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Fire safety in business premises

The Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005 (RRO) became law on 1 October 2006.  On this date the Fire Precautions Act 1971 was repealed (fire certificates ceased to have legal status) and the Fire Precautions (workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended) were revoked. 

You are probably the responsible person as defined by the act.If you are:

  • Responsible for business premises
  • An employer or self-employed with business premises
  • A charity or voluntary organisation a contractor with a degree of control over any premises

All guidance documents relating to this order can be accessed by fire risk assessment guides.  Further information on this order can be accessed at

How do I meet the order?

If you are the responsible person, you must make sure you carry out a fire risk assessment although you can pass this task to some other competent person.  However, you will still be responsible in law for meeting the order.

To assist in this is this guide entitled a short guide to making your premises safe from fire.  Also available from DCLG Publications, PO Box 236, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7NB.  Phone:  0870 1226 236.

For more detailed guidance specific to your type of premises a series of guides has been produced in order to assist those preparing fire risk assessments; these will give detailed information on risk assessments and other issues.

Fire risk assessment guides are available here, and from good book shops.

Enforcing the order

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are the main delegated enforcing authority for the (RRO) in non-domestic premises in the county of Norfolk.  Our key objective is to reduce risk to all people in Norfolk from fire and its effects.  To achieve this our enforcement policy is to audit premises identified as being most at risk.  Our enforcement policy also includes an audit of premises following a fire.

Where breaches of the order occur Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service will provide practical advice or, where the risk is serious, formal notices.  Except in the most serious cases, the fire authority will work in partnership with the responsible person in order to achieve a satisfactory level of fire safety.

Where there is a very serious life risk the fire authority is able to issue a notice preventing the premises being used for certain things, (such as sleeping) or prohibiting all or part of the premises being used at all.

In all cases there will be a right of appeal, both informally and formally. An informal appeal, normally to a more experienced fire safety manager, can sometimes identify a different method of complying with the order.  If this is unsuccessful, you can appeal formally to a Magistrate.  There will also be the opportunity to agree to go to an informal tribunal to agree a remedy where a notice relates to technical issues.

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