London Fire Brigade

Frequently asked questions

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

Q. Should I wait for the Fire Officer to visit and identify any action required?

A. No. You will need to prepare a fire risk assessment and emergency plan.
 
The findings of the risk assessment must be recorded where:

  • A licence under an enactment is in force.
  • An Alterations Notice under the Fire Safety Order requires it.
  • You are an employer and have five or more employees.

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.

Q. Who is the ‘responsible person’?

A. 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.

Q. Who is a ‘relevant person’?

A. Any person (including the responsible person) who is lawfully on the premises and any person in the vicinity of the premises who may be affected by a fire on the premises.

This means, for example, that if you store substances that are explosive when exposed to fire you may need to consider the occupants of nearby buildings, if they could be affected by an explosion or by any exclusion zone or cordon set up by the fire brigade because of the danger of explosion.

Q. I own a building, but I lease it out and have no direct involvement. Does the Fire Safety Order apply to me?

A. This will depend upon the terms of the lease. The Fire Safety Order applies to any person who has, to any extent, control of a premises. You should ensure your tenants are aware of the Fire Safety Order and cooperate with them to ensure compliance.

In multi-occupied buildings, the owner may have a responsibility in respect of common parts of the building and must prepare a fire risk assessment for those areas that is coordinated with those of the occupiers.

Q. Where can I find information on the legislation with details on how to comply?

A. Aside from the information provided on this web site, we strongly recommend that you obtain a copy of the relevant guidance document for your premises as listed below. The documents set out the requirements of the Fire Safety Order in a simple, non-prescriptive, user-friendly style and offer advice about whether the responsible person needs to do anything more than they are already doing in order to comply.

List of guidance publications

Fire safety in offices and shops
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 815 0
All offices and retail premises.

Fire safety in factories and warehouses
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 816 7
All factories and warehouse storage premises.

Fire safety in premises providing sleeping accommodation
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 817 4
All places where sleeping accommodation is provided, except hospitals, care homes, places of custody and single private dwellings.

Fire safety in residential care premises
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 818 1
Suitable for all residential and nursing homes, out-posted nursing care in single private dwellings and home-based childminders.

Fire safety in educational premises
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 819 8
Teaching establishments ranging from crèches through to universities.

Fire safety in small and medium places of assembly
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 820 4
Public houses, clubs, restaurants and cafés, village halls, community centres and libraries accommodating up to 300 people.

Fire safety in large places of assembly
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 821 1
Suitable for premises where more than 300 people gather, for example, shopping centres, large nightclubs, exhibition and conference centres, sports stadia, churches, cathedrals, museums and libraries.

Fire safety in theatres and cinemas and similar premises
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 822 8
Suitable for all theatres and cinemas.

Fire safety at open air events and venues
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 823 5
Suitable for all open air events, for example, theme parks, zoos, music concerts, sporting events, fairgrounds and county fairs.

Fire safety in healthcare premises
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 824 2
All healthcare premises.

Fire safety in the transport premises and facilities
ISBN-13: 978 1 85112 825 9
Suitable for all transportation terminals and interchanges, tunnels and subsurface railways.

The guides are available from: Fire Safety Guides, PO Box 236, Wetherby LS23 7NB, Tel: 0870 830 7099. Please quote the ISBN when ordering.

They may also be downloaded free of charge from the fire safety law section of the DCLG website (see related links).

The Brigade has a number of guidance notes on various subjects. If you have a specific enquiry in mind, contact your local borough team (see related links) for advice.

Q. Who should carry out the risk assessment?

A. The Fire Safety Order allows for any competent person to carry out an assessment. This can be done through a suitable training course. You will need to be able to demonstrate that an appropriately qualified individual completed the assessment. There are a number of organisations willing to undertake risk assessments and you may find details in the phone book business pages. If you use 'outside' firms to conduct a risk assessment that you will be responsible for, you should satisfy yourself that they are suitably competent and qualified to conduct the risk assessment.

Q. I have a fire certificate. Do I need to take other action?

A. Yes. When the Fire Safety Order came into force, fire certificate legislation was repealed and fire certificates are no longer issued. You will need to prepare a fire risk assessment and emergency plan. The information contained in your fire certificate may assist you in assessing the existing control measures at step three in preparing your fire risk assessment.

Q. I'm a Managing Agent. Do I have any responsibilities under the legislation?

A. This will depend upon the terms of your contract with the building owner. The Fire Safety Order applies to any person who has, to any extent, control of a premises. You should ensure that tenants are aware of the Fire Safety Order and cooperate with them to ensure compliance.

In multi-occupied buildings you may have a responsibility to prepare, on the owner’s behalf, a fire risk assessment in respect of common parts of the building. Any such risk assessment must be coordinated with those of the occupiers.

Q. I am just one of the businesses in a large, multi-occupied building. Who has responsibility here?

A. Under the Fire Safety Order each employer is responsible for the safety of both their employees and any other relevant person. This may include employees of other employers as well as visitors, contractors etc.

As an employer you must take account of the risk to both your employees and other relevant persons to the extent to which you have control of the premises and other employers in the building must do the same.

The owner (or landlord if they have legal responsibility) of the building must take into account the risk to persons in the common parts.

Article 22 of the Fire Safety Order requires all parties to cooperate, where two or more responsible persons have duties in respect of the Order.

Q. I'm an employee. Do I need to take any action?

A. If your employer has delegated responsibilities to you (for example, you are the Building Manager), you will need to carry out those duties in accordance with the Fire Safety Order or other appropriate legislation.

Q. I have a small business and only employ one or two people. Do I need to be aware of the Fire Safety Order?

A. Yes. You will need to carry out a fire risk assessment and have an emergency plan even where there is just one employee.

The findings of the risk assessment must be recorded where:

  • A licence under an enactment is in force. 
  • An Alterations Notice under the Fire Safety Order requires it.
  • You are an employer and have five or more employees.

Q. As a visitor, what should I be aware of?

A. As a visitor to a premises, you should be aware of your surroundings and not do anything to increase risk to the safety of yourself or others. You should make yourself aware of fire exits, exit signs and call points and obey the instructions provided to you.

Q. I'm self-employed. How am I affected by the legislation?

A. The Fire Safety Order applies to all premises including those occupied by the self-employed. You will need to carry out a fire risk assessment and have an emergency plan appropriate for the premises you occupy.

The findings of the risk assessment must be recorded where:

  • A licence under an enactment is in force. 
  • An Alterations Notice under the Fire Safety Order requires it. 
  • You are an employer and have five or more employees.

Q. My employer does not seem to be complying with fire safety legislation. What should I do?

A. You should first discuss your concerns with your employer through the appropriate channels and procedure for your place of work. If your concerns are not resolved and you feel you and your colleagues are at risk, you should contact your local borough team.