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Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

In the United Kingdom there was about seventy pieces if fire safety legislation the principal ones being the Fire Precautions Act 1961 and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997/1999. It was decided the legislation needed to be to rationalise and simplify and in England and Wales this was achieved by using the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. The new order is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In Scotland it was achieve by introducing The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005and Statutory Instruments relevant to fire safety,more information is available at the Scottish Fire Law website. In Northern Ireland the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997/1999 is still in force.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

This submission is an overview of the legislation and is couched in very general terms consequently it should be read on conjunction with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 Guidance Note No. 1 if a full understanding of the order is required. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order hereafter will be referred to as the Order in this document. The Order should have come into force on the 1st April 2006 was delayed until the 1st October 2006.

The order is designed to provide a minimum fire safety standard in all non domestic premises including parts of premises used for the purposes of an employer's undertaking, which is made available to employees as a place of work, and used in connection with the carrying of a trade, business or other undertaking, for profit or not, with a few exceptions. If it is a workplace it designates the employer, if he/she has to some extent control, the Responsible Person.(RP) If any other person has to some extent control then they could have duties under the order. If it is not a workplace then any person having control to some extent or the owner and can be designated the Responsible Person. Those persons or a person acting on their behalf, are required to carry out certain fire safety duties which include ensuring the general fire precautions are satisfactory and conducting a fire risk assessment. If more than five persons are employed it has to be a written assessment.

Previous general fire safety legislation

This Order replaced previous fire safety legislation and any fire certificate issued under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 will cease to have any effect. If a fire certificate had been issued in respect of your premises or the premises were built to recent building regulations, as long as you have made no material alterations and all the physical fire precautions have been properly maintained, then it is unlikely you will need to make any significant improvements to your existing physical fire protection arrangements to comply with the Order.

However, you must still carry out a fire risk assessment and keep it up to date to ensure that all the fire precautions in your premises remain current and adequate. If you have previously carried out a fire risk assessment under the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997/1999 and this assessment has been regularly reviewed then all you will need to do now is revise that assessment taking account of the wider scope of the Order.

Your premises may also be subject to the provisions of a licence or registration (e.g. under the Licensing Act 2003 in that case the fire authority may wish to review your risk assessment as part of the licensing approval process. Fire safety conditions within your licence should not be set by a licensing authority where the Order applies.

Guidance on new fire legislation

The new, risk-assessment based regime requires employers to to take action to prevent fires and protect against death and injury, employees and relevant persons, should a fire occur. This was the same duty imposed on employers by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1999, but under the new Order the duty will be extended beyond workplaces to include all non domestic premises to which employees or/and relevant persons have access.

To support the Order, the The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLC) have published a number of new guidance documents to assist you in meeting your responsibilities. They will give advice on most types of premises where the duty to undertake a fire safety risk assessment under the Order applies.The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 - A short guide to making your premises safe from fire will give an overview and the following eleven guides will address the following categories of premises


Main Use

Offices and shops

Offices and retail premises (including individual units within larger premises, e.g. shopping centre's).

Factories and warehouses

Factories and warehouse storage premises.

Sleeping accommodation

All premises where the main use is to provide sleeping accommodation, e.g. hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, hostels, residential training centre's, holiday accommodation and the common areas of flats, maisonettes, HMO's and sheltered housing (other than those providing care – see Residential care premises), but excluding hospitals, residential care premises, places of custody and single private dwellings

Residential care premises

Residential care and nursing homes, common areas of sheltered housing (where care is provided) and similar premises, which are permanently staffed and where the primary use is the provision of care rather than healthcare. (see Healthcare Premises)

Educational premises

Teaching establishments ranging from pre-school through to universities, except the residential parts. (see Sleeping accommodation)

Small and medium places
of assembly

Smaller public houses, clubs, restaurants and cafes, village halls, community centre's, libraries, marquees, churches and other places of worship or study accommodating up to 300 people.

Large places of assembly

Larger premises where more than 300 people could gather, e.g. shopping centre's (not the individual shops), large nightclubs and pubs, exhibition and conference centre's, sports stadia, marquees, museums, libraries, churches, cathedrals and other places of worship or study.

Theatres, cinemas and
similar premises

Theatres, cinemas, concert halls and similar premises used primarily for this purpose.

Open air events and venues

Open air events, e.g. theme parks, zoos, music concerts, sporting events (not stadia – see Large places of assembly), fairgrounds and county fairs.

Healthcare premises

Premises where the primary use is the provision of healthcare (including private), e.g. hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, dentists and other similar healthcare premises.

Transport premises
and facilities

Transportation terminals and interchanges, e.g. airports, railway stations (including sub-surface), transport tunnels, ports, bus and coach stations and similar premises but excluding the the means of transport (e.g. trains, buses, planes and ships).

Animal Premises and Stables

This guide is for use at all equine establishments, stables, livery yards and other animal establishments and for all employers, proprietors, managers, occupiers and owners.

Means of Escape for Disabled People (Supplementary Guide)

This is a supplementary guide and should be read alongside other guides in the Fire Safety Risk Assessment series.
It provides additional information on accessibility and means of escape for disabled people.

The guides have been drafted by DCLC in co-operation with a group of key stakeholders. These guides will be used a template so that there is a consistent approach across the whole suite. Around forty stakeholders representing enforcers, industry and users, and representing all occupancy types, have been consulted. Each guide is in two parts, the first part will explain how to undertake a fire safety risk assessment the second part of each guide will provide further guidance on the fire precautions. The guides are being written so as to be readily understood by those who have to comply with the requirements of the Order, not just fire safety experts.

The Contents of the Order


  1. Citation, commencement and extent
  2. Interpretation
  3. Meaning of "responsible person"
  4. Meaning of "general fire precautions"
  5. Duties under this Order
  6. Application to premises
  7. Disapplication of certain provisions

Part 1 defines words and phrases used in the order, who is responsible to implement the order, what those duties are, what "general fire precautions" are, what premises are subject to the order and that certain provisions do not apply for particular situations.

  1. Duty to take general fire precautions
  2. Risk assessment
  3. Principles of prevention to be applied
  4. Fire safety arrangements
  5. Elimination or reduction of risks from dangerous substances
  6. Fire-fighting and fire detection
  7. Emergency routes and exits
  8. Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas
  9. Additional emergency measures in respect of dangerous substances
  10. Maintenance
  11. Safety assistance
  12. Provision of information to employees
  13. Provision of information to employers and the self-employed from outside undertakings
  14. Training
  15. Co-operation and co-ordination
  16. General duties of employees at work
  17. Power to make regulations about fire precautions

Part 2 details all the duties the Responsible Person has to implement also certain duties, other persons who have control have.

  1. Enforcing authorities
  2. Enforcement of Order
  3. Powers of inspectors
  4. Exercise on behalf of fire inspectors etc. of their powers by officers of fire brigades
  5. Alterations notices
  6. Enforcement notices
  7. Prohibition notices

Part 3 details who the enforcing authority is, the powers they have and the methods to ensure the order is complied with.

  1. Offences
  2. Defence
  3. Onus of proving limits of what is practicable or reasonably practicable
  4. Appeals
  5. Determination of disputes by Secretary of State

Part 4 details the offences you commit if you fail to abide by the order and your right of appeal.

  1. Fire-fighters' switches for luminous tube signs etc.
  2. Maintenance of measures provided for protection of fire-fighters
  3. Civil liability for breach of statutory duty
  4. Duty not to charge employees for things done or provided
  5. Duty to consult employees
  6. Special provisions in respect of licensed etc. premises
  7. Suspension of terms and conditions of licence's dealing with same matters as this Order
  8. Suspension of byelaws dealing with same matters as this Order
  9. Duty to consult enforcing authority before passing plans
  10. Other consultation by authorities
  11. Disapplication of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in relation to general fire precautions
  12. Service of notices etc.
  13. Application to the Crown and to the Houses of Parliament
  14. Guidance
  15. Application to visiting forces, etc.
  16. Subordinate provisions
  17. Repeals, revocations, amendments and transitional provisions

Part 5 is the miscellaneous items and covers many different aspects that are relevant to fire safety and the order but not having a single theme.


Schedule 1 details four aspects the Responsible Person has to implement to conform to the order but to include it in the above parts may cause confusion.


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