Firestopping Contractors London
Fire Safety Guide #1
UK Fire Safety Legislation and Responsible Person
This fire safety technical guide discusses the core of UK fire safety
legislation and addressed the issue of corporate and personal
responsibility for implementation of fire safety regulations in buildings.

UK Fire Safety Legislation and Responsible Person

UK fire safety legislation has been created and refined over the past few years so that all duties and responsibilities are delegated to the right people. To ensure the fire security of buildings and the safety of tenants, landlords and building owners must comply with a number of regulations. Having said that, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (or Fire Safety Order, for simplicity) is the key piece of legislation for fire safety in the UK.

Responsibility for fire protection requires having an in-depth, straightforward analysis of their building's condition and whether the appropriate steps have been taken to reduce their building's risk of fire. This article serves as an introductory guide, detailing specifically who in a building is responsible for fire protection. In addition, this article will specify the rights of the appropriate authority.

It is important to notice that the definition of a "responsible person" is given by article 3 of the Fire Safety Order. Furthermore, Building Regulation 38 of The Building Regulations 2010, requires that "The person carrying out the work shall give fire safety information to the responsible person not later than the date of completion of the work, or the date of occupation… whichever is earlier." This regulation sets the statutory requirements that ensures that information critical to the fire safety of people in and around buildings is communicated to the owner, occupier and tenant/user, so that the fire compliance and safety of the building can be operated and managed correctly.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 is mainly implemented by the local Fire and Rescue Authority in the region (FRA). In special circumstances, however, other entities can implement fire safety regulations, such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the fire service of the Secretary of State for Defence. If you are uncertain about where your FRA is located, you can either contact your local fire service (follow this link to National Fire Chief's Council website) or contact your nearest fire service for details.

In order to execute the Regulatory Fire and Safety Order, the FRA employs inspectors who are required to perform the following functions:

A. Physical inspection of premises, identification of those responsible for enforcing the fire safety procedure and obtaining both their cooperation and assistance in carrying out the inspection where appropriate.

B. Evaluating enforcement specific to the Regulatory Fire and Safety Order with all the required requirements. They can request access to any mandatory records and plans, such as documents relating to the most recent fire risk assessment of the building, if required by the Fire Risk Assessment (FRA).

C. To determine their safety/flammability, inspectors would consider taking material samples from the premises for a detailed laboratory analysis. If any products are found to be hazardous by any of these tests, inspectors may order them to be dismantled, destroyed or further examined.

Responsibility for Fire Safety

Fire safety in commercial buildings and multi-dwelling residential blocks of flats is the responsibility of those in charge of the premises. For example, in commercial buildings, the responsibility rests with the employer whether that premises comply with the fire safety regulations. Employers must, therefore, conduct a comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment. All applicable procedures for FRAs are clarified by our recent article on fire safety regulations for commercial buildings.

Some property contracts, however, state that it is the landlord's responsibility to be accountable for shared spaces (e.g. stairways, reception areas, and fire protection systems such as alarms and fire doors). Tenants are encouraged to talk to specialist landlord advisors to ensure that they are mindful of their obligations as owners of commercial property.

In multi-dwelling residential blocks, the responsibility for the fire safety would normally rest with either the landlord (the owner of the freehold) or the Management Company established to operate the building. In smaller residential buildings, including Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) and apartments, landlords are directly responsible for managing the fire safety. Here are some examples of landlords' fire safety regulations:

A. Compliant Fire Doors
In apartments, halls, and staircases, landlords must also make sure that fire doors are installed. Although these doors ought to be 'self-closing,' it is vital that these doors do not bang shut as this may result in them being wedged open. In addition, for injury, corrosion, or signs of tampering, any devices used to hold the fire doors closed must be checked.

B. Fitting Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
The installation and maintenance of smoke detectors on every floor of a building is the duty of landlords. In addition, a carbon monoxide alarm must be used to regulate any room which contains a solid fuel-burning appliance (such as a wood-burning stove or a coal fire). Although these alarms should be reviewed periodically, at the beginning of each new lease, the minimum requirement is that the alarms be tested.

C. Firestopping and Passive Fire Protection
For walls, floors and cavity barriers, landlords are needed to maintain sufficient firestopping and prevent potential spread of fire through the building. This means being mindful of any possible violations of the compartment by external contractors, such as electricians or plumbers. Any infractions could make ineffective firestopping initiatives, so landlords must be vigilant in detecting signs of harm or wear and tear.

Over the last decade, ALERON Fire Protection has worked to develop itself as the UK's market leading firestopping contractors and experts in passive fire protection. We remain passionate about fire protection, implementation of fire safety and fire stopping compliance. ALERON is a team of expert IFC-accredited installers and also maintain accreditations from a number of industry specific professional bodies.

Would you like to find out more about our passive fire protection specialist services? Get in touch today with ALERON team for a free technical advice.

ALERON has over 14 years of Experience
Harness Our Expertise to Deliver Your Project