Fire Safety Order 2005
What is the Fire Safety Order 2005?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – sometimes referred to as the RRO – came into force in 2006. It replaced more than 100 pieces of existing legislation with the aim of simplifying the law on fire safety.
Failing to comply with the Fire Safety Order can put lives and property at risk and could result in a criminal prosecution.
Building owners have a legal duty to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Article 17 of the Fire Safety Order requires a suitable maintenance regime to ensure relevant equipment is kept in an efficient state*.
This includes fire doors and escape doors.
Article 18 of the Fire Safety Order requires the responsible person to appoint one or more competent persons to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures*.
Compliance with the Fire Safety Order is mandatory.
Its requirements link closely with related parts of the Building Regulations – Approved Document B (fire safety), Approved Document M (ease of access), Approved Document K(4) (glazing safety – England), Approved Document E (acoustics) and Approved Document N Glazing Safety (Wales).
The laws in Scotland and Northern Ireland are slightly different:
You may remember fire certificates issued for buildings by the local fire brigade. These have no legal status anymore, and the fire service is no longer involved in checking the fire safety of buildings. That is now your responsibility.
The person responsible for fire safety in England and Wales is called the ‘Responsible Person’. Their duties are all the same: to carry out the fire risk assessment and ensure the safety of anyone using their premises.
What has changed from previous legislation?
The key changes under the Fire Safety Order are:
• Building owners, landlords, head teachers, estates managers and many other people now shoulder the legal responsibility for fire safety
• They have to appoint a ‘responsible person’ for each building
• This person has to ensure that an annual fire risk assesment is carried out and in most cases, documented
• The risk assessment has to demonstrate that adequate attention has been paid to all aspects of fire safety management, including active and passive fire measures; signage; means of escape; and evacuation procedures
• Where in-depth knowledge is lacking, the responsible person has a duty to engage someone with the relevant expertise to be able to implement or advise on key areas
What is the ‘responsible person’?
Under the Fire Safety Order, the responsibility for maintaining fire safety in non-domestic buildings falls to the responsible person.
By law, you are required to nominate a responsible person if you are:
• Responsible for business premises
• An employer or self-employed with business premises
• Responsible for a part of a dwelling where that part is solely used for business purposes
• A charity or voluntary organisation
• A contractor with a degree of control over any premises
• Providing accommodation to paying guests
The responsible person must:
• Ensure that a fire safety risk assessment is carried out
• Implement and maintain a fire management plan
Part of this risk assessment and fire management plan must consider the safe installation, maintenance and inspection of fire doors.
The person responsible for fire safety in Scotland is called the ‘duty holder’, while in Northern Ireland they are known as the ‘appropriate person’. However, the duties of this person, regardless of country, are the same: to carry out the fire risk assessment and ensure the safety of anyone using their premises.