While most people expect fire safety regulations to apply to large blocks of flats and commercial buildings, many do not realise that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to the common parts of all buildings divided into flats. Any building with common parts (parts used by more than one property) are caught by the regulations so if two flats in a converted Victorian house have a common entranceway these regulations apply.

The order imposes duties on owners. Where the freehold is owned by the flat owners in their own names this is everyone named on the title and where the building is owned by the tenants through a company formed for that purpose it is the directors of the company.

Duties: –

1. To take such fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances to ensure that the premises are safe.

2. To undertake a fire risk assessment in order to identify fire precautions needed to comply with the requirements of the Order: –

  1. To the extent that it is appropriate, provide fire-fighting equipment, fire detectors and alarms which are easily accessible, simple to use and indicated by signs. There must be a suitable system of maintenance for maintaining any fire-fighting equipment.
  2. To ensure that routes to emergency exits from the property and the exits themselves are kept clear at all times.
  3. To implement appropriate safety procedures to be followed in the event of imminent danger.

Physical Protection against fire is largely achieved through proper building standards and the installation of effective fire doors.

Older buildings without modern safety features will have this reflected in their Fire Safety Assessment and additional precautions may be needed.

If any significant works are carried out these will need to comply with Part B of the Building Regulations 2010 and brought up to the current standard.