Fire risk assessments

If you have a business, you have a legal duty to make sure that it is safe for yourself and your staff, your customers, visitors, and anyone else who may use or attend your premises. This legal duty applies to both the employed and self-employed.

Part of this legal duty is to carry out a fire risk assessment. The law which governs this is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, sometimes known as the RRO, or simply the fire safety order.

You will find guidance on why and how to carry out a fire risk assessment on the .GOV.UK website which will help you familiarise yourself with what is needed. 

Choosing a competent fire risk assessor

In deciding who is to conduct the fire risk assessment, you may find it helpful to consider the guidance you will find at the bottom of this page.

 

The type of assessment you will need

The type of assessment you will need for your business premises will depend on the type of premises it is. To help you find the right information, please select your type of business premises from the list below. This will take you to our dedicated page for your business type.

Below you will find:

  • a link to the relevant government assessment guide which sets out what you need to do and the steps you need to follow
  • answers to some common questions regarding fire safety risk assessments
  • handy tips from our inspectors about your type of premises
  • a link to our business protection portal

Select your type of premises from the list below

Animal premises

Animal premises and stables have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

What buildings does this apply to?

This applies to buildings that are:

  • all equine (connected with or to horses) establishments including stables and livery yards (also where the main or part use of the building or buildings is as stables or livery yards, or where equine premises form part of other occupied premises)
  • animal establishments
  • Zoos 

What if my premises are attached to others?

If your premises are attached to others, it may also apply. In such a case you will need to ensure you co-operate with those who manage areas that are not yours, so that your fire risk assessment for the complete premises is integrated.

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for animal premises and stables which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

I need some help

If you need help at any stage, contact our free business safety helpline on 01622 212 442 or by email at businessfiresafety@kent.fire-uk.org

Want to learn more?

Go to our business protection portal where you can generate a report specific to your type of business premises and location. This digital service will provide you with a wealth of additional information on how to safeguard your premises against a variety of different hazards.

Educational premises

Educational premises have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

What buildings does this apply to?

  • schools, colleges and academies
  • universities (but excluding university halls of residence and other residential premises – please see sleeping accommodation)
  • adult education centres
  • Sunday schools, after school clubs and creches, 
  • outdoor education centres
  • music schools

If your premises are used for educational purposes, but are contained within other premises used for non-educational purposes, you should also liaise with those who manage the other areas to ensure your fire risk assessment for the complete premises is integrated.

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for educational premises which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting this type of premises

Doors

One of the most common issues we find in educational premises is doors being wedged open or removed, or doors or walls being damaged and not repaired. It is important there is a robust maintenance scheme in place to repair such damage. It is also vital to ensure that if a door needs to be open there should be a suitable hold-open device linked to the fire alarm, rather than a door wedge. Always consult your fire risk assessor if you consider removing doors, to ensure you will not compromise any part of your fire strategy.

Summary: Do not wedge doors open and ensure any damage to walls or doors is repaired promptly.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

Escape routes

Within educational premises we regularly find escape routes have been used for storage, and that exits are partially blocked. Even if storage space is limited, it is important to ensure that escape routes are kept accessible at all times and are clear of any obstructions. Where possible, it should also be ensured that the walls are not covered in combustible materials, such as displays, that could enable fire to spread. 

Summary: Make sure escape routes are not used for storage or that exits are blocked.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 14 – Emergency routes and exits.

Maintenance

Within educational premises we often find that issues can arise around maintenance. This may range from having a fire door or hole in the wall repaired, to ensuring that the fire alarm has not been damaged. Fire alarm call points that may have been activated or broken should be repaired as quickly as possible. It is therefore important to have a robust maintenance plan in place at all times to ensure repairs are undertaken promptly. 

Summary: Your maintenance plan should ensure damage to fire doors, walls or fire alarm is repaired promptly.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 17 – Maintenance.

I need some help

If you need help at any stage, contact our free business safety helpline on 01622 212 442 or by email at businessfiresafety@kent.fire-uk.org

Want to learn more?

Go to our business protection portal where you can generate a report specific to your type of business premises and location. This digital service will provide you with a wealth of additional information on how to safeguard your premises against a variety of different hazards.

Factories and warehouses

Factories and warehouses have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

What buildings does this apply to?

This applies to a building, or part of a building whose main use is as a factory or warehouse.

What if my premises are attached to others?

If your premises are attached to others, it may also apply. In such a case you will need to ensure you co-operate with those who manage areas that are not yours, so that your fire risk assessment for the complete premises is integrated.

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for factories and warehouses which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing a competent fire risk assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting this type of premises

Lack of compartmentation

We often find factory and warehouse buildings lack compartmentation (walls, floors, ceilings, doors and any other structure that is used to divide up a building). This is usually due to the age and size of the building and its poor maintenance. Compartmentation can help contain fire and smoke by having fire doors and fire resistant wall, floors and celling. It is important to make sure that any breaches of the building’s structure, such as holes or gaps often created by the installation or removal of equipment, wiring or pipework, are repaired to prevent fire spreading. 

Summary: Make sure there is good compartmentation within the building to help reduce the spread of fire and smoke.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

Emergency lighting and signage

Emergency lighting and signage is used to aid people in the safe evacuation of a premises. In the event of a power failure, any areas that require emergency lighting will be illuminated to allow people to evacuate safely. Signage is needed to guide a person out of the premises as quickly and safely as possible. Given the size of most factory and warehouses, it is important that the lighting and signage is easily identifiable and people within the premises are able to evacuate quickly and safely. 

Summary: Ensure emergency lighting is positioned appropriately and signage is displayed correctly and is clearly visible.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 14 – Emergency routes and exits

Regular testing and maintenance of fire safety provisions

If a premises is required to have emergency lighting, fire detection and firefighting equipment it must perform regular testing and maintenance of the equipment to ensure it is in good working order. This is important as these fire safety provisions aid the occupants of the premises to evacuate quickly and safely in the event of a fire. These tests are required to be completed on a regular basis and in line with the relevant guidance. 

Summary: Fire safety provisions installed must be tested regularly to ensure that they are in good working order.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 17 – Maintenance

I need some help

If you need help at any stage, contact our free business safety helpline on 01622 212 442 or by email at businessfiresafety@kent.fire-uk.org

Want to learn more?

Go to our business protection portal where you can generate a report specific to your type of business premises and location. This digital service will provide you with a wealth of additional information on how to safeguard your premises against a variety of different hazards.

Healthcare premises

What premises does this apply to?

This applies to those premises whose main or part use of the building is to provide healthcare.

Their primary use must be the provision of healthcare, whether private or non-private. They can include:

  • hospitals
  • doctors’ surgeries
  • dentists
  • other similar healthcare premises

The fire risk assessment may also apply: if individual healthcare premises form part of, or are within, a multi-use complex please note it will be necessary to liaise and consult with those responsible for the other premises to ensure an integrated risk assessment for the whole of the complex.

What premises does this not apply to?

  • care and nursing homes (unless the main purpose is the provision of healthcare)
  • rehabilitation premises for addiction treatment provided on a residential basis
  • day-care centres (no residential facility)
  • sheltered accommodation
  • nursing care supplied to private homes
  • staff accommodation and administration blocks

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for healthcare premises which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting this type of premises

Damage to walls, floors or partitions (compartmentation)

Healthcare premises are often designed compartmentally to stop fire spreading from one area to another. However, we find that when these premises are adapted – for example to accommodate equipment or services, wires and pipes are removed, or new holes are made in the compartment walls – fire and smoke can spread to other areas, affecting escape routes and people.

Summary: When having any works done to your healthcare premises remember to ensure any changes or adaptations do not increase the risk of spread of fire.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

Fire evacuation procedures

Because of the nature of healthcare premises, your fire evacuation procedures may vary depending on which part of the premises they relate to. We find that staff are not always aware of, or follow the different procedures, for different parts of the building when carrying out their roles such as fire wardens. Also, clear instructions may not be available for visitors. 

Summary: Make sure your evacuation procedures reflect the diverse nature of your premises, that staff are aware of this, and clear fire action notices are displayed throughout the premises.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 15 - Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas.

Training and understanding for different sites or premises

Healthcare staff often work across different sites and premises, but we frequently find that they do not receive, or have, the right fire safety training and understanding for each of the sites and premises they may go to, or work in. 

Summary: It is important to ensure that all staff have regular fire safety training, or specific training for onsite procedures, for ALL sites and premises they may work at or in.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 21 - Training

Large places of assembly

If more than 300 people can or may attend or assemble at your place of business, then you have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment. If your premises accommodate fewer than 300, please see our page on small and medium places of assembly.

What buildings does this apply to?

  • sports stadia
  • exhibition and conference centres
  • leisure centres and swimming pools
  • large nightclubs and large pubs
  • churches, cathedrals, other places of religious worship or study and associated premises
  • museums and libraries
  • common areas of shopping malls
  • large temporary structures
  • marquees/tents and air-supported structures
  • large community centres, village halls and similar premises

The above list includes a wide range of premises, whose functions are very varied. Some premises, for example, may require a licence or be hired out which may be reflected in the requirements of the fire risk assessment that needs to be undertaken.

What buildings does this not apply to?

  • sleeping accommodation (including halls of residence, hostels or hotels)
  • theatres and cinemas
  • concert halls and similar premises, and/or outdoor facilities

What if my premises adjoin others?

If your premises adjoin or are part of a complex such as a shopping centre, you will need to work with the managers of those premises to ensure that there is an integrated fire risk assessment for the whole complex.

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for large places of assembly which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Is there anything else I will need to know about or do?

If your business involves the need for a licence there will or may be further things you will need to consider when conducting a fire risk assessment of your premises. You will find further information on our licensing pages.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting large public houses, restaurant and cafes and clubs

Fire risk assessment

All types of licensed premises must ensure they have undertaken and documented their fire risk assessment, which needs to be available on site and regularly reviewed. 

Summary: Remember to ensure a fire risk assessment has been carried out and is regularly reviewed.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Clearly marked and signed escape routes

Emergency lighting and signage is used to aid people in the safe evacuation of a premises. In the event of a power failure, any areas that require emergency lighting will be illuminated to allow people to evacuate safely. Signage is needed to guide a person out of the premises as quickly and safely as possible. Given that most people use the main entrance and exit, they may be unaware of other exits and routes. It is therefore important that the lighting and signage is easily identifiable and people within the premises are able to evacuate quickly and safely.

Summary: Ensure emergency lighting is positioned appropriately and signage is displayed correctly and is clearly visible.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 14 – Emergency routes and exits

Evacuation policy in place and drills carried out

Research has shown that people who are intoxicated often ignore fire alarms, assuming they are false. Because of this, is it important to ensure evacuation drills are carried out regularly and to highlight the importance of evacuation. 

Summary: Ensure simultaneous evacuation (where everyone evacuates when the fire alarm goes off) is completed quickly and safely, managed by a responsible person or designated person, and confirm everyone is out of the building.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 15 – Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting large village halls, community centres and marquees

Fire risk assessment

All types of licensed premises must ensure they have undertaken and documented their fire risk assessment, which needs to be available on site and regularly reviewed. 

Summary: Remember to ensure a fire risk assessment has been carried out and is regularly reviewed.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Electrical safety

Electrical fires are the biggest cause of commercial fires in Kent and Medway. It is important that relevant electrical safety checks are carried out by a competent person including the mains electrical testing that is carried out every five years. Ensure all electrical, mechanical and gas equipment is installed, used, maintained and protected in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This may include the equipment brought in by people using or hiring your premises. 

Summary: Ensure that equipment is installed, used, maintained and relevant electrical safety checks are carried out by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 10 – Principles of prevention to be applied

Maintenance and testing of equipment

We commonly find that community halls and centres do not carry out appropriate testing and maintenance on fire precautions provided. It is important to ensure that all the equipment, devices and facilities provided in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person. This includes fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, signage, fire exits and fire doors, which should all be maintained and in working order, with the appropriate checks and tests carried out. 

Summary: Ensure all equipment, devices and facilities in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 17 – Maintenance

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting libraries, churches and other places of worship or study

Fire risk assessment

All types of licensed premises must ensure they have undertaken and documented their fire risk assessment, which needs to be available on site and regularly reviewed. 

Summary: Remember to ensure a fire risk assessment has been carried out and is regularly reviewed.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Maintenance and testing of equipment

We commonly find that libraries and places of worship do not carry out appropriate testing and maintenance on fire precautions provided. It is important to ensure that all the equipment, devices and facilities provided in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person. This includes fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, signage, fire exits and fire doors, which should all be maintained and in working order, with the appropriate checks and tests carried out. 

Summary: Ensure all equipment, devices and facilities in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 17 – Maintenance

Fire safety training required

People who hold a responsibility for fire safety within the premises should have sufficient training for their role. This should include assisting those identified by the risk assessment as being at greater risk due to a disability and where appropriate, practical training such as the use of firefighting equipment and media. 

Summary: Ensure those responsible for fire safety, including fire marshals if required, have sufficient and regular training to ensure they understand their responsibilities.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 21 – Training

Open air events and venues

What premises does this apply to?

It applies to:

  • theme parks and fairgrounds
  • zoos
  • music concerts and festivals
  • sporting events and race meetings
  • street, religious and balloon festivals
  • car boot sales
  • county fairs
  • and other similar events

What premises does this not apply to?

  • sports stadiums, large temporary, and air-supported structures – see Large places of assembly
  • permanent buildings or structures – see our main assessment page to select your type of premises

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for open air events and venues which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Residential care premises

Residential care premises have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for residential care premises page which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

What types of premises are regarded as ‘Residential care premises? 

They must be premises that are:

  1. permanently staffed and provide residential care for residents some or all of whom may need assistance to escape in a fire, and
  2. they must also provide residential care as their main use. This means providing personal and/or nursing care but not healthcare treatment.

Examples of the type of premises and those who care is provided for includes:

  • care and nursing homes, common areas in sheltered housing providing care, and similar premises (provided they have permanent staff and provide care but not healthcare). The care provided will be for people including the elderly, infirm, children and young persons, people with special needs and those with addictions.

The fire risk assessment may also apply to:

  • individual residential care premises which form part of a separate multi-use complex. However in this case please note it will be necessary to liaise and consult with those responsible for the other premises to ensure an integrated risk assessment for the whole of the complex.

Does it apply to non-residential premises that provide care?

Yes, the relevant sections of the fire risk assessment guide can also be used as a basis for carrying out assessments in non-residential care premises such as day care centres.

What premises does it not apply to?

It does not apply to:

  • sheltered accommodation, with no care supplied
  • hospitals and other healthcare premises
  • private homes to which nursing care is supplied

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting this type of premises

Compartmentation

A common problem we encounter when auditing residential care premises is the presence of ‘compartmentation’ breaches. (Compartmentation means the walls, floors, ceilings, doors and any other structure that is used to divide up a building.)

Something as simple as holes caused by pipes, equipment or services which have been fitted or removed, will allow the passage of smoke and fire which can compromise evacuation of the premises. It is important to make sure any holes in walls, ceiling or floors are fully repaired or sealed using fire resistant materials.

Summary: Remember to fill any holes (however small) in walls, floors or ceilings with fire resistant materials.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

Escape routes

We frequently come across items such as electronic hoists or mobility scooters being stored in escape routes. We recommend that where possible, you have a designated storage and charging area for these items. This is because were these to catch fire while being stored or charged, it would quickly make the escape route unusable due to fire and smoke. This could result in residents being unable to evacuate the premises. 

Summary: Do not store combustible items, especially mobility scooters or electronic hoists, in escape routes.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 14 – Emergency routes and exits

Staff training and evacuation procedures

It is essential that you make sure all staff are trained in the evacuation procedure for your premises through carrying out drills and training sessions. You should also have sufficient evacuation aids to enable a safe evacuation of your residents if needed. It is also important to ensure your building is suitable for the type of evacuation you intend to use by having a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out by a competent person. 

Summary: Make sure your staff are trained in evacuation procedures, you have sufficient evacuation aids and your building is suitable for the type of evacuation planned.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 15 – Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas

Further guidance

We recommend that you also familiarise yourself with:

and

Do I need a grab bag and an external strong box?

A grab bag contains essential items for recovery and continuation in the event of an emergency evacuation. An external strong box is stored externally and can contain emergency documents and critical information. Further information about  grab bags and  external strong boxes is available.

Shops (retail premises) and offices

Shops (retail premises) and offices have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

What buildings does this apply to?

This applies to buildings that:

  • have an office or shop as their main use, as well as those where only part is being used
  • purpose-built and converted office blocks
  • individual offices and shops that are part of a larger complex (such as a shopping centre)

What buildings does this not apply to?

  • It does not apply to offices in a private home or domestic accommodation.

What if my premises are attached to others?

If your premises are attached to others, it may also apply. In such a case you will need to ensure you co-operate with those who manage areas that are not yours, so that your fire risk assessment for the complete premises is integrated.

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for offices and shops which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting shops (retail premises) are:

Insufficient or inadequate emergency lights

Shops are required to have sufficient emergency lighting. This is to ensure that escape routes are illuminated, safety equipment can be seen and that occupants can safely exit the building in the event of a power failure. These lights should be tested on a monthly basis and maintained by a competent person.

Summary: You must have sufficient emergency lighting which is regularly tested and maintained.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 14 – Emergency routes and exits

No fire risk assessment

It is a legal requirement that a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment is carried out for shop premises by a competent person. The assessment should note any deficiencies, fire safety hazards and risks, which must be addressed and remedied so that the premises are safe for all occupants.

Summary: Make sure that a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment has been carried out by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Poor electrical safety

Electrical fires are the biggest cause of commercial fires in Kent and Medway. It is important that relevant electrical safety checks are carried out by a competent person including the mains electrical testing that is carried out every five years. Ensure all electrical, mechanical and gas equipment is installed, used, maintained and protected in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ensure that equipment is installed, used, maintained and relevant electrical safety checks are carried out by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 10 – Principles of prevention to be applied

The three most common problems our inspectors find when visiting offices are:

No current fire risk assessment or failure to review a fire risk assessment

You must have an appointed, suitably competent and responsible person whose duty it is to ensure that you have a current fire risk assessment, which is regularly reviewed. Any problems or deficiencies identified by the assessment should be rectified as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Summary: You must have a current fire risk assessment which is regularly reviewed.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Inadequate fire detection and warning systems

Fire detection and warning systems such as smoke and heat detectors alert those on the premises of the need to escape to a place of safety. These systems must be sufficient and adequate for both the size and usage of your premises.

Summary: Fire detection and firefighting provisions must be adequate.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 13 – Firefighting and detection

Detection and warning systems must be maintained

Fire detection and warning systems should always be in full working order. This requires weekly functionality checks in house and annual maintenance by suitably qualified engineers.

Summary: Fire detection and warning systems must be regularly checked and maintained.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 17 – Maintenance

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting shops (retail premises) or offices with accommodation above

Inadequate fire precautions

Domestic flats or living accommodation that are situated above shops or business premises and have no separate entrance or access, often fail to have the requisite fire precautions. This is often because there is no separation (compartmentalisation) between the shop/business premises and domestic accommodation, allowing fire and smoke to spread easily from one to the other, trapping people inside. 

Summary: It is important to ensure all walls, ceilings and doors have the necessary fire safety separation (compartmentation) to stop the spread of fire and smoke.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

No fire risk assessment

Legally, all business premises across England should conduct a fire risk assessment to ensure fire safety hazards and risks are addressed and the premises are safe for all users. If business premises include domestic areas – for example a flat above a shop – which have no separate access, the fire risk assessment may need to cover the whole premises including the domestic parts. 

Summary: The fire risk assessment may need to cover the whole premises including domestic areas if there is no separate access.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Detection and alarm system needs to be for the whole premises

Where domestic dwellings are linked to commercial premises, where there is no separate access, it is vital there should be the correct level of detection and alarm system throughout the whole premises, including the domestic dwelling. This is essential to alert occupants of the domestic dwelling and give them time to escape if a fire in the commercial premises occurs, especially at night. 

Summary: Ensure your fire detection and alarm systems covers the whole premises, including the domestic dwelling, so that occupants have time to escape.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 13 – Firefighting and detection

Additional information

Please also visit our page on living above your business for further information.

I need some help

If you need help at any stage, contact our free business safety helpline on 01622 212 442 or by email at businessfiresafety@kent.fire-uk.org

Want to learn more?

Go to our business protection portal where you can generate a report specific to your type of business premises and location. This digital service will provide you with a wealth of additional information on how to safeguard your premises against a variety of different hazards.

Sleeping accommodation (including halls of residence, hostels and hotels)

What buildings does this apply to?

Sleeping accommodation includes all premises where the main use is to provide sleeping accommodation and among the many categories it includes are:

  • hotels, guest houses, B&Bs and any other guest accommodation where there is sleeping accommodation
  • self catering accommodation including chalets, boats, caravan holiday parks
  • hostels including bail hostels and accommodation for homeless persons
  • refuges
  • residential spas, conference, seminar and training centres
  • student halls of residence, training institutions including military barracks, seminaries and religious colleges
  • relevant areas of boarding schools
  • the common areas of flats, maisonettes, houses of multiple occupation, and sheltered housing (other than those providing care – see residential care premises)
  • university halls of residence 
  • workplace sleeping areas where it is part of the employment (excluding tied accommodation)
  • (Please note for student accommodation premises:  during the current COVID-19 pandemic you may also wish to consider protection advice from the National Fire Chiefs Council issued on 2 November 2020 in relation to student accommodation)

What buildings does this not apply to?

It does not apply to:

  • hospitals
  • places of custody
  • single private dwellings
  • Residential care premises are subject to a different and separate fire risk assessment.

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for sleeping accommodation which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting halls of residence

Closing doors

We find it is common practice in halls of residence to wedge or prop doors open. However, if doors opening onto escape routes are left open, smoke and heat can travel and spread, potentially trapping people. Where possible, devices should be fitted to fire doors that hold them open, but disengage if a fire alarm is activated. 

Summary: Ensure doors that open onto escape routes are not wedged or propped open.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

Fire alarms

Research has shown that people who use halls of residence often ignore fire alarms, assuming they are false. Because of this, is it important to ensure evacuation drills are carried out regularly and to highlight the importance of evacuation. Ensure simultaneous evacuation (where everyone evacuates when the fire alarm goes off) is completed quickly and safely, managed by a responsible person, and a role call taken to confirm everyone is out of the building. 

Summary: Evacuation should be managed by a responsible person, a role call taken and regular drills undertaken.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 15 – Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas

Sufficient training for fire safety roles

People who hold a responsibility for fire safety within halls of residence should have sufficient training for their role. Duty fire marshals responsible for assisting in an evacuation should receive relevant, regular training to ensure they understand their responsibilities. This should include assisting those identified by the risk assessment as being at greater risk due to a disability and where appropriate, practical training such as the use of firefighting equipment and media. 

Summary: Ensure those responsible for fire safety, including duty fire marshals, have sufficient and regular training to ensure they understand their responsibilities.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 21 – Training

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting hostels

Compartmentation

Hostels often have a lack of compartmentation which, in many circumstances, is due to the age of the premises and poor maintenance of the building. Good compartmentation, which can include wall, floor, ceilings and doors, will ensure a fire is contained for a period of time to allow occupants to escape and the fire service to attend. It is also important that any breaches to any of the building’s structures are repaired, such as holes or gaps caused by wires or pipes being installed or removed. 

Summary: Ensure that hostel premises have good compartmentation and any damage, holes or gaps are repaired.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

Escape routes

We often find escape routes are obstructed. Given the nature of a hostel and the fast turnover of guests, it is very important that escape routes should be kept clear at all times and easily identifiable by signage. Guests should be made aware of the escape route relevant to their room. Regular routine inspections should be carried out to ensure routes are clear and any findings should be reminded.

Summary: Ensure all escape routes are clear at all times and easily identifiable by signage.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 14 – Emergency routes and exits

Testing and maintenance

We commonly find that hostels do not carry out appropriate testing and maintenance on fire precautions provided. It is important to ensure that all the equipment, devices and facilities provided in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person. This includes fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, signage, fire exits and fire doors, which should all be maintained and in working order, with the appropriate checks and tests carried out. 

Summary: Ensure all equipment, devices and facilities in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 17 – Maintenance

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting hotels

Fire detection and warning systems

Fire detection and warning systems such as smoke and heat detectors linked to sounders provide critical early warning in hotels, particularly when guests are sleeping. This early warning alerts those in the building of the need to escape to a place of safety, before escape routes are no longer accessible due to effects of fire or smoke. You must ensure the detection and warning system is adequate for your premises. The system should be tested on a weekly basis and maintained by a suitably qualified competent person. 

Summary: Ensure that your fire detection and warning systems are adequate for your premises, tested weekly and maintained.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 13 – Firefighting and fire detection

Compartmentation

It is important to routinely check that all doors, walls, ceilings and floors that form part of the compartmentation between rooms are fully intact, with no breaches such as gaps or holes. This is to prevent smoke or fire passing from one room or floor to another, affecting escape routes and occupants. These gaps or holes made in the compartment walls may occur when equipment or services are installed creating new holes, or when wires and pipes are removed. 

Summary: Regularly check that all doors, walls, ceiling and floors are intact with no gaps or holes that smoke or fire could pass through.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

Fire risk assessment

You must have a current suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment completed by a competent person. You must also ensure that any significant findings are recorded and deficiencies found during the assessment are remedied as soon as is reasonably practicable. 

Summary: You must have a current suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment completed by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Small and medium places of assembly

If up to 300 people can or may attend or assemble at your place of business, then you have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment. If your premises can accommodate more than 300, please see Large places of assembly.

What buildings does this apply to?

  • smaller public houses
  • clubs
  • restaurants and cafés
  • village halls
  • community centres
  • libraries
  • marquees
  • churches and other places of worship or study

The list includes a wide range of premises, whose functions are very varied. Some premises for example may require a licence or be hired out which may be reflected in the requirements of the fire risk assessment that needs to be undertaken.

What buildings does this not apply to?

  • Premises that can hold more than 300 people attending or assembling

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for small and medium places of assembly which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Is there anything else I will need to know about or do?

If your business involves the need for a licence there will or may be further things you will need to consider when conducting a fire risk assessment of your premises. You will find further information on our licensing pages.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting smaller public houses, restaurants, cafes and clubs

Fire risk assessment

All types of licensed premises must ensure they have undertaken and documented their fire risk assessment, which needs to be available on site and regularly reviewed. 

Summary: Remember to ensure a fire risk assessment has been carried out and is regularly reviewed.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Clearly marked and signed escape routes

Emergency lighting and signage is used to aid people in the safe evacuation of a premises. In the event of a power failure, any areas that require emergency lighting will be illuminated to allow people to evacuate safely. Signage is needed to guide a person out of the premises as quickly and safely as possible. Given that most people use the main entrance and exit, they may be unaware of other exits and routes. It is therefore important that the lighting and signage is easily identifiable and people within the premises are able to evacuate quickly and safely.

Summary: Ensure emergency lighting is positioned appropriately and signage is displayed correctly and is clearly visible.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 14 – Emergency routes and exits

Evacuation policy in place and drills carried out

Research has shown that people who are intoxicated often ignore fire alarms, assuming they are false. Because of this, is it important to ensure evacuation drills are carried out regularly and to highlight the importance of evacuation. 

Summary: Ensure simultaneous evacuation (where everyone evacuates when the fire alarm goes off) is completed quickly and safely, managed by a responsible person or designated person, and confirm everyone is out of the building.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 15 – Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting village halls, community centres and marquees

Fire risk assessment

All types of licensed premises must ensure they have undertaken and documented their fire risk assessment, which needs to be available on site and regularly reviewed. 

Summary: Remember to ensure a fire risk assessment has been carried out and is regularly reviewed.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Electrical safety

Electrical fires are the biggest cause of commercial fires in Kent and Medway. It is important that relevant electrical safety checks are carried out by a competent person including the mains electrical testing that is carried out every five years. Ensure all electrical, mechanical and gas equipment is installed, used, maintained and protected in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This may include the equipment brought in by people using or hiring your premises. 

Summary: Ensure that equipment is installed, used, maintained and relevant electrical safety checks are carried out by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 10 – Principles of prevention to be applied

Maintenance and testing of equipment

We commonly find that community halls and centres do not carry out appropriate testing and maintenance on fire precautions provided. It is important to ensure that all the equipment, devices and facilities provided in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person. This includes fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, signage, fire exits and fire doors, which should all be maintained and in working order, with the appropriate checks and tests carried out. 

Summary: Ensure all equipment, devices and facilities in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 17 – Maintenance

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting libraries, churches and other places of worship or study

Fire risk assessment

All types of licensed premises must ensure they have undertaken and documented their fire risk assessment, which needs to be available on site and regularly reviewed. 

Summary: Remember to ensure a fire risk assessment has been carried out and is regularly reviewed.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Maintenance and testing of equipment

We commonly find that libraries and places of worship do not carry out appropriate testing and maintenance on fire precautions provided. It is important to ensure that all the equipment, devices and facilities provided in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person. This includes fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, signage, fire exits and fire doors, which should all be maintained and in working order, with the appropriate checks and tests carried out. 

Summary: Ensure all equipment, devices and facilities in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 17 – Maintenance

Fire safety training required

People who hold a responsibility for fire safety within the premises should have sufficient training for their role. This should include assisting those identified by the risk assessment as being at greater risk due to a disability and where appropriate, practical training such as the use of firefighting equipment and media. 

Summary: Ensure those responsible for fire safety, including fire marshals if required, have sufficient and regular training to ensure they understand their responsibilities.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 21 – Training

Theatres, cinemas and similar premises

Theatres, cinemas and similar premises have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

What buildings does this apply to?

These are any premises, or part of a premises, whose main use is as a theatre, cinema, or concert hall, or a combination of any of these.

This applies to purpose-built and converted premises.

What if my premises are temporary, part of, or attached to other premises?

If you are using temporary structures such as marquees or tents please go to our page for either Small and medium places of assembly (holding up to 300 people) or Large places of assembly (holding over 300 people).  If your premises form part of other premises or facilities such as educational or shopping premises, or places of assembly including outdoor facilities, you should also refer to the guidance and information on our pages for these. If your premises are attached to others, for example a shopping centre, it will be necessary to consult and work with those who manage those centres/areas, so that your fire risk assessment forms part of the integrated risk assessment for the complex.

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for theatres, cinemas and similar premises which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Is there anything else I will need to know about or do?

If your business involves the need for a licence there will or may be further things you will need to consider when conducting a fire risk assessment of your premises. You will find further information on our licensing pages.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting theatres, cinemas and similar premises

Fire risk assessment

All types of licensed premises must ensure they have undertaken and documented their fire risk assessment, which needs to be available on site and regularly reviewed. 

Summary: Remember to ensure a fire risk assessment has been carried out and is regularly reviewed.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 9 – Risk assessment

Escape routes used as storage

Within entertainment premises we regularly find escape routes have been used for storage, and that exits are partially blocked. Even if storage space is limited, it is important to ensure that escape routes are kept accessible at all times and are clear of any obstructions. Where possible, it should also be ensured that the walls are not covered in combustible materials, such as displays, that could enable fire to spread. 

Summary: Make sure escape routes are not used for storage or that exits are blocked.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 14 – Emergency routes and exits

No evacuation drills carried out

Due to the nature of the premises and the disruption a drill can cause to a show or a screening, drills are often not carried out. It important to ensure evacuation drills are carried out regularly and to highlight the importance of evacuation. 

Summary: Ensure simultaneous evacuation (where everyone evacuates when the fire alarm goes off) is completed quickly and safely, managed by a responsible person or designated person and confirm everyone is out of the building.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 15 – Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas

Transport premises and facilities

Transport premises and facilities have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

What premises and facilities does this apply to?

Transport premises and facilities encompass a wide variety of premises, which may vary from relatively simple to large, complex facilities. They include the following, as well as similar premises that are not listed:

  • airport terminals for both passenger and freight
  • ferry and shipping ports for both passenger and freight
  • rail terminals, stations and platforms – surface (train, light rail and tram) and sub-surface.
  • bus and coach terminals and stations
  • interchanges for transport
  • tunnels for both road and rail

What premises and facilities does this not apply to?

  • offices and shops within transport premises facilities
  • modes of transport – vehicles such as trains, aircraft, buses

What if my premises are attached to others?

If your premises are attached to others, for example an airport attached to a shopping mall or hotel, it will be necessary to consult and work with those who manage those areas, so that your fire risk assessment forms part of the integrated risk assessment for the complete premises.

How can I find out what to do?

Go to the Fire safety risk assessment for transport premises and facilities which you will find on the .GOV.UK website. This provides a comprehensive guide and will tell you how to carry out an assessment and what you need to do, as well as some useful checklists.

This guidance is currently only available in PDF format.

Who can carry out an assessment?

An assessment must be carried out by a ‘responsible person’ – someone who owns or has control of the business, has the necessary knowledge and ability and is competent to carry out the assessment. Alternatively, you can employ a qualified assessor.

If you decide to undertake the assessment yourself, follow the guidance set out in the government guide referred to above under 'How can I find out what to do?'.

If you choose to use an assessor, visit our page on choosing an assessor for useful information and tips.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting this type of premises

Lack of compartmentation

We often find transport premises lack compartmentation (walls, floors, ceilings, doors and any other structure that is used to divide up a building). This is usually due to the age and size of the building and its poor maintenance. Compartmentation can help contain fire and smoke by having fire doors and fire resistant walls, floors and ceilings. It is important to make sure that any breaches of the building’s structure, such as holes or gaps often created by the installation or removal of equipment, wiring or pipework, are repaired to prevent fire spreading.

Summary: Make sure there is good compartmentation within the building to help reduce the spread of fire and smoke.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

Emergency lighting and signage not clear

Emergency lighting and signage is used to aid people in the safe evacuation of a premises. In the event of a power failure, any areas that require emergency lighting will be illuminated to allow people to evacuate safely. Signage is needed to guide a person out of the premises as quickly and safely as possible. Given the size of most transport premises, it is important that the lighting and signage is easily identifiable and people within the premises are able to evacuate quickly and safely.

Summary: Ensure emergency lighting is positioned appropriately and signage is displayed correctly and is clearly visible.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 14 – Emergency routes and exits

Maintenance and testing of equipment

We commonly find that transport premises do not carry out appropriate testing and maintenance on fire precautions provided. It is important to ensure that all the equipment, devices and facilities provided in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person. This includes fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, signage, fire exits and fire doors, which should all be maintained and in working order, with the appropriate checks and tests carried out.

Summary: Ensure all equipment, devices and facilities in the premises for the safety of people are regularly tested and maintained by a competent person.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies? Article 17 – Maintenance

Licensed premises and fire risk assessments

If your premises require a licence, you have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service is advised of licence applications in order that we can ensure adequate fire safety measures are provided and maintained, according to the risk of the premises and the activity taking place.

You will find information about applying for a licence on the GOV.UK website. You will also find further general information on our Licensing pages.

How can I find out more about a fire safety risk assessment for my premises?

Each type of premises will have its own fire safety requirements. To learn about the ones that apply to your premises, please go to our fire risk assessments page. Here, you will find useful information together with links to the government assessment guides for different types of premises. You will also find information about who can carry out an assessment.

Will you inspect my premises?

Yes. Although our inspectors can visit at any time, we usually give you advance notice or make an appointment.

Common problems our inspectors find when visiting licenced premises

Compartmentation

Licensed premises often have accommodation on the first floor. It is essential that the separation – known as compartmentation – of the commercial areas from the residential ones is done using materials that provide 60 minutes resistance to fire. This can include floors, ceilings, stairs and doors. In order to prevent the spread of fire and smoke to other areas, it is also essential to ensure that there are no holes or gaps caused by wires or pipes passing through walls or other partitions.

If licensed premises have first floor accommodation, ensure they are separated (compartmented) using materials with 60 minutes fire resistance.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies?

Article 8 – Duty to take general fire precautions

Fire risk assessment

All types of licensed premises must ensure they have undertaken and documented their fire risk assessment, which needs to be available on site and regularly reviewed. 

Remember to ensure a fire risk assessment has been carried out and is regularly reviewed.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies?

Article 9 – Risk assessment

Fire detection and alarm systems

We sometimes find domestic smoke detectors have been used in commercial premises. It is important to be aware that commercial premises are required to have fire detection and fire alarm systems of the correct standard and which are suitable for commercial premises. If you have any doubt or questions, consult Kent Fire and Rescue Service, or a fire alarm engineer. 

Do not use domestic smoke detectors. Always fit fire detection and fire alarm systems that are intended and suitable for commercial premises.

Which section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies?

Article 13 – Firefighting and fire detection

Choosing a competent fire risk assessor

When deciding who is to conduct the fire risk assessment, you may find it helpful to consider the following.

Types of premises

The law on fire safety relates to all premises that are not a single domestic property and includes: 

  • commercial premises and workplaces 
  • voluntary organisations 
  • workplaces of the self employed 
  • anywhere that the public have access to 
  • the common (shared) parts of residential buildings, such as flats or houses where lots of different people live
Who has a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment 
  • employers: if you are an employer you have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment
  • if you live in or control/help to control premises that are not domestic. (This also applies to empty premises if you own them): it is likely you will also have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment
  • owners: if your business does not have an employer, or an occupier, you may be the responsible person and have the legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment. 

The legal duty is to carry out a fire risk assessment to ensure the premises comply with the relevant law. For England and Wales, the law relating to this duty is The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (known as the Fire Safety Order). 

Fire risk assessments and who can do them 

A fire risk assessment: 

  • identifies possible fire hazards and people who may be at risk 
  • evaluates the risks and what can be done to remove or reduce them 
  • records what was found and done. 

It is not a one-off assessment. It must be up to date and reviewed regularly, taking into account any changes to your premises. 

It is possible to do the fire risk assessment yourself, particularly if your premises are small or low risk. You will find information about this on the fire risk assessments section, together with a link to the relevant government guidelines. 

However, if on reading the government guidelines, you have any doubts or reservations about the time, resources, level of understanding, knowledge or any other aspect of carrying out the assessment yourself, you can employ a specialist to do it for you. 

Finding and appointing a competent fire risk assessor 

Because the legal duty always remains with you, it is important that you check that the person you are employing to do the assessment is competent and can do the job correctly. 

Approach appointing an assessor in the same way that you would approach appointing any supplier for your business. 

  • check that the person or company is registered with, or certified by, a professional body or organisation 
  • contact the professional body or organisation that they are registered with or certified by, and discuss your needs with them, in order to establish that the assessor you choose is appropriate, sufficiently qualified and competent to carry out an assessment for your type of business 
  • check that an assessor has carried out fire risk assessments for businesses and premises like yours before 
  • ask for names of previous clients with business/premises similar to yours from whom you can request references 
  • ask all and any other questions to satisfy yourself that they are experienced in, and understand your type of business or premises, including if they keep up to date with current practice (for example by attending continuing professional development courses) 
  • obtain alternative quotes – make sure they all cover the same scope so you can draw a proper comparison 
  • agree work in writing, provide access, keep records and check the assessor has the appropriate insurance