What is the Fire Safety Order and its requirements?

An overview of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and an explanation of what it means for you and your business or premises.
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The Fire Safety Order, (The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005), is a piece of legislation in England and Wales that replaced a raft of former fire safety laws. In fact, before this legislation was passed, there were about 70 different laws that covered different aspects of fire safety! The aim of the new Fire Safety Order passed in 2005 was to simplify the existing legislation and set the standard for fire safety in all non-domestic premises.

This article will explain some basics of the Fire Safety Order, for example who it applies to, its function within overall fire prevention and a breakdown of its individual requirements. You’ll also learn how to get help with risk assessments, training and more.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order only applies to England and Wales. It’s important to note that Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate fire safety legislation, which is not covered in this article.

Who is responsible for complying with the Fire Safety Order?

The Fire Safety Order states that you are a “responsible person” for fire safety in your business or other non-domestic premises if you fall into one of these categories:

  • the employer (in relation to a workplace)
  • the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise)
  • the Owner

There may be more than one person with responsibility. For example, business premises may have a landlord, a Chief Executive Officer, and a separate facilities manager who all share responsibility for fire safety within the building.

For premises that are multi-occupied; each tenant (as an employer or as an occupier engaged in a trade, business or other undertaking) must carry out a risk assessment for their occupancy, and for the routes to and egress from their occupancy and they will need to work together in collaboration to comply with these important fire safety regulations.

Which non-domestic premises are covered?

The Order applies to most non-domestic premises and businesses, including:

  • Venues open to the public including theatres, bars and gyms
  • Hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses
  • Factories, warehouses and storage facilities
  • Self-catering holiday lets
  • Office spaces and shops
  • Co-working spaces
  • Premises used by self-employed people
  • Day nurseries and childcare
  • Certain charitable organisations
  • Open air venues such as theme parks or zoos
  • Animal premises and stables

It’s also important to note that The Fire Safety Order applies to you if you accept any paying guests at your premises, even if you also live at the property. For example, running a bed and breakfast with paying guests who use the spare bedrooms at your home.

I’m the “responsible person”, so what do I need to know?

Responsible person(s) have the responsibility to ensure the premises meets the required standard of fire safety outlined by the Order as a starting point this means:

Other Frequently Asked Questions about the Fire Safety Order

If you fit into the category of a “responsible person” then you may have further questions about what this entails, or questions specific to your business.
We’ve answered a few commonly asked questions here to give you more information:

What if my premises has a new extension or other planned alteration?

If you already have everything in place but then have a new extension built, you’ll still need to ensure that any new extensions comply with building regulations, including fire safety.

This means that any planned extension or building work should be designed with fire safety in mind, not added as an afterthought. It’s often more challenging and costly to retrofit fire safety measures in buildings, so safety should be the highest priority when you’re planning or designing any changes to your existing business premises.

Read more about the guidance for buildings in England or the guidance for buildings in Wales.

What about if I share the premises with other businesses or individuals?

Where shared premises are concerned, it’s quite likely to have more than one “responsible person” involved in ensuring compliance and safety.
It’s extremely important that you communicate and coordinate with all the responsible persons, as it’s an important collective responsibility. Article 22 of the Fire Safety Order – Co-operation and co-ordination, details what must be done to comply with this requirement.

Learn more about fire safety in the workplace from the your local Fire Authority website, for example in our area it's South Wales Fire & Rescue Service or the HSE website.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

The Fire Safety Order is enforced by Local Fire and Rescue Authorities in England and Wales who operate a routine risk-based fire safety audit programme. Penalties for non-compliance include a fine or prison sentence.

This is an important piece of legislation designed to keep people safe, it’s not designed to catch businesses out.

Who can help with the Fire Safety Order?

Being responsible for complying with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 may sound extremely daunting, but we’re here to help. Firerite offers a cost-effective, professional service that will meet the current legislative requirements for businesses of any size.

The Firerite team has extensive knowledge of delivering a range of fire consulting services and fire risk assessments across a variety of sectors and buildings across England and Wales.

Here’s an overview of what’s available:

Fire Risk Assessment

We provide certificated fire risk assessments to NSI Gold BAFE SP205 accreditation backed by UKAS.

Fire Safety Training

A full range of staff fire safety training is available in standard packages and/or bespoke courses can also be arranged to suit your requirements. From extinguisher courses to training of industrial fire teams, FireRite will work with you to provide the most appropriate training relative to your risks.

If you’d like to learn more about Firerite’s services and how we can help, please get in touch with us and one of our expert consultants will be happy to help.

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