The law on fire safety relates to all premises that are not a single domestic property.
- commercial premises and workplaces
- voluntary organisations
- workplaces of the self employed
- anywhere that the public have access to
- the common (shared) parts of residential buildings, such as flats or houses where lots of different people live
If you are an employer you have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.
Do you live in or control/help to control premises that are not domestic? If so, then it is likely you will also have a legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment. (This also applies to empty premises if you own them).
If your business does not have an employer, or an occupier, you may be the responsible person. In this case, you will have the legal duty to carry out a fire risk assessment.
Your legal duty is to carry out a fire risk assessment to ensure the premises comply with the relevant law. For England and Wales this is The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (known as the Fire Safety Order)
A fire risk assessment identifies possible fire hazards and people who may be at risk. It evaluates the risks and what can be done to remove or reduce them. It records what was found and done.
Fire risk assessments must be up to date and reviewed regularly. They should take into account any changes to your premises.
It is possible to do the fire risk assessment yourself, particularly if your premises are small or low risk. You will find information about this on the fire risk assessments section. This includes links to the relevant government guidelines.
After reading the government guidelines you may have doubts or reservations about:
- level of understanding
- any other aspect of carrying out the assessment yourself
In this case, you can employ a specialist to do it for you.
The legal duty always remains with you. For this reason, it is important that you check that the person you are employing to do the assessment is competent and can do the job correctly.
Approach appointing an assessor in the same way that you would approach appointing any supplier for your business.
- check that the person or company is registered with, or certified by, a professional body or organisation
- contact the professional body or organisation that they are registered with or certified by. You can discuss your needs with them. This will help you to establish that the assessor you choose is appropriate, sufficiently qualified and competent to carry out an assessment for your type of business
- check that an assessor has carried out fire risk assessments for businesses and premises like yours before
- ask for names of previous clients with business/premises similar to yours from whom you can request references
- ask all and any other questions to satisfy yourself that they are experienced in, and understand your type of business or premises. This includes if they keep up to date with current practice. (For example by attending continuing professional development courses.)
- obtain alternative quotes – make sure they all cover the same scope so you can draw a proper comparison
- agree work in writing, provide access, keep records and check the assessor has the appropriate insurance
The Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council have produced the following document:
In it, you can find more detailed information about choosing a competent fire risk assessor. On page 5 of this guide you will also find a list of registration and certification schemes.
Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.