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Fire safety regulation and how it affects you

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 affects all non-domestic premises.

The Fire Safety Order (a shortened form of the above title) places greater emphasis on fire prevention in all non-domestic premises, including the voluntary sector and self-employed people with premises separate from their homes.

Fire certificates no longer have legal status.

The Fire Safety Order applies in England and Wales. It covers ‘general fire precautions’ and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect people in case of fire in and around most premises. The Order requires fire precautions to be put in place ‘where necessary’ and to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances of the case.

Responsibility for complying with the Fire Safety Order rests with the ‘responsible person’. If you are the responsible person you will have to carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all ‘relevant persons’. It should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as disabled people and those with special needs, and must include consideration of any dangerous substances likely to be on the premises.

Your fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions you need to take to protect people against the fire risks that remain.

Am I affected by the Fire Safety Order?

If you are:

  • responsible for business premises
  • an employer
  • self-employed with business premises
  • a charity or voluntary organisation
  • a contractor with a degree of control over any premises

…then you must comply with the law.

Are my premises covered by the Fire Safety Order?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to any ‘premises’, including:

  • any place
  • any workplace
  • any vehicle, vessel, aircraft or hovercraft
  • any installation on land (including the foreshore and other land intermittently covered by water)
  • any tent or movable structure

Exemptions to the Fire Safety Order

However, there are certain exemptions to which the Fire Safety Order does not apply:

  • domestic premises
  • an offshore installation within the meaning of regulation 3 of the Offshore Installation and PipelineWorks (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995
  • a ship, in respect of the normal ship-board activies of a ship’s crew which are carried out solely by the crew under the direction of the master
  • fields, woods or other land forming part of an agricultural or forestry undertaking but which is not inside a building and is situated away from the undertaking’s main building
  • an aircraft, locomotive or rolling stock, trailer or semi-trailer used as a means of transport or a vehicle for which a licence is in force under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 or a vehicle exempted from duty under that Act
  • a mine within the meaning of section 180 of the Mines and Quarries Act 1954, other than any building on the surface at a mine
  • a borehole site to which the Borehole Sites and Operations Regulations 1995 apply

Your Responsibilities Explained

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005


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