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Before you begin

Before you begin

Your legal responsibility

The fire risk assessment will follow the same 5-step process as the risk assessment as recommended by the Health and Safety Executive. You must consider a few important factors before you begin your fire risk assessment.

What law applies?

  • England & Wales: The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
  • Scotland: Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
  • Northern Ireland: The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 and Part 3 of the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.

The types of premises covered by the laws

The laws relating to fire risk assessments apply to virtually all premises, including:

  • Offices and shops
  • Premises that provide care, including care homes and hospitals
  • Community halls, places of worship and other community premises
  • Shared areas of properties that several households live in (housing laws may also apply)
  • Pubs, clubs and restaurants
  • Schools and sports centres
  • Tents and marquees
  • Hotels, bed and breakfasts, and hostels
  • Factories and warehouses

The laws don't apply to private residences (unless they require a licence under the House in Multiple Occupancy mandatory licence scheme).

There are other exceptions, but these are less common. If your premises isn't identified above, you should get legal advice.

Where to assess

You'll need to go around your premises and inspect it. Take into account the whole of your premises, including any outdoor locations and rooms or areas that are rarely used.

If you have larger premises, you can divide it into a series of rooms or departments. Even if you share your premises with other businesses, the information on hazard and risk reduction will still be your responsibility. However, you'll need to consider the overall fire safety arrangements in the building.

Work processes

If your main risk assessment (The 5-step approach to risk assessments) finds that work processes in the workplace are likely to lead to a fire, you should consider this when performing your fire risk assessment.

Competent people

Just like the workplace risk assessment, you can choose one or more 'competent people' (Creating a health and safety policy) to help you apply the fire risk assessment. This person can be an employee or consultant, such as an expert safety consultant. They should have enough knowledge, skills and experience to carry out their role.

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