Since 2006 the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 has required the ‘responsible person’ of certain types of domestic premises to ensure the safety of any persons on the premises from the effects of fire. For a brief view of your responsibilities, please refer to the making your premises safe short guide.
If you require the Short Guide in a differing language, a selection can be found on our Guidance Notes and Information page.
The Fire Safety Order
Before the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 the state of fire safety legislation in the UK was a mess. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into effect in October 2006, and rather than prescribing exact measures for every premises gives the responsibility for deciding what fire safety measures are required to the responsible person for that premises.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 offers the following hierarchy in working out who is the responsible person for a premises:
- If it’s a workplace, then the responsible person is the employer
- If it’s not a workplace, then it is the person with control over that premises or the owner
In a House In Multiple Occupation (HIMO), that’s likely to be the owner, for a block of flats it may be the building’s owner, or a management company.
Where does it apply?
The short answer is almost everywhere. It isn’t always enforced by the Fire and Rescue Authority but the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to a lot of places where people live, apart from people’s homes which they live in as a single family.
In a block of flats, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 won’t apply inside the individual flats, just to communal areas. Please note that this does include the front door of each flat.
What you need to do
There is a short guide to what you need to do to make your premises safe from fire, this is a great place to start to understand the principles of fire risk assessment.
If you are the responsible person the first and most important step you need to take is to carry out a fire risk assessment using the appropriate guidance. This will determine what fire safety measures you already have in place and what more you need to introduce. Don’t forget that this needs to be reviewed regularly, and especially if the way your premises is used changes. Once you’ve done that, you need to:
- Tell any residents or other relevant people about the risks you’ve found
- Put in place the appropriate measures you identified on your risk assessment
- Create a plan for what happens in the event of an emergency
- Make sure that residents have appropriate fire safety information to ensure their safety
For more information on how to conduct a risk assessment and your ongoing responsibilities, please visit our housing guidance page.