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Fire Risk Assessment FAQs
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Thank you for visiting our resources portal. In this article we aim to answer all frequently asked questions about Fire Risk Assessments, from the basics to the more complex queries. If you have a question that you can’t find the answer to here then please feel free to get in touch and we will be more than happy to help. You can either fill in our contact form or call one of our expert admin team on 0800 170 1201.

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Is a Fire Risk Assessment a legal requirement?

Yes, legally all non-domestic (commercial) premises are required to have a Fire Risk Assessment, and non-domestic premises with 5 employees or more are required to have a written version.

Any domestic (residential) property that isn’t a "single private dwelling” is also required to have a Fire Risk Assessment on the "common areas” of the property. For example, a house converted into two or more flats, or a flat block, will require a Fire Risk Assessment on all common areas like stairwells, lifts, reception areas, garages, hallways, roof spaces, etc. including the front doors of the flats (but not the actual flats themselves).

The fire safety regulations for HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation) vary depending on the locality, it’s best to check with your area's HMO Enforcement Officer if you are required to have a Fire Risk Assessment. For example, in Hastings, HMO landlords are legally required to sign a declaration to confirm that they are conforming with the following requirements when they apply for a license: their property has a Fire Risk Assessment that complies with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, is reviewed regularly and can be provided when asked.

If you are the owner/managing agent of a domestic property where you have paying guests (like in a B&B, guest house, or self-catering property) then you will also need to comply with The Fire Safety Order and have a Fire Risk Assessment.

In properties where any of the following criteria is met then the Fire Risk Assessment must be recorded and must include the significant findings of the assessment, what measures have or will be taken in accordance with the Order, and identification of any people who are especially at risk:

  • 5 or more persons are employed.
  • A licence under any enactment is in force.
  • An alterations notice requiring this is in force.

Is a Fire Risk Assessment required by law for flats?

A Fire Risk Assessment is legally required for all of the common areas in flat buildings or houses converted into flats and the flat front doors, but not the actual flats themselves.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment checklist?

The Fire Risk Assessment checklist is a list of five steps that the government has set out to help people identify what they need to do to prevent a fire and keep people safe. This is for people who wish to carry out their own Fire Risk Assessment instead of having a trained assessor do so, and is only suitable for very basic or small premises.

The five steps are:

  • 1. Identify the fire hazards.
  • 2. Identify the people at risk.
  • 3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
  • 4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
  • 5. Review and update the Fire Risk Assessment regularly.

The following things will need to be considered:

  • Emergency routes and exits.
  • Fire detection and warning systems.
  • Fire fighting equipment.
  • The removal or safe storage of dangerous substances.
  • An emergency fire evacuation plan.
  • The needs of vulnerable people, for example the elderly, young children or those with disabilities.
  • Providing information to employees and other people on the premises.
  • Staff fire safety training.

This is a very basic outline of the Fire Risk Assessment checklist, find the full version here.

Why are Fire Risk Assessments important/required?

According to the fire and rescue incident statistics for England for the year ending June 2020, the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) attended approx 156,000 fires, with 231 of people affected by those fires unfortunately ending in a fire-related fatality and 6714 suffering non-fatal casualties.

Considering these facts makes it easier to see why complying with the legislation around Fire Risk Assessments and other fire safety practices is vital - to protect people from preventable harm and save lives.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

A Fire Risk Assessment is a survey that aims to identify all potential fire hazards and their risks, then provide control measures or precautions to reduce the risks from these hazards where necessary/possible.

What does a Fire Risk Assessment include?

An Easy EPC Fire Risk Assessment is completed by one of our competent fire risk surveyors and highlights any hazards and their risks found and gives an overall risk rating of the property in question, along with how soon any actions need to be carried out and the timescale of the next review. In addition to this different parts and services of the property will be categorised as no intervention needed, intervention & action plan needed, or not applicable. If any intervention is advised in any FRA, then these will need to be addressed in the first instance. Failure to do so puts yourself and others at risk and also makes any insurance void in the event of an incident.

How often do you have to get a Fire Risk Assessment?

On the government website it says that fire risk reviews should be reviewed and updated regularly. In Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 it states that the Fire Risk Assessment must be kept up to date, particularly if there’s reason to suspect that the Fire Risk Assessment is no longer valid or there has been a change to the premises, for example change of use or layout, extensions or conversions, special or technical measures, etc.

It’s recommended that a Fire Risk Assessment is reviewed and updated annually, unless a change has occurred in the premises which would render the Fire Risk Assessment incorrect or outdated.

How often do you have to get a Fire Risk Assessment for a HMO?

Depending on where your HMO is, you may be required to have a Fire Risk Assessment that complies with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, meaning that you’ll need to review and update your Fire Risk Assessment regularly or as soon as something significant changes in the property. It’s recommended that Fire Risk Assessments are updated annually if nothing has changed in the property.

Contact your HMO Enforcement Officer to check the HMO requirements for your area.

How much does a Fire Risk Assessment cost?

The cost of a Fire Risk Assessment varies depending on size, complexity and location of the property.

Need a Fire Risk Assessment quote?

Request your no obligation Fire Risk Assessment quote now by calling our freephone on 0800 170 1201 to speak to one of our admin team or click here to get in touch (Office Hours are Mon - Fri 9-5:30 excl. Bank Holidays).

How to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment?

For particularly small or uncomplex properties the responsible person can carry out a Fire Risk Assessment themselves with the help of standard fire safety risk assessment guides, however it is advised to have a "competent" professional risk assessor carry out the FRA where expertise or time is lacking, especially for properties/businesses that are not very basic.

Instructing a competent person to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment can be the easiest, most time efficient, and least stressful way for a responsible person to comply with the Fire Safety Order (2005), taking away the time consuming and often daunting task of identifying and deciding what to do about all fire hazards in a property, and giving it to a trained and experienced professional risk assessor.

If you do have a particularly small or simple property and wish to do your own Fire Risk Assessment, please see "What is a Fire Risk Assessment checklist” for a government resource on doing so.

When should a Fire Risk Assessment be reviewed?

According to the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 a Fire Risk Assessment must be kept up to date, particularly if there’s reason to suspect that the Fire Risk Assessment is no longer valid or there has been a change to the premises, for example change of use or layout, extensions or conversions, special or technical measures, etc.

It’s recommended that a Fire Risk Assessment is reviewed and updated annually, unless a change has occurred in the premises which would render the Fire Risk Assessment incorrect or outdated.

When is a Fire Risk Assessment required?

All non-domestic properties are required to have a Fire Risk Assessment. In properties where any of the following criteria is met then the Fire Risk Assessment must be recorded and must include the significant findings of the assessment, what measures have or will be taken in accordance with the Order, and identification of any people who are especially at risk:

  • 5 or more persons are employed.
  • A licence under any enactment is in force.
  • An alterations notice requiring this is in force.

As well as all non-domestic properties, anyone responsible for a property that isn’t a "single private dwelling” must have a suitably competent person complete a FRA. This means that the Order is relevant to any person in control of a property that contains two or more domestic dwellings (i.e. blocks of flats, a house converted into flats) as the common areas* are counted as non-domestic, and also if a property has paying guests such as bed and breakfasts, guesthouses and self-catering properties.

*"Common areas” include entrance doors to individual flats, hallways, lifts and shafts, stairwells, roof spaces, gardens, outhouses, and garages in domestic properties like flat blocks and houses converted into flats, meaning domestic landlords must also be aware of the Regulatory Reform Order 2005 regulations (as well as various others such as The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 and the Housing Act 2004 for regulations inside of the home).

When is a Fire Risk Assessment not required?

If there are less than 5 occupants regularly in the property then a written Fire Risk Assessment is not required, HOWEVER a Fire Risk Assessment IS still required, it just doesn’t need to be written down.

Single private dwellings are not required to have Fire Risk Assessments. While Fire Risk Assessments are required for the common areas up to and including the front doors of individual flats in buildings like flat blocks, a Fire Risk Assessment of the interior of the flats themselves are not required. Please keep in mind that you will still have to comply with other fire safety regulations such as The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 and the Housing Act 2004.

Can anyone do a Fire Risk Assessment?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, Part 2 Article 18 states that a fire risk states that the person who does the Fire Risk Assessment should be "competent” . This means that the assessor must show competency on or higher than the level of the complexity of the risks of the property to be assessed, so that they can properly assist in advising preventative and protective measures. This can be sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that provide them with the necessary competency.

For particularly small or uncomplex properties it may be suitable for the responsible person to complete the Fire Risk Assessment themselves using the Fire Risk Assessment checklist, however it is advisable (especially for larger or more complex properties) that a professional, trained and experienced fire risk assessor carries out the assessment.

Who is responsible for a Fire Risk Assessment?

In Part 1 Article 3 and Part 1 Article 5 of the Fire Safety Order 2005 we learn that the responsible person is anyone in control of a non-domestic premises or domestic premises with a non-domestic element (ie common areas in a non private single dwelling, or a domestic property that has paying guests).

Who needs a Fire Risk Assessment?

  • Anyone in control of any non-domestic property - owners, managers, landlords, employers, occupiers in control of the property.
  • Landlords of domestic properties that are not single private dwellings.
  • Anyone in control of a domestic property that has paying guests.

If any one of the following criteria is met then that Fire Risk Assessment must be written down:

  • 5 or more persons are employed.
  • A licence under any enactment is in force.
  • An alterations notice requiring this is in force.

Who does Fire Risk Assessments?

We do! Request your no obligation Fire Risk Assessment quote now by calling our freephone on 0800 170 1201 to speak to one of our admin team or click here to get in touch (Office Hours are Mon - Fri 9-5:30 excl. Bank Holidays).

Who regulates Fire Risk Assessments?

Local fire and rescue authorities are responsible for enforcing Fire Risk Assessment regulations for the majority of properties, however HSE is responsible for the enforcement on construction sites, nuclear premises, and on ships that are under construction or undergoing repair works.

How to get a Fire Risk Assessment?

The easiest and least stressful way to get a Fire Risk Assessment is to have a competent Fire Risk Assessor survey the property and compile their findings into a report.

Request your no obligation Fire Risk Assessment quote now by calling our freephone on 0800 170 1201 to speak to one of our admin team or click here to get in touch (Office Hours are Mon - Fri 9-5:30 excl. Bank Holidays).

When is a Fire Risk Assessment required for commercial premises?

All commercial properties are required to have a Fire Risk Assessment, regardless of if they’re occupied or not.

The following properties must keep a written version of their Fire Risk Assessment:

  • 5 or more persons are employed/regularly in the property.
  • A licence under any enactment is in force.
  • An alterations notice requiring this is in force.

If a property has paying guests, such as B&Bs and guest houses, then they also require a Fire Risk Assessment.

Any person in control of a property that contains two or more domestic dwellings (i.e. blocks of flats, a house converted into flats) must have a Fire Risk Assessment for the common areas (i.e. stairwells, reception areas, garages, etc) as the common areas are counted as non-domestic.

Who is the "Responsible Person"?

In Part 1 Article 3 and Part 1 Article 5 of the Fire Safety Order 2005 we learn that the responsible person is anyone in control of a non-domestic premises. This can be:

The following properties must keep a written version of their Fire Risk Assessment:

  • Employers
  • Building Owners
  • Landlords
  • Occupiers
  • Anyone with control of the premises like building managers, managing agents, facilities managers, and risk assessors

If a property has paying guests, such as B&Bs and guest houses, then they also require a Fire Risk Assessment.

Any person in control of a property that contains two or more domestic dwellings (i.e. blocks of flats, a house converted into flats) must have a Fire Risk Assessment for the common areas (i.e. stairwells, reception areas, garages, etc) as the common areas are counted as non-domestic.

Who is the "Relevant Person"?

In Part 1 Article 2 we learn that a relevant person is anyone who is or may be in or in the property or in the immediate vicinity of the property in question, meaning anyone who could be affected if there was a fire at the property, for example:

  • Staff
  • Visitors
  • Tradespeople working on the property
  • Neighbours

Who is a "Competent Person"?

While specific qualifications or skills for the competent person aren’t set out in The Fire Safety Order 2005, it is required that the person shows competency on or higher than the level of complexity of the risks of the property to be assessed. This means that for particularly small or uncomplex properties the responsible person can carry out a Fire Risk Assessment themselves with the help of standard fire safety risk assessment guides, however it is advised to have a "competent” professional risk assessor carry out the FRA where expertise or time is lacking, especially for properties/businesses that are not very basic.

What are the responsibilities?

As well as various other regulations regarding fire safety, The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 tells us that:

  • The responsible person has a legal duty to make (or instruct) a "suitable and sufficient” assessment of any potential fire risks that relevant people are exposed to. The purpose of this risk assessment is to identify the general precautions they must take to comply with prohibitions or requirements set out by the Order.
  • This risk assessment must be kept up to date, and amended especially if there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid, for example if there has been a change to the use, occupancy levels, layout or envelope of the property.
  • If a dangerous substance is in or is liable to be in the property, this must be taken into account in the assessment. Please note: no work involving a dangerous substance can go ahead unless this risk assessment has been made and measures highlighted in the Order are implemented.
  • In properties where any of the following criteria is met then the Fire Risk Assessment must be recorded and must include the significant findings of the assessment, what measures have or will be taken in accordance with the Order, and identification of any people who are especially at risk:
    • 5 or more persons are employed.
    • A licence under any enactment is in force.
    • An alterations notice requiring this is in force.

What are the penalties for not having a Fire Risk Assessment?

It’s an offence to fail to have a Fire Risk Assessment (that is written down if necessary), this offence can be punished by either a fine up to £5000 for minor penalties, or unlimited fines and up to 2 years in prison for major penalties (Pt 4 Art. 32). You can learn more about notices and appeals here.

How long until my Fire Risk Assessment is ready?

Easy EPC Fire Risk Assessments take up to 10 working days to produce from the appointment date. If it has been longer than 10 working days, or you would like to check on the progress of your report please get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to look into this for you.

If you have any further questions please fill in our contact form and one of our admin team will be in touch shortly, alternatively you can give us a call on 0800 170 1201. (Office hours are Mon - Fri 9:00 - 17:30 excl. Bank Holidays).

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