In this call for evidence, the UK Home Office is seeking feedback on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), which underpins fire safety in business premises, such as offices, warehouses, shops and commercial venues, to ensure it is fit for purpose. Employers, employees, business owners, fire safety professionals and others are asked for evidence, experience and views on the application of the FSO and fire safety in non-domestic premises, including workplaces and the parts used in common in multi-occupied residential buildings in England. This call for evidence complements the government's concurrent consultation, Building a Safer Future, and responses from it may be shared with the consultation team, to inform policy.
The call for evidence follows publication last year of Dame Judith Hackitt's Independent Review on Building Regulation and Fire Safety, commissioned by the Government after the Grenfell Tower fire.
The FSO places legal duties on those responsible for the safety of people using business premises. This is typically an employer or business owner, who must carry out fire risk assessments and ensure the safety of staff and others. It covers all non-domestic premises, as well as the parts of residential buildings used in common, such as corridors and stairwells.
Under the FSO, those responsible for fire safety in regulated premises include employers, business owners, landlords, occupiers and anyone else in control of the premises, such as building and facilities managers. It also applies to anyone with paying guests, including those who run bed and breakfasts, guesthouses or let self-catering properties, as well as hotels. All of these 'responsible persons' are being urged to respond to this call for evidence, using specific examples of premises in their responses.
As this is a call for evidence, the consultation document includes no policy proposals, but presents four thematic sections, divided into topical subsections, which provide background information to the lead questions. These sections are: FSO scope and objectives; issues specific to multi-occupied residential buildings; general application – workplaces and other non-domestic premises; and ‘higher-risk workplace buildings’ and fire safety.
On this fourth theme, the Home Office is seeking to establish whether the FSO provides sufficient fire safety arrangements for ‘higher-risk workplace buildings’ in comparison to the reforms proposed in Building a Safer Future consultation for multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres or more. It is also seeking views on whether relevant aspects of the proposed reforms for residential buildings relating to fire safety should also be applied to ‘higher-risk workplace buildings’, under the FSO.
There are 51 questions in total across all four consultation sections and respondents can answer as many or as few questions as they wish, focusing on where they have relevant views and evidence to share.
Responses to the call for evidence will be used by Government to assess any changes that may be needed and how they may be best achieved to ensure high and proportionate standards of fire safety in all buildings covered by the FSO.
We invited IOSH members to send us comments on the Home Office consultation to help inform an IOSH submission, by 17 July 2019.