Building & Surrounds RA - Generic?

In the process of reviewing the H&S Documentation at my unit, and the Building & Surrounds RA was a Carbon Copy of the one included in the SW Guidance Document.

Surely this should be specific to the Sqn HQ and not a generic national RA, my building is so new there is no Abestos, but should it still be mentioned on the RA?

Interested in what other units have…

Why would you mention a hazard that doesn’t exist?

I think the generic one is a good start to which you can add things specific to your unit. The broken tarmac, the loose step, for example.

As a general rule, No two Buildings and Surrounds Risk Assessments will be the same.

A generic Risk Assessment is a good starting point for creating your own “Specific” Risk Assessment. 99/100, all generics should be amended to a specific location/activity.

If you view a generic RA as being there to assist, because it lists all hazards (even the ones that don’t necessarily apply to you), it’s easier to delete the irrelevant, than to forget to add those that do apply.

If you’re unsure about what to include or what not to include, the best plan is to include everything… you won’t accidentally miss a hazard that way.


Cheers Rick.

Once we can get back to the unit I’ll do a walk round with the all of my Risk Assessors, lockdown has seen this number increase by 3 which is amazing, and do a full review of the RA remove the irrelevant and add the extra in.

I would of emailed, but figured this is a good thing to share, I wonder how many others have just copied the generic and not reviewed the contents or applied the control measures!!

Playing devils advocate… Why have a B&S surrounds RA at all? Surely our buildings are designed safe in the first place? And if they are not safe, should we be using them?

I ask as we don’t have them in my work.

They are there to advise visitors, mainly contractors of hazards they may be unaware of, just in case RFCA haven’t given them their 4Cs brief.

It can also be used to ‘manage’ faults until they are rectified. RFCAs have, as I’m sure you’re aware, more infrastructure issues to rectify than there is money to do so.

The RAFAC estate is so diverse, ranging from World War 1 & 2 era Drill Halls , Boer War era Drill Halls, to Castles built in about AD 1450 (seriously)… to spooner Huts and to the new modular buildings.

It is policy within JSP375 and ACP5, and is there to comply with the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999, which requires a RA for any H&S risks within their area of responsibility.


I know in my H&S folder I have a page stating that there is no asbestos in the building along with a notice on our H&S board to that effect too. I’ve always thought it was a bit mad as the building is only 10 years old and built by RFCA.

I would have thought that it would make sense when new buildings go up for RFCA to produce the specific RA…

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Thank you for your answer. Until I started Risk Assessing for work, I never really questioned the need for one (I have to be honest, and say I’m personally still not sold on the need for them at all, sorry). That’s not to say I won’t comply with ACP5 requirements, because of course I will.

If we have to have them, I really don’t see why they are not carried out by RFCA. They are contracted to supply us with safe buildings, and engage the contractors that enter our premises. It should be their responsibility, not ours. Lets be honest, as a Sqn Commander I’m essentially toothless when it come to implementing meaningful control measures.

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This is so good. Look everyone from HQAC who lurks on here: someone asked a sensible question and was provided with a sensible, well reasoned answer by someone in the know.

Engagement is so helpful! I’m really pleased with this :slight_smile:


Although one could argue that if they are there to inform visitors, mainly contractors, then there is really little point in having them at all since no one ever looks at it. :wink:

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And you can’t put any controls in place to ensure contractors read it since you never know when a contractor will visit.

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In fact having been ordered by my Region H&S man that it should live in the H&S folder with the other RAs, that’s where I’ve put it.

The H&S folder lives with all the other folders - in a filing cabinet which is locked when staff are not in the building. So a surprise contractor, making a visit without me might not only ‘not bother’ to read it; they couldn’t even if they wanted to.

I have copies of the B&S RA, visitor brief, Asbestos report, Fire Orders, and a sign in sheet on a noticeboard by our front door. Not once has anyone signed to acknowledge they have read it…

I can’t believe I’m asking this, but what do the ACF do?

I share the building with them, so surely the B&S RA should be identical for them & us, it’s the same building, The same applies for Sign In Sheets & Visitor briefs etc although there may be some nuances for RAFAC v ACF

Me want the shiny


or the crumbly . . .


Well, i had this exact problem.

We share a building and when it was opened our WExO and their Major wrote some joint standing orders, one of which specifically said that there are 3 noticeboards in our shared hall. One for each unit and one for a joint H&S noticeboard because the information needs to be the same and this shouldn’t be altered for any reason.

10 years down the line and all my h&s notices kept getting moved. I’d move them back, then come in the next night and they were moved again. I complained, quoted the document saying this shouldn’t happen and got told to get back in my box and they can do what they like. I kept putting them back on our joint board until the CAA got fed up and put up another notice board in “our half” of the building and put all my notices on that.

So now we have conflicting information, written by different people, for anyone who wants it. I gave up complaining.

Nobody bar us staff bothers to sign in either. Not one single contractor has ever done so except where I’ve been present to ask them to.

Arguably, the visitors brief should be all that’s necessary - taking account of any important points in the RA and presenting them to the average person in the form of simple, easily understood instructions: “Do this”; “Do not do that”.

But again, I find it hard to believe that anyone in the building without staff present has ever bothered to read it - if they had they would have found the paragraph which directs them to sign in and out.


Shared Buildings with the ACF are an ongoing problem, and usually personality driven.

I’ve been to some where the ACF view the RAFAC Sqn as the (very) junior Partner in the “business”.

Attempts were made to create an agreed “Joint” H&S noticeboard that met all the requirements of the ACF and RAFAC. Some adopt it, some don’t from the ACF side.

This is an ongoing issue, and one that won’t be solved anytime soon I predict.

I can only assure you that it is being looked at.

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The comments about the ACF, show IMO a very real dichotomy. As I understand it the CAA does this for all ACF Dets, whereas we have x sqns per wing all doing the same thing but differently which then does the ATC multiplier resulting in a multiplication of controls. We have a specific section for visitors on a parade night to “sign in”, on the fire register. If someone comes in during the day I’m not fussed whether they sign in or not

I think we should come under the CAAs and H&S brought into RFCAs remit for us as well, so it’s all the same song sheet. How many people actually read H&S noticeboards? I’ve been going to one company for years and because I had to wait, I looked at the walls and saw an H&S noticeboard. I asked is that new, no, it had been there for years. I’d never noticed it, or if I had immediately dismissed it.
This should also mean quicker resolution local problems, rather than all the fannying around with “bits of paper” (several times over because it gets lost and or someone changes the form) to WExOs ending up getting done years later.