What is the Fire Safety Order?
The Fire Safety Order applies to all non-domestic premises as well as all communal parts of residential buildings in England and Wales. It sets out the legal requirements for Responsible Persons to manage the risk of fire for all of these types of premises.
You are a ‘responsible person' if you’re:
- an employer
- an owner
- a landlord
- an occupier
- in control of premises. For example, premises occupied by someone self-employed, family-run businesses, places of worship, and voluntary organisations.
Why is the Fire Safety Order changing?
Following the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry and the subsequent Building Safety Reform programme, the Government has made changes to the law to implement recommendations to improve building safety.
What is changing for the Fire Safety Order?
From 1 October 2023, new legislation takes effect that strengthens fire safety in all Fire Safety Order regulated premises. The legislation has been implemented through Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022.
Building and business owners need to be aware of the following changes to the Fire Safety Order:
- increased requirements to record fire risk assessments and fire safety arrangements
- enhanced requirements for cooperation and coordination between Responsible Persons
- ensuring residents have access to fire safety information on their building.
Written fire risk assessment and fire safety arrangements
All businesses with premises (whatever their size) are now required by law to have a written fire risk assessment and a record of the fire safety arrangements in place.
- The whole fire risk assessment must now be recorded in full and not just the significant findings.
- You must also identify the details of any person who is involved in completing or reviewing the fire risk assessment.
- If you are no longer going to be the responsible person, for example the building is being sold, your fire risk assessment and other information must be shared with the incoming person.
Previously, you were only required to have a written fire risk assessment in certain circumstances, such as where the responsible person employs five or more people.
Enhanced requirements for cooperation and coordination
In premises where there is more than one responsible person, such as in buildings with multiple occupiers or where the owner of the building is not the same as the occupier, there are increased legal requirements for cooperation and coordination between all the responsible persons.
In summary, there are now requirements to identify responsible persons within a building and the parts of the building that they are responsible for and share information.
Provision of information to residents
In residential buildings with two or more domestic premises, (for example, blocks of flats) the responsible person must provide residents with information on the risks from fire in their building and the fire safety measures provided to keep them safe.
This requirement expands on legislation introduced earlier this year that required responsible persons to provide residents with information on emergency procedures and the importance of fire doors.