Fire Regulations - stay safe & within the Law
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales, including the common parts of blocks of flats and houses under multiple occupation. (HMOs).
Provision for fire safety in non-domestic premises in Scotland is contained within Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
The law applies to you, if you are:
Responsible for business premises
An employer or self-employed with business premises
Responsible for a part of a dwelling in which that part is solely used for business purposes
A charity or voluntary organisation
A contractor with a degree of control over any premises
Providing accommodation for paying guests
The Order was introduced to create a simpler system and make it easy for business owners and landlords to understand what is legally expected of them. It also places the emphasis on fire prevention through the drawing up of a risk assessment. It requires the ‘responsible person’ (usually the person managing the business or property) to carry out a fire safety risk assessment and also implement and maintain a fire management plan.
The mandatory fire risk assessment should identify all fire risks and fire hazards within the premises and should detail ways of eliminating or reducing the potential risks. If you have five or more employees, the risk assessment must be formally recorded, as evidence that it has been conducted.
If you do not comply with the fire regulations and your company, premises or accommodation is found to house substantial fire risks, the Fire Authority has a statutory duty to enforce compliance. This can lead to penalties and financial fines for your business.
Further detailed information on the Fire Regulations can be found within the links to government documents below. Alternatively, if you are uncertain whether your business or premises complies with fire risk legislation.
The following links will provide you with access to more information relating to fire safety and UK Fire Safety legislation, as well as highlighting what you are required to do, by law, under this legislation, if you operate commercial premises or own commercial property.
If you would like any help or guidance with your fire risk obligations, please call us, or complete the online enquiry form.
Fire Safety in Educational premises
Fire Safety in Small and Medium Places of Assembly
Fire Safety in Large Places of Assembly
Fire Safety in Theatres, Cinemas and similar premises
To assist you we have bullet pointed the key issues:
The legislation appoints a responsible person, it is usually the person who has "control of the premises" (Employer, Occupier, Tenant or Owner)
The responsible person must appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in taking preventative and protective measures
Competent persons need to have sufficient training and experience and knowledge to enable them to properly implement the measures identified for fire safety (That's were we come in!)
If 5 or more people are at work in the premises then a fire risk assessment has to be carried out, recorded and the significant findings acted upon
The fire service are the enforcing authority and have a right to inspect buildings, you cannot deny them entry
The fire service have a right to inspect your records, make enquiries and take samples
They can serve an enforcement notice on the responsible person if they are of the opinion that the responsible person is failing to comply with the Order
If they believe that the use of the premises constitutes a risk to persons so serious that the use of the premises ought to be prohibited or restricted they can serve a Prohibition notice to stop you using part or all of your premises
The responsible person commits an offence if he fails to comply with the duties imposed by the legislation
Offences are prosecutable in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. Fines and or terms of imprisonment can be imposed; currently an average fine is £7000 plus costs, fines of £250,000 have been imposed
The Fire Authority will enforce the Regulatory Reform Order unless the premises are the responsibility of the HSE due to licensing for dangerous substances etc, naval ships or a construction site.
Local Authorities will enforce fire safety at sports grounds which fall under the control of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975.
Powers of inspectors
An authorised inspector may do anything necessary to carry out the duties imposed by the Order.
At any reasonable time he may enter and inspect the premises, make enquiries about any matter, check documents and records, identify the responsible person, take samples and extracts of documents or undertake any other task he deems necessary.
The enforcing authority can serve a notice on the responsible person if they are of the opinion that the responsible person is failing to comply with the Order.
The Notice must state what is wrong and why and include the steps that the person must take to comply with the Notice. A period of not less than 28 days must be given for the carrying out of works.
If the Fire Authority believes that the use of the premises constitutes a risk to persons so serious that the use of the premises ought to be prohibited or restricted they can serve a Prohibition notice.
A Prohibition Notice takes effect immediately it is served if the risk to safety is considered to be imminent, otherwise the Notice can be deferred.
If a Fire Authority believes that fire safety may be compromised if premises are altered they may serve an Alterations Notice on the responsible person requiring them to inform the Authority of the pending alteration.