At UK-Fire Risk Assessments, we get asked a lot of questions about fire risk assessments, as you might guess. So, without further ado, here is a list of the most frequently asked questions and the answers.

1. What is a fire risk assessment report?

A Fire Risk Assessment Report is an assessment of the likelihood of a fire occurring in any business premises, other premises, or rented domestic premises, and the likely causes. It also includes any actions that have been taken as a result of the assessment in order to either remove the risk or where that is not possible, reduce it to a minimum. An obvious example is manufacturing processes which require the use of flammable materials: it is not possible to remove them, but any risk must be reduced to the minimum.

2. Is a fire risk assessment a legal requirement.?

Yes, it is. All “responsible persons” must undertake a fire risk assessment of the premises, including landlords of HMO’s. Effectively, the only premises where the law does not require one are privately owned and occupied single family homes.

3. Who has to carry out the assessment?

At the moment, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 does not specify exactly who has to carry out the assessment. It is the responsibility of the “responsible person”. However, the responsible person can delegate the assessment to someone else. That person must be “competent”.

4. Who is regarded as the “responsible person”?

The government definition is as follows:

“You’re responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:
an employer
the owner
the landlord
an occupier
anyone else with control of the premises, for example, a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent, or risk assessor
You’re known as the ‘responsible person’. If there’s more than one responsible person, you have to work together to meet your responsibilities.
The Fire Safety Order also applies if you have paying guests, for example, if you run a bed and breakfast, guesthouse, or let a self-catering property.”

5. What, exactly, is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?

This Order applies to England and Wales. There are different Orders in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Order was brought in by the UK government in 2005 to improve fire safety in virtually all buildings, structures, and open spaces. For example, offices and shops; warehouses and factories; transport premises and facilities; entertainment, pubs, clubs and restaurants; open-air events and venues; residential hotels and hostels (including common areas of houses in multiple occupation); premises that provide residential care and health care; educational premises; places of worship; community halls; tents and marquees etc. The Order does not apply to domestic homes owned and occupied by a single family.

6. What does the fire risk assessment have to cover?

Government guidelines are as follows:

“The Fire Risk Assessment should cover:

Emergency routes and exits
Fire detection and warning systems
Firefighting equipment condition
Removal (or safe storage) of dangerous substances
Emergency fire evacuation plan
Vulnerable peoples’ needs (the elderly, young children, or those with disabilities)
Information for employees and other people on the premises
Fire safety training for staff”

The fire risk assessment needs to be kept as a written record if you employ more than five staff. It must also be reviewed periodically. No definitive time-lapse is quoted, but most people accept that once a year is acceptable. However, a review must also be carried out when any changes are made to the premises or working practices within them.

7. What happens if I don’t carry out a fire risk assessment?

The Order is enforced by your local Fire & Rescue Service. The Fire & Rescue Service can appoint an Inspector who has wide-ranging powers to enter your premises and inspect anything in them, conduct interviews with employees or anyone else, and to identify the responsible person.

Minor infringements can lead to fines of up to £5,000. Major fire safety breaches can lead to unlimited fines and up to two years in prison.

All the above are reasons why so many people choose to use us at UK-Fire Risk Assessments to carry out the assessment for them. This way, you can be reassured that there will be no mistakes. We also issue you with the written report that the Order requires you to keep.