Fire Safety Regulations Guide

Preface

This guidance gives advice on how to avoid fires and how to ensure people’s safety if a fire does start. Why should you read it? Because;

  • Fire kills. In 2004 (England and Wales) fire and rescue services attended over 33,400 fires in non-domestic buildings. These fires killed 38 people and injured over 1,300.
  • Fire costs money. The costs of a serious fire can be high and afterwards many businesses do not reopen. In 2004, the costs as a consequence of fire, including property damage, human casualties and lost business, were estimated at £2.5 billion.

This guide applies to England and Wales only. It does not set prescriptive standards, but provides recommendations and guidance for use when assessing the adequacy of fire precautions. Other fire risk assessment methods may be equally valid to comply with fire safety law. The guide also provides recommendations for the fire safety management of the premises.

Your existing fire safety arrangements may not be the same as the recommendations used in this guide but, as long as you can demonstrate that they meet an equivalent standard of fire safety, they are likely to be acceptable. If you decide that your existing arrangements are not satisfactory there may be other ways to comply with fire safety law. This means there is no obligation to adopt any particular solution in this guide if you prefer to meet the relevant requirement in some other way.

Where the building has been recently constructed or significantly altered, the fire detection and warning arrangements, escape routes and facilities for the fire and rescue service should have been designed, constructed and installed in accordance with current building regulations. In such cases, it is likely that these measures will be satisfactory as long as they are being properly maintained and no significant increase in risk has been introduced.

In addition, earlier legislation, including local authority acts may have imposed additional requirements for fire precautions.

This guide should not be used to design fire safety in new buildings. Where alterations are proposed, they may be subject to building regulations. However, it can be used to develop the fire safety strategy for the building.

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