Fire safety in Historic Buildings

19 September 2018 | Applicable law: England and Wales


Responsibility for complying with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (" the Order") rests with the ‘responsible person’; which is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the manager or owner.

The responsible person must carry out a fire risk assessment which must:

  1. Focus on the safety in case of fire of all ‘relevant persons’. If you employ five or more people you must record the significant findings of the assessment in writing.

  2. Appoint one or more competent persons, depending on the size and use of your premises, to assist in undertaking any of the preventive and protective measures.

  3. Provide your employees with clear and relevant information, instruction and training on the risks to them identified by the fire risk assessment; about the measures you have taken to prevent fires; and how these measures will protect them if a fire breaks out.

  4. Inform non-employees, such as residents, temporary or contract workers, of the relevant risks to them, and provide them with information about the fire safety procedures for the premises.

  5. Provide the employer of any person from an outside organisation who is working in your premises (e.g. an agency providing temporary staff) with clear information on the risks and the measures taken. You must also provide those employees with appropriate instructions and relevant information about the risks to them.

  6. Establish a suitable means of contacting the emergency services and provide them with any relevant information about dangerous substances.

  7. Ensure that the premises and any equipment provided in connection with firefighting, fire detection and warning, or emergency routes and exits have a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained by a competent person in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

Fire risk assessments conducted for sleeping accommodation within a listed or historic building:

You need to ensure that a balance is struck between ensuring sufficient fire safety measures are in place for the safety of people, yet avoid extensive alterations which impact on the character of the building.

It is recommended that a general fire policy statement and manual is created and maintained.

The advice of a building control body or any other relevant bodies (e.g. English Heritage) should form part of any fire risk assessment that impacts on the character of the building.

Should the design and nature of the historic building preclude the introduction of conventional fire safety features, it may be necessary to limit the number of occupants, either staff or members of the public, inside the building; limit activities in the building; and provide adequate supervision within the building.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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