The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was brought in by the government to improve fire safety in virtually all buildings other than domestic premises occupied by a single-family. It affects shops and offices, pubs, clubs, warehouses, factories, transport premises, restaurants, care homes, entertainment facilities, hotels, houses in multiple occupations, and even outdoor venues and open-air events.
The rules and regulations are strict and among other things require the responsible person in a building to carry out a fire safety risk assessment of the premises, and also to review it whenever anything changes: that could mean something as simple as taking on a new employee, moving the office furniture around, or just changing a working procedure. Furthermore, if you are an employer with five or more employees, you must also keep a written record of your fire risk assessment.
For the purposes of the Order, the responsible person is an employer, the owner, the landlord, an occupier, or anyone else with control of the premises: for example a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent, or risk assessor. It is also possible that there may be more than one responsible person. For instance, in an office block, there could be half a dozen businesses, and in this case, the responsible persons must work together.
In addition, the Order applies if you have to pay guests. So if you own a self-catering holiday let, run a guesthouse, or B & B, you come within the Order.
This immediately presents some problems. Just to begin with, no two properties are exactly the same. Neither will non-residential properties have the same uses. Even two branches of Tesco – while they may sell the exact same products – will have different layouts, employees, and so on.
The second problem is that while you may be a responsible person, you may not have the first idea of how to carry out a fire risk assessment. Why should you? You’re an accountant, a hardware store owner, run a kebab shop, operate a woollen mill, or whatever it is that you do. We all have our own specialities, and in most cases, it has nothing whatever to do with carrying out fire safety assessments.
Similarly, if you need your shop rewiring, you probably don’t have the first idea how to go about it, so you call on someone who does – in this case, an electrician.
As it happens, the Order does allow you to do the same if you do not feel that you have the ability to carry out a fire risk assessment yourself. You are allowed to delegate the job to a competent person. In this case, that would be the team here at UK-Fire Risk Assessments. Our name is a bit of a giveaway, isn’t it? However, you should note that as the responsible person you are just that – responsible. So, while you can delegate the actual assessment, you are still personally responsible for the accuracy of the assessment.
This is why you cannot just hand the job over to anybody, because you are responsible for being compliant with the law. And you can be on the receiving end of unlimited fines and even a prison sentence if you don’t get it right. And both of those things have happened in the past and will almost certainly happen again, either through ignorance of the law or a devil may care attitude. This is too important a matter not to take seriously.
So why should you choose us at UK-Fire Risk Assessments? Well, all of our fire risk assessors are highly trained and fully qualified and insured. They understand what to look or in any given situation and they have a vast knowledge and experience of carrying out the assessments. Our assessors are a friendly bunch and pride themselves on providing a consistently high level of service to our clients. We are an Affiliate Organisation member of the Institute of Fire Engineers.
We can provide you with annual reviews of your fire risk assessment which are also a legal requirement. In addition, if your business has more than one site, we will offer you multi-site discounts so that all your premises are covered. And of course, we provide you with a full written report of your assessment as required by the law.