What is the Fire Safety Order?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force on 1st October 2006. Made under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001, which consolidated other legislation such as the Fire Precautions Act, licensing Act and Housing Acts into one simple single order. You can view the order on the UK Government’s official legislation site.
Does it affect me?
It is your duty as an employer, to ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment of the fire risk is carried out, to protect the building occupants, and reduce the instances of fire occurring and will affect you if you are one of the following:-
- Responsible for business premises employing over 5 or more people
- Responsible for a part of a dwelling where 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
How does this relate to a Fire Certificate?
This legislation completely replaces the need for fire certificates.
What do I have to do?
The first step to preventing a fire, is a fire risk assessment, which will ensure that you meet your legal obligation as the ‘ responsible person’, which in most cases is the employer.
At the same time, it allows the enforcing authority to make sure that the legislation is complied with and sets penalties if not.
However the legislation recognises that there are constraints on both time, skills and resources in all sizes of business, and therefore allows for the responsible person to engage a suitable outside professional agency or person (such as Fire Risk Assessment Limited) to undertake the fire risk assessment on your behalf and to prepare the necessary documentation to show that the business is compliant with Fire Safety Regulations.
What’s the penalty if I do nothing?
Many businesses still don’t have sufficient understanding of how the law affects their business or premises, and that they could be risking prosecution and/or financial ruin.
Will a Fire Risk Assessment cost me anything?
Our charges are very much dependent on the size of your premises, number of employees and purpose of the building. Click here to obtain a free quotation.
Can I get my local Fire and Rescue Authority to do my Fire Risk Assessment?
The simple answer is no. You can approach your local fire and rescue service for advice and feedback, but they will not do the Fire Risk Assessment for you.
Can I do my own fire risk assessment?
You can, if you have the time and expertise to do it. For an untrained person a fire risk assessment can be time consuming and might not meet the legal requirements. You may want to leave it to the professionals. The law clearly states that fire risk assessments are carried out by a ‘competent person’. Those carrying out a fire risk assessment must be satisfied that they are able to:
- Identify the fire hazards (i.e. potential causes of fire)
- Identify people at risk
- Evaluate fire safety measures provided and/or required to protect people (e.g. escape routes and fire alarm systems)
- Review the arrangements for management of fire safety (e.g. fire procedures, staff training and fire drills, maintenance of fire precautions, etc.)
- Formulate an action plan
- Record the significant findings and, if necessary, implement an action plan
- Keep the assessment up to date.
You need, however, to know your limits. If you feel, having read the guidance, that you do not have an appropriate knowledge or understanding of fire safety and the risk to people from fire to comply effectively with the legislative requirements; or, that you are unable to invest sufficient time and resources to do justice to this important task, you will need to appoint a specialist to carry out the risk assessment for you. Such a specialist must identify the fire safety measures that need to be in place. You should maintain close involvement in the process.
What happens in a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessor makes a thorough tour of your premises, evaluating the building condition and age, its layout and building contents to identify potential fire hazards, ignition sources and combustible materials and means of escape in the case of fire.
The assessor also notes who works in the building and where, current fire safety signage, current protocols for fire prevention and management, current fire safety equipment, its condition and maintenance and existing fire safety training and drills.
Does the business premises have to be closed whilst the assessor conducts their visit?
No, the assessor will need on average 1-2 hours in your premises but you do not have to be closed during this period.
They will need access to all areas of the premises and they will need to be able to meet with the person responsible for the building and inspect any fire log books and fire policies that you may already have in place.
What happens after the assessor has visited?
All of the information that has been gathered during the assessment is analysed and used to produce the fire risk assessment report.
The report is clear and easy to understand, satisfies regulatory requirements and is acceptable for insurance purposes. The report prioritises our significant findings.
Once you have read the report our assessors are on hand to assist with any remedial works and a competitive quotation can be provided in order that these matters are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Who needs to see my Fire Risk Assessment when I have done it?
Your staff need to be aware of the findings of the Fire Risk Assessment and you need to provide adequate instruction and training for them in respect of your emergency plan and anything else related to the outcome of your assessment.
You don’t need to send it to the fire authority, however you may receive a visit from your local fire office who ask to see it and this document may also need to be viewed by your insurance company.
What happens if I don’t comply with the Legislation?
The Fire and Rescue Authorities are the enforcing authorities for the Order, and as such can ask to inspect your premises and see your Fire Risk Assessment.
If there are found to be serious risks that are not being managed, they have a statutory duty to enforce the Order.
This can include issuing Enforcement Orders and, if necessary, taking you to court.
What do I do if I share my premises and do not have full control over the building?
Your plan needs to be done in co-ordination with the organisations you share with.
They will need to have their own Responsible Persons, but it may help to have someone who co-ordinates these people, such as a Responsible Person representing the building owner.
Will I be fully compliant with the new legislation if Fire Risk Assessment Ltd carry out my fire risk assessment?
Yes. Assessments are carried out by a qualified fire risk assessor, who will ensure that your property complies with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
How often should I review my Fire Risk Assessment?
It is important to remember that fire risk assessment is a continuous process and as such must be monitored and audited. New and existing control measure should be maintained to make sure they are still working effectively.
However, if you introduce changes to your premises your original risk assessment may not address any new hazards or risks arising from them. For this reason it is also important to review and revise your assessment regularly.
Examples of why a review should take place are as follows, but the list is by no means exhaustive:
- A new work process may introduce additional fuels or ignition sources
- Changes to furniture layout or internal partitions
- Increasing number of staff
- Occupying another floor of the building
How often should I be training my staff on fire safety awareness?
All staff should be trained on an annual basis and certificates should be held in your Fire Log book which includes details of who has received the training and when this was carried out.
What skills are required to carry out a fire risk assessment?
The person carrying out the fire risk assessment should be competent to do so. A competent person may be regarded as a person with sufficient training and experience, knowledge or other qualities, to enable him or her to carry out a defined task properly. The legislation recognises that there are constraints on both time, skills and resources in all sizes of business, and therefore allows for the responsible person to engage a suitable outside professional agency or person (such as Fire Risk Assessment Limited) to undertake the fire risk assessment on your behalf.
How do I know that your risk assessors are competent to carry out a fire risk assessment?
To assure you of the competence of our staff, it is our policy that consultants undertaking fire risk assessments are listed on the IFE (Institution of Fire Engineers) Register of Fire Risk Assessors and Auditors, or the IFSM (The Institute of Fire Safety Managers) or have a minimum of 10 years experience within the Fire Industry. We also use a number of retired Fire-fighters from Local Fire Brigades who have a wealth of experience in this field.