigation.

CONIAC is organised under the six themes of Help Great Britain Work Well: acting together, tackling ill health, managing risk well, supporting small employers, keeping pace with change and sharing our success.

CONIAN Working Well Group

Managing Risk Well Working Group

CONIAC’s Managing Risk Well Working Group (MRWWG) created a sub-group to focus on Construction Fire Safety.

The group is made up of professionals from industry bodies, trade associations and representatives of construction fire safety trades. The sub-group was tasked with developing a matrix for structuring construction fire safety in the workplace. 

The Responsibility & Competence Matrix is the output from the sub-group.

Sub-Group Structure

The members of the sub-group come from a diverse range of companies, federations and the regulator (HSE). All members involved have a united passion to support and develop the construction and associated industries in their drive to improve fire safety. 

We Would Love to Hear Your Feedback!

This document is a “first edition” and if you have read/used the Responsibility & Competence Matrix we would be delighted to hear from you. Whether you have a suggestion for improvement or you just want to make a comment, please do share your feedback using our short form.

We are keen to make this document as useful as possible and to maintain its relevance and the links to supporting legislation and other documentation. Your feedback helps us to achieve this and we would really appreciate your thoughts and proposals.

All the feedback will be read and considered by CONIAC’s Managing Risk Well SubWorking Group, as well as CHSG. 

Disclaimer and Copyright Notice

The Construction Fire Safety Matrix has been produced by the CONIAC ‘Managing Risk Well’ group.

You are free to reproduce and use, subject to the following conditions of use:

  1. Construction Fire Safety Matrix is free to use for any purpose that aims to improve or maintain safety when working in construction.
  2. The matrix is ©CONIAC and any significant use should acknowledge CONIAC as the source.
  3. Any material changes in content or ordering to (as opposed to extracts from) the content of Construction Fire Safety Matrix are not authorised by the authors and must not be attributed to the authors, or the Construction Health & Safety Group.
  4. Any commercial use should also refer readers to the Construction Health & Safety Group webpage where the Construction Fire Safety Matrix is freely available.
  5. Any questions with regards to the possible use of the Construction Fire Safety Matrix should be referred to the authors using the “Send Us Your Feedback” button on the Construction Fire Safety page.
  6. The Construction Health & Safety Group is the document host and provides the Construction Fire Safety Matrix for download without accepting liability for the technical accuracy of the content and any person downloading the Construction Fire Safety Matrix accepts the information is provided as general guidance for working in construction.
  7. The Construction Fire Safety Matrix is not designed to be used to inform individual, site-specific requirements.