The FIRE SAFETY ORDER
Towards the end of 2006 a new piece of
legislation came into force, replacing over 100 fire-related laws. The
Fire Safety Order 2005 was a considerable change in legislation,
approaching the problem of fire safety from a "risk based" point of
view. The previous system, characterised by the Brigade issuing a
Fire Certificate for the building, was replaced with a legal
obligation for a Responsible Person to organise a Fire Risk
The new legislation
came with increased penalties for infringement, including increased
fines and up to two years in prison!.
Do you need to carry out a Fire Risk
Assessment? : if you are responsible for a non-domestic property with five people of
more, then yes. This is an extensive subject, so we have listed some of
the more common points you should know, below.
At the bottom of this page you will also
find links to helpful sites that will explain more and where you can
download free guides.
the right way to do a Fire Risk Assessment?
It should be completed by a "Competent Person", in an agreed format. The
best format is to follow the British Standards PAS 79 and you would certainly
expect any professionally completed assessment to meet this requirement.
Copies of this standard can be purchased direct from the BSI.
What to bear in mind when organising a
Fire Risk Assessment?
- Choose someone to do the assessment
who has "proof of competence"
- The assessment covers a lot of
different subjects, so your competent person should have experience
in all aspects of fire safety.
- Allow enough time to have the
assessment done, the report produced, any quotes for works
organised, works ordered and completed. If a Fire Officer is coming
to inspect your premises and expects a working fire alarm to current
regulations, start early to ensure the works are finished in time.
Remember, just showing a Fire Officer a quote isn't sufficient proof
that the work is actually being done. Fire Officers are very
experienced and they've seen these tricks many times
- Don't think of the assessment as
being "bad news". It's there to help you get it right. You may think
that you will end up with a long list of works that you will have to
have done (at great expense), but many points that are raised you
will find cost little or nothing to put right (signage, door wedges,
procedures, records, etc.).
- It's always better to make a start
early on this, implementing changes step-by-step, rather than leave
everything to the last minute and having to cover the cost of any
works all in one go.
- Choose the right people to do the
right jobs. If your assessment says you need your electrical
installation inspected, use a member of NICEIC. If it says you need
your boiler serviced, use a member of GasSafe. If it says you need
works done to your fire alarm, use a Fire Alarm Specialist with
proof of competence. If you don't, you
will just be wasting your money.
- Remember the Fire Risk Assessment is
a "living document", not just a one-off. You will have to have it
redone if you have a change of use or layout in the building, and
certainly no longer than specified in your assessment.
Where can I learn more?
The government produced a range of guides
covering different types of buildings (schools, factories, restaurants,
etc.), available free to download at