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Fire alarm

23 March 2009

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) came into effect in October 2006. It applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales, including common parts of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation. A Willans Partner reports.

Those brought up in the era of fire safety certificates may have found the transition to FSO rather difficult since it is now the duty of a ‘responsible person’ (usually the owner, employer or occupier) to conduct the fire risk assessment and implement suitable safety measures. The laudable aim is to minimise the risk to life and keep the assessment up to date.

if you are a landlord of tenanted property, almost certainly the ‘responsible person’ will be you as the duty now falls to those who are best placed to address the issues. It is not necessary to carry out the assessment personally – you can appoint a professional to do it and liaise as necessary with the local fire service (who have a statutory duty to enforce compliance).

Businesses cannot afford to ignore this ongoing responsibility: failure to comply can result in being hauled before the magistrates’ court with the threat of imprisonment and/or fines.

You may find that over-zealous fire and rescue authorities take pre-emptive action. The official motive will be the greater good but underlying this may well be viability concerns of such authorities who are fighting their corner to prevent closure.


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