What is the regulatory reform fire safety order 2005?

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The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 seen here is an essential piece of legislation that sets out the fire safety duties that businesses, landlords, and building owners must adhere to in order to stay compliant with the law. 

This order came into effect on 1 October 2006 and replaced over 70 pieces of previous fire safety legislation in the UK so is known as the more up to date and safe regulations that governs the way landlords run their property business. 

The regulatory reform fire safety order 2005 places significant responsibility on those who own or are responsible for premises to ensure that their buildings meet strict fire safety standards. 

Failure to comply with the order can result in severe consequences, including fines and even imprisonment. This article answers all of your questions.

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All about the regulatory reform fire safety order of 2005

It is sometimes unclear where these rules apply and what you must do in order to comply. Also, it is important you know about the key term “responsible person” that crops up throughout the regulation.

Where is it that the fire safety regulations apply?

The rules apply in the following places so if you own, live in or stay in any of these buildings, pay close attention.

  • Temporary structures such as event tents and marquees.
  • Entertainment and hospitality establishments like pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, and hostels.
  • Various types of buildings such as offices, shops, hospitals, care homes, community buildings, places of worship, and communal areas in housing settings.
  • Educational institutions like schools.
  • Sports facilities like sports centres.
  • Industrial and commercial buildings such as factories and warehouses.

What should you do to comply with the regulatory reform fire safety order 2005?

When it comes to fire safety regulations in the UK, the person in authority at a workplace, known as the “responsible person” plays an important role. This person must conduct regular fire risk assessments to identify any potential fire hazards or risks. 

Furthermore, the person in charge must identify all individuals who may be at risk in the event of a fire. Once the risks have been identified, the responsible person must take steps to eliminate or reduce the fire risks “as far as is reasonably practicable”.

To eliminate any remaining risks, general fire precautions must be implemented as if flammable or explosive materials are used or stored on-site, they must be handled and used with extreme caution. 

The responsible person must also develop an emergency fire plan in collaboration with other stakeholders and it is critical to keep a record of the risk assessment and the fire plan and to review it on a regular basis.

What is a responsible person under fire safety regulations?

In the United Kingdom, a responsible person is someone who has authority over premises or specific areas or systems within those premises. 

It could be the employer, a managing agent, a self-employed person, a volunteer, or anyone else who has authority over the premises or a portion of it. In some cases, multiple people may be responsible.

What are your duties as a responsible person in the regulatory reform fire safety order 2005?

In the United Kingdom, the person in charge of fire safety regulations is required to conduct regular fire risk assessments in order to identify and reduce potential fire hazards. 

This individual could be the employer, the managing agent, or anyone else who has authority over the premises or a portion of it. They may delegate risk assessment to a competent individual, but they must remember that legal responsibility remains with them.

One of the responsible person’s primary responsibilities is to ensure that everyone on or near the premises has access to a fire escape route. 

This point differs from previous legislation in that it requires the responsible person to take into account all people on or near the premises, including those with disabilities or the elderly. 

They must also manage all fire risks and make special accommodations for people with special needs.

Fire authorities no longer issue fire certificates under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, and any previous certificates are now deemed invalid and have no legal status. 

Previous certificates, on the other hand, can be used as a guideline for a fire risk assessment. 

While most modern buildings will comply with current regulations, responsible individuals must still maintain fire precautions and conduct regular fire risk assessments to ensure the safety of all people on or near the premises.

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What is the agency called that is responsible for enforcing these regulations?

Local fire authorities are responsible for enforcing fire safety legislation in non-domestic buildings throughout the United Kingdom as inspections are conducted on any building that is deemed high risk.

The authorities also investigate complaints about a building’s fire safety and conduct inspections after a fire has occurred so if any violations of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 are discovered, the person responsible may be given instructions

These instructions show the person how to comply with the Order and formal notices may be issued in serious cases. Nonetheless, in most cases, fire safety authorities will work with the responsible person to ensure optimal fire safety levels.

How are fire regulations enforced?

Changes to the premises that significantly increase the risk of fire are planned and if fire authorities identify a serious, life-threatening fire risk, they have the authority to issue a notice prohibiting the use of the building for commercial purposes. 

However, the property owner has the right to appeal such a notice if they believe it is unfair as this informal appeal can be made to a fire safety manager in order to find a solution that complies with fire safety regulations. 

If this does not work, a formal appeal to a magistrate can be made.

If there are any technical issues with the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, the enforcing authority and the responsible person may request a formal decision from the Secretary of State to provide clarification.

Also, if a business owner relocates while in violation of the order, they are still liable for fire risks and must ensure that all planning and building regulations are followed. 

If changes that may increase the risk of fire are requested, the fire risk assessment should be reviewed, and current risk management procedures and precautions should be re-evaluated. 

But if there is a serious risk to life, fire officials can issue a change notice, requiring the owner to notify them of any planned changes to the premises that may significantly increase the risk of fire.

How does fire safety work for landlords?

It is critical for landlords to understand and adhere to fire safety regulations for landlords. These regulations are outlined in various Acts, and the requirements vary by country in the UK. However, you can get a good idea of the law by looking at the fire safety act of 2021.

If you’re not sure what laws apply to you, you should check your property documents

First of all, there is the Housing Act of 2004, which includes the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). It establishes the basic requirements for fire safety in rented housing. 

This includes ensuring tenants can easily escape in the event of a fire and repairing the property’s fabric as soon as possible to prevent the spread of fire so does not include anything to do with EPC or EICR.

Electrical safety is highlighted in other acts alongside gas safety such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005) which addresses fire safety in common areas.

There is also the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988/1989, 1993, and 2010 which applies to items such as sofas, sofa beds, mattresses, and even bean bags if your property is let furnished.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 requires landlords to install warning systems in their properties to alert tenants in the event of a fire. But these requirements vary by country within the United Kingdom.

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act of 2018 ensures that rented houses and flats are ‘fit for human habitation’ and building codes also have an impact on fire safety too. 

If you’re renovating a property before renting it out, you must follow the most recent rules and regulations, even if you’re hiring people to do the work. 

If you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), you must follow additional, more specific fire safety rules and regulations, which vary depending on the local authority which you can find here.

regulatory reform fire safety order 2005

What is the fire safety order of 2005 and the fire safety bill 2021?

In 2005, a new law was enacted that simplified workplace fire safety regulations. This legislation superseded previous fire safety laws in the UK.

It states unequivocally that anyone in charge of a workplace must take reasonable steps to reduce fire risks and provide accessible fire escape routes.

On the other hand, the Fire Safety Bill 2021 was recently passed in order to amend the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005. This Bill clarifies who is responsible for fire risks in multi-occupied buildings.

To conclude

In conclusion, the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 is crucial because if landlords are found to not be complying with it they could lose their right to keep a tenant’s deposit

By following these use class orders, landlords can make sure they plan a property in the right way. Whether that be a HMO or a single let property, failure to comply with the order can have severe consequences.

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andreas gerazis

Andreas Gerazis

Experienced landlord

Andreas is a certified landlord with extensive knowledge about the UK property market as he has been actively investing for half a decade. Founder of the first three-in-one property management software, Lofti Proptech, Andreas has a brilliant understanding of the details surrounding what it takes to grow and run a thriving property portfolio.