The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order
The Order replaces previous fire safety legislation. Any fire certificate issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 will cease to have any effect. If a fire certificate has been issued in respect of your premises or the premises were built to recent building regulations, as long as you have made no material alterations and all the physical fire precautions have been properly maintained, then it is unlikely you will need to make any significant improvements to your existing physical fire protection
arrangements to comply with the Order. However, you must still carry out a fire risk
assessment and keep it up to date to ensure that all the fire precautions in your
premises remain current and adequate.
If you have previously carried out a fire risk assessment under the Fire Precautions
(Workplace) Regulations 1997 as amended 1999, and this assessment has been
regularly reviewed then all you will need to do now is revise that assessment taking
account of the wider scope of the Order as described in this guide.
Your premises may also be subject to the provisions of a licence (e.g. under the Licensing Act 2003) in which case the order will apply.
The Order applies in England and Wales. It covers general fire precautions and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect ‘relevant persons’ 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 Order rests with the ‘responsible person’. In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the occupier or owner. In all other premises the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one responsible person in any type of premises (e.g. a multi-occupied complex), all must take all reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other. If you are the responsible person you must 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, those who you know have special needs and young persons and must include consideration of any dangerous substance liable 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.
If your organisation employs five or more people, your premises are licensed or an alterations notice is in force, you must record the significant findings of the assessment. It is good practice to record your significant findings in any case.