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The Fire Safety Order and your responsibilities

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was the biggest single reform of fire safety laws in over 30 years. It came into force on 1 October 2006, and consolidated existing fire safety laws which were scattered across more than 70 pieces of legislation.

It simplifies the law for businesses and places a greater focus on prevention.

It places the responsibility for fire safety on the employer or responsible person for a building or premises. Under the fire safety legislation, the responsible person for each premises must carry out an assessment of the risks of fire and take steps to reduce or remove the risk.

The risk assessment must consider the effect of a fire on anyone in or around the premises. This will need to be kept under regular review.

Although businesses no longer need a fire certificate, fire and rescue authorities still audit premises and ensure fire precautions are in place.

Does the order apply to my premises?

The order applies to nearly every type of building and structure. For example, it applies to:

  • offices and shops.
  • care providers (including care homes and hospitals).
  • community halls, places of worship and other community premises.
  • the shared areas of properties that several households live in (housing laws may also apply).
  • pubs, clubs and restaurants.
  • schools and sports centres.
  • tents and marquees.
  • hotels and hostels.
  • factories and warehouses.

It does not apply to:

  • people's private homes.

What are the main rules under the order?

As the responsible person, you must:

  • carry out a fire risk assessment to identify dangers and risks;
  • consider who may be at risk;
  • get rid of or reduce the risk from fire as far as is reasonably practicable and provide general fire precautions to deal with any possible risk left;
  • take other measures to make sure there is protection if flammable or explosive materials are used or stored;
  • create a plan to deal with any emergency and, in most cases, keep a record of your findings;
  • review your findings when necessary.

Guidance documents

The Department for Communities and Local Government provide a series of guidance documents dealing with specific types of premises and a guide about means of escape for disabled people. These guides provide detailed information on risk assessments and related issues. 

A short guide to making your premises safe from fire is also available providing simple and practical advice to people responsible for fire safety in small and medium sized businesses and can be downloaded in English, Welsh, Chinese, Turkish, Urdu and Gujarati.

The website also provides information about your responsibilities for fire safety in the workplace.

Fire Safety Audit Questionnaire

To help us provide the best possible service it is important that we hear from people who have had contact with our fire safety inspectors.

If you have had a fire safety inspection from one of our officers we would be grateful if you would take the time to complete this questionnaire.  The information will be used to identify any areas of improvement and enable us to assess the level of service provided.