The following questions are those asked on a regular basis by our clients. Any reference to the Fire Safety Order means the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 implemented in October 2006. We hope the answers are of assistance to you. Should you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us by email at
Q: Do I need to have a fire risk assessment if I already have a fire certificate for my building?
A: Yes, you will need to carry out a fire risk assessment. Your Fire Certificate, issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 which has been repealed, is no longer valid. However, a fairly recent Fire Certificate for a recently constructed building will be a good starting point for your Fire Risk Assessment.
Where you occupy a building with a fire certificate issued a number of years ago it is unlikely that the provisions made will meet current requirements. One of the failings of the Fire Precautions Act was that where no alterations were made to a building or its use the Fire Authority could not require owners/occupiers to upgrade systems to meet current standards or put in place measures to prevent fires occurring in the first place.
Q:Who is competent to assist me in carrying out my duties under the Fire Safety Order?
A:The term 'competent person' is contained within three articles of the Order. These deal with fire fighting and fire detection; procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas; and safety assistance.
In each case the term is explained as referring to a person who '… has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities …' to implement the requirements of the article.
Q: How often should I carry out a fire risk assessment?
You should keep your fire risk assessment under regular review as risks may change over time.
If you make changes to your premises, you should ensure that the assessment and risk management plan remains current.Q: What happens if I share my premises with others?
If you share a building with others, you will need to co-ordinate your risk management plan with them.
If your plan changes as a result of a review or changes you made to your premises over time, you will need to share the revised risk management plan with others who share the premises.
Q: Am I responsible if my fire safety equipment fails?
Under the Fire Safety Order all fire precautions must be maintained in efficient working order and good repair so if any failure is due to lack of maintenance, then you could be held responsible. Where maintenance contracts exist for the equipment, the enforcers may take action against the contractor.
You should, however, have a contingency in place for life safety systems failure.
Q:How often will my premises be inspected by the Fire and Rescue Service?
A: Fire and rescue authorities determine how their resources will be deployed over the range of duties including inspection. This is done by means of an integrated risk management approach that involves the authority setting out an assessment of local risk to life in the event of fire (and other emergency incidents) and how it is going to deploy its resources to address the above risks and improve the safety of the local community. Low risk premises will be inspected rarely unless a fire incident occurs, or a complaint is received which will trigger an inspection to confirm that the requirements of the Fire Safety Order are being met.
Q: What are the fire hazards which need to be taken into account in a fire risk assessment?
A: Significant fire hazards in the room or area under review should include: -
Combustible materials, e.g. large quantities of paper, fabrics, plastics etc.
Flammable liquids and gases, e.g. paints, thinners, LPG and aerosol cans.
Ignition sources e.g. naked flames, portable heaters, smoking materials, electrical appliances.
Consider also the type of insulation involved or used in cavities, roof voids etc. Combustible material may not always be visible, e.g. insulated core wall and roof panels.
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005