If you own, run or manage a business, you have a duty to make sure the fire safety arrangements for that business comply with the law.
The law that governs fire safety in England and Wales is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, also known as the ‘Fire Safety Order’ (FSO).
In addition to the FSO, there may be further guidance you should be aware of, depending on your type of property.
The Fire Safety Order
Premises it applies to
The FSO applies to all non-domestic premises. This means any premises that are not private residential dwellings including:
- commercial premises
- premises that the public can access
- common areas in residential buildings with multiple occupants eg the common public areas of a block of flats, but not the flats themselves
- premises with paying guests, for example, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday lets and guesthouses
- houses with multiple occupants (HMOs)
People who are responsible
The legal responsibility for making sure a business complies with the Fire Safety Order rests with the ‘responsible person’ for the business, who is defined by the Fire Safety Order as either
- an employer if the workplace is ‘under his control’
- or, if not the employer then whoever has control of the business premises and the work carried out there – this could include the occupier, landlord or the owner.
What the law requires
One important requirements of the Fire Safety Order is that a fire safety assessment must be carried out and reviewed regularly.
You can learn about fire safety assessments and what is required on our Fire risk assessments page. From there you will be able to select your type of business and access the relevant government guidance, further information and advice.
The government also publish a useful short guide to making your premises safe from fire as well as providing a summary of fire safety in the workplace.
KFRS has a duty to enforce safety standards and endeavour to engage with and assist businesses in complying with their legal duties.
KFRS follows the Regulators code and where it is necessary to take action, we will take a series of steps including advice and informal action where appropriate to see if the matter can be resolved, before formal action is commenced.
Further guidance for specific types of premises
As well as the government guidance for fire safety assessments for your type of premises, you may also need to consider other requirements depending on your type of business. These may include:
- specialised housing, including sheltered housing – see the useful guide prepared by the National Fire Chiefs Council
- purpose built blocks of flats – see also information available on .Gov
- for multiple occupation and shared houses, and bedsits – you will find useful additional information available from the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS)
- the Housing Act
- the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 – a useful summary of these regulations is provided by the Health and Safety Executive