Fire Safety Regulations Guide

Who Enforces the Fire Safety Order?

The local Fire and Rescue Authority (the fire and rescue service) will enforce the Order in most premises. The exceptions are:

  • Crown-occupied/owned premises where Crown fire inspectors will enforce;
  • premises within armed forces establishments where the defence fire and rescue service will enforce;
  • certain specialist premises including construction sites, ships (under repair or construction) and nuclear installations, where the HSE will enforce; and
  • sports grounds and stands designated as needing a safety certificate by the local authority, where the local authority will enforce.

The enforcing authority will have the power to inspect your premises to check that you are complying with your duties under the Order. They will look for evidence that you have carried out a suitable fire risk assessment and acted upon the significant findings of that assessment. If, as is likely, you are required to record the outcome of the assessment they will expect to see a copy.

If the enforcing authority is dissatisfied with the outcome of your fire risk assessment or the action you have taken, they may issue an enforcement notice that requires you to make certain improvements or, in extreme cases, a prohibition notice that restricts the use of all or part of your premises until improvements are made.

If your premises are considered by the enforcing authority to be or have potential to be high risk, they may issue an alterations notice that requires you to inform them before you make any changes to your premises or the way they are used.

Failure to comply with any duty imposed by the Order or any notice issued by the enforcing authority is an offence. You have a right of appeal to a magistrates court against any notice issued. Where you agree that there is a need for improvements to your fire precautions but disagree with the enforcing authority on the technical solution to be used (e.g. what type of fire alarm system is needed) you may agree to refer this for independent determination.

If, having read this guide, you are in any doubt about how fire safety law applies to you, contact the fire safety office at your local fire and rescue service.

If your premises were in use before 2006, then they may have been subject to the Fire Precautions Act and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations. Where the layout (means of escape) and other fire precautions have been assessed by the fire and rescue service to satisfy the guidance that was then current, it is likely that your premises already conform to many of the recommendations here, providing you have undertaken a fire risk assessment as required by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations.

New buildings or significant building alterations should be designed to satisfy current building regulations which address fire precautions.

However, you will still need to carry out a fire risk assessment, or review your existing assessment (and act on your findings), to comply with the Order.

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