Fire safety laws and regulations explained

Fire safety law helps to keep your business safe as well as local people and people working or visiting your workplace. The law helps to reduce the likelihood of fire and makes sure people can escape safely in the event of a fire.

It is important you check what you need to do to comply with the law to keep you and your business safe. 

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

If you own, manage or operate a business, you must comply with fire safety law. The main law is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, known as The Fire Safety Order. It applies to businesses across England and Wales and came into force on 1 October 2006. 

More information about the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Building Safety Act 2022: Section 156: 

The Building Safety Act 2022 made amendments to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and came into effect on 23 October 2023 and imposes duties on businesses and building owners. The main changes affect written fire risk assessments and fire safety arrangements, enhanced requirements for cooperation and coordination and provision of information to residents. 

More information about the Building Safety Act 2022: Section 156.

Fire Safety Act 2021 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022: 

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into effect on 23 January 2023 and were introduced to implement the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report.  

The Fire Safety Act 2021 came into effect in May 2022 and clarified that the building’s structure and external walls (including windows, balconies, cladding, insulations and fixings) fall within the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 

More information about the Fire Safety Act 2021 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022.

Where will I find guidance about the required standards for my building? 

The guidance you need largely depends on the specific type of building in question. A valuable starting point for most is the website, it offers comprehensive guidance for a wide range of circumstances. 

For those responsible for specialised housing, including sheltered housing, extra care housing, or supported housing for those with learning disabilities or mental health issues, the NFCC Specialised Housing Guidance is a valuable resource. 

If you’re seeking information about purpose-built dwellings, such as high-rise apartment blocks, the Local Government Association (LGA) offers valuable information through their downloadable publication, fire safety in purpose-built flats. In cases where you require more information about shared houses, bedsits, and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), you’ll find guidance at LACoRS.

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