The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force on 1 October 2006, bringing in a new fi re safety regime for most premises in the UK. A recent case has highlighted the need to be aware of the obligations under that Order and shown that breaches will be prosecuted.

Shell was recently fi ned £300k plus £45k costs after two fi res broke out in quick succession at its London offi ces. Fire investigators found “extensive breaches” of the Order, including blocked escape routes and defective doors. Shell’s fi re risk assessment had also not been updated for three years.  

Whilst many property owners and occupiers are aware of the Regulations, this case highlights the need for compliance.  

Key points to note:

  • As a default position, owners will be liable for compliance with the Order, but the Regulations also apply to employers or occupiers who have control of the building.  
  • The duties include: ensuring that the premises, fi re safety equipment and emergency routes/exits are properly maintained; keeping records about the fi re safety regime at the property; and carrying out a risk assessment and keeping it under review (a yearly review is recommended, but further reviews may be triggered by, for example, a change in the layout of the building or increase in the number of employees at the premises).  
  • The Regulations also apply to vacant buildings.  

Guidance can be found at http://www.bre.co.uk/firerisk/page.jsp?id=644