What Is The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?

The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 – also known simply as ‘The Fire Safety Order’ – is the main law that business owners and operators must comply with. The order applies to organisations in England and Wales, and came into effect as of 1st October 2006. 

The order replaced multiple (around 70) separate pieces of legislation, and requires anyone who manages or oversees a commercial premises – usually the Responsible Person – to take ‘reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire’. Some of the fire safety legislation replaced by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 include the Fire Precautions Act 1961 and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997/1999.

A summary of the Fire Safety Order:

  • Carry out a Fire Risk Assessment*
  • Identify who may be at risk in your premises
  • Keep a record of your findings (a legal requirement for business with 5 or more staff)
  • Reduce or remove the risks highlighted in the assessment
  • Put a plan in place to deal with an emergency
  • Pay specific attention to storage and use of flammable materials

*You can do this yourself or delegate it to a ‘competent person’ – but ultimate responsibility for completing the audit lies with the Responsible Person for the premises. Check the steps required in a Fire Risk Assessment here.

Where does the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 apply?

  • Offices
  • Shops
  • Care homes
  • Hospitals
  • Community buildings
  • Places of worship
  • Communal areas in housing settings
  • Pubs & clubs
  • Restaurants & cafes
  • Schools
  • Sports centres
  • Event tents & marquees
  • Hotels & hostels
  • Factories & warehouses

Who will enforce the Fire Safety Order?

Fire authorities are tasked with making sure fire safety legislation is followed in commercial buildings listed above. In the first instance, they will provide advice to help address any shortcomings, but a formal notice may be given if serious risks or non-compliance are identified.

In the most serious cases, the fire authorities (along with housing authorities) have the power to stop some or all of a premises being used. 

It’s important to point out that fire authorities no longer issue fire certificates. It’s a good idea to keep paperwork from previous inspections, but they no longer carry any legal weight.

If you need advice or practical support to meet your Fire Safety Order obligations, get in touch today for advice – or to arrange a Fire Risk Assessment.