If you own, manage or operate a business, you need to comply with fire safety law. The main law is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or "the Fire Safety Order". It applies across England and Wales and came into force on 1 October 2006.
The Order applies to almost all buildings, places and structures other than individual private homes – that's individual flats in a block or family homes.
Other places covered by the Order include shared areas in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), blocks of flats and maisonettes.
You need to make sure:
It varies from business to business, but generally includes:
It's mandatory to carry out a detailed assessment identifying the risks and hazards in a commercial premises. By law, if you are responsible for the premises, you need to make sure that a Fire Risk Assessment has been completed by a competent person. Additionally, your Fire Risk Assessment must be recorded if you have a total of five or more employees or your business has a licence under enactment in force. The responsible person for the premises is also required to:
You can find out more about and how to complete them on the Fire Risk Assessments page.
It depends on the building in question. The best place to start is the gov.uk website here – it provides guidance for most circumstances.
If you are responsible for specialised housing – for example, sheltered housing, extra care housing, or supported housing for people with common characteristics, such as learning disabilities and mental health problems – NFCC Specialised Housing Guidance is helpful.
If you need information about requirements for purpose-built dwellings such as blocks of flats, the Local Government Association (LGA) provides useful information in their downloadable publication Fire safety in purpose-built flats.
If you are looking for more information about shared houses, bedsits and HMOs, please see this LACoRS guidance.
London Fire Brigade has a responsibility to keep the people of London safe. An important part of this duty is making sure that people responsible for commercial premises are following the rules. We enforce various legislation, chiefly around fire safety, including the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2006. Mostly applicable in commercial premises and common parts in flats, we want to work with you to help your business to be compliant and successful and it is important to us that you feel able to come to us for advice when you need it.
As well as enforcing relevant legislation, we have duties to provide fire safety advice to the extent we think reasonable, and we are also a statutory consultee for Building Regulations applications (excluding private dwellings), entertainment licensing and the provision of fire safety in residential care premises. We also have regard to Primary Authority Partnerships formed under the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (as amended).
You'll find full details of our legal responsibilities on our Enforcement page.
We can visit your premises at any time to make sure you are following the rules and keeping employees and members of the public safe. We generally make appointments, though can visit your premises at any time if we believe that an unannounced visit will better determine whether the law is being complied with. Of course, we are committed to being consistent, fair, transparent, proportional, competent, respectful and polite.
If we find something wrong we could take action ranging from providing information and advice to prosecuting those responsible in a court of law. For serious offences, you could be fined and/or imprisoned.
If you receive an Enforcement Notice or are prosecuted for failing to meet your responsibilities, we will publish details here. The information will also be shared in the National Chief Fire Officers website.