Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 frequently asked questions.

1. Where does the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 legislation apply?

The Regulatory Reform FSO will apply to virtually all premises and covers nearly every type of building, structure, and open space. For example:

  • offices and shops
  • premises that provide care
  • community halls
  • common areas of houses in multiple occupation
  • pubs, clubs and restaurants
  • schools
  • tents and marquees
  • hotels and hostels
  • factories and warehouses.

It excludes domestic premises occupied by a single family group.

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.

2. What will I have to do?

Mainly, carry out a fire risk assessment and act on the findings. A fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be reduced and to decide the nature of the general fire precautions you need to take to protect people against the fire risks that remain. If you employ five or more people you must record your risk assessment and any significant findings.

3. What is a fire risk assessment?

Employers and self-employed people must carry out, or appoint a competent person to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment of the risks of fire to their employees and others who may be affected by their work or business. Those who employ five or more employees must keep a formal record of any significant findings and remedial measures which have, or may need to be, taken The competent person or fire risk assessor need not possess any specific academic qualifications but should:

  • understand the relevant fire safety legislation;
  • have appropriate education, training, knowledge and experience in the principles of fire safety;
  • have an understanding of fire development and the behaviour of people in fire;
  • understand the fire hazards, fire risks and relevant factors associated with occupants at special risk within the buildings of the type in question, and
  • have appropriate training and/or experience in carrying out fire risk assessment.

4. Do I need to undertake a fire risk assessment?

Yes. The fire safety law affects all non-domestic premises in England and Wales. You are responsible for complying with this law 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.

5. I have no experience of making a fire safety risk assessment, what should I do?

If you are not confident to be able to undertake your own Fire Safety Risk Assessment, get help from a competent source. Remember you must be confident and competent to undertake this type of risk assessment. If in doubt always ask for advice.

6. Do I only need to consider the safety of employees, when undertaking a risk assessment?

You will have to take into account any person reporting to your premises, such as:

  • contractors
  • professional visitors,
  • members of the public
  • any other persons who may be affected by your activities

7. Will the Fire and Rescue Service still inspect my premises?

In some cases yes, particularly in higher risk premises. But they cannot carry out your fire risk assessment for you.

8. Should I wait for the Fire Officer to visit and identify any actions required?

No. You will need to prepare a fire risk assessment and emergency plan yourself or seek advice from an external competent source.

If you are an employer and have five or more employees, the findings of the risk assessment must be recorded. The risk assessment must cover both employees and any other relevant person. This may include employees of other employers, as well as visitors, contractors etc. An inspecting officer will expect to see your risk assessment and emergency plan when an inspection is carried out.

9. Who is the ‘responsible person’?

In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, for example, 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, all must take all reasonable steps to work with each other.

10. What will a fire risk assessment cost?

Type of Building                           *Approx. Cost                                  
Offices and shops £250.00
Premises that provide care  £750.00
Community halls  £300.00
Common areas of houses in multiple occupation            £200.00
Pubs, clubs and restaurants  £500.00
Schools  from £900.00
Hotels and hostels  £500.00
Factories and warehouses.  From £500.00

*specific site information will be required before a fixed cost can be given.

11. What fire safety training should I give to my staff?

It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that their staff are adequately trained on what to do in the event of fire.

Training should be given upon induction and preferably a second time within the first month of employment. Refresher training should be given at least once a year. Training should be undertaken by a competent person and a record kept in some form of logbook Fire Safety Training can be carried out in house, or by a reputable company.

Fire instruction should be given to staff in respect of the following:

  • Discovering a fire
  • Hearing the fire alarm
  • Assembly points
  • Calling the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Use of fire extinguishers

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