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Fire safety regulations are important for managing the risk of fire in your building. Your local fire authorities are responsible for extinguishing fires and protecting lives and property during a fire. 
 
They may also inspect buildings to assess their compliance with the fire safety regulations and maintain records. In this article we will highlight the different types of fire safety notices, who issues them and the steps you need to take if you have been issued one. 

Who Issues a Fire Safety Notice and What Is It? 

A fire safety notice is usually issued if it is deemed that the fire safety measures in your building are inadequate. Fire safety notices are issued by a Fire Safety Officer from your local Fire and Rescue Authority. 
There are also circumstances where inspectors from other agencies with enforcement powers may issue a notice. For example during construction. These agencies include: 
 
Local Authorities 
Crown Premises Inspectors 
The Health and Safety Executive 

What Are the Legislations Covering Fire Safety in the Workplace? 

All fire safety regulations, including passive fire protection requirements are covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The Fire Safety Act 2021 further clarified the parts of a building that are covered by the FSO that must be accounted for during a fire risk assessment. 
 
The latest amendments to the regulation - the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and section 156 of the Building Safety Act also introduced additional duties for the Responsible Persons under the FSO. 

What Is Covered in the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005? 

The Fire Safety Order applies to almost all kinds of commercial and residential premises including: 
 
Care homes and hospitals 
Hospitality buildings 
Community buildings (e.g. libraries and halls) 
Shops 
Schools 
Factories and warehouses 
HMOs and shared areas in accommodations 
 
While the FSO doesn’t cover individual domestic premises, it does cover houses of shared occupancy such as apartment buildings and university accommodations. The regulations put a large emphasis on the kind of maintenance required, the need for training of RPs, as well as their general duties and what information must be provided to employees/occupants. 
 
To comply with the Fire Safety Order the responsible persons are obliged to maintain and safe environment including: 
 
Having appropriate fire safety measures in the building 
Informing occupants about potential fire hazards 
Conducting regular fire risk assessments 
Training staff in fire safety 
Having an up to date emergency plan 

What Types of Fire Safety Notices are There? 

Fire and rescue inspectors may visit your premises to check if the appropriate fire prevention measures are in place and the appropriate fire risk assessments have been done. In cases of non-compliance they may issue an informal or formal notice. They will also advise on the steps you need to take to fix the problems on the notice. 
 
These are the types of notices they might issue: 

Alterations Notice 

The purpose of this notice is to notify responsible persons that a building is of high or potentially high risk. It also helps authorities maintain a risk-based inspection programme. 
 
In high-risk buildings where any changes could result in people being at risk, keeping an up-to-date fire safety record and fire risk assessments is essential. The responsible person has to submit a fire risk assessment along with details of the proposed changes before any changes are made to the premises. 

Prohibition Notice 

The authorities may prohibit the use of certain parts of the premises or the whole building if the conditions in it pose a serious risk in the event of a fire. This notice outlines the steps needed to correct the faults and reasons for immediate action. 
 
A prohibition notice may take immediate effect. The responsible person has a right to appeal. 

Enforcement Notice 

Enforcement notices are issued when officers find non-compliance with certain points of the Fire Safety Order. This notice calls for corrective action where significant risk is found. The notice includes a summary of the issues found and the measures that need to be taken. 
 
The responsible person then has 28 days to make necessary adjustments. In most cases, you have a right to appeal. 

Who Is Responsible for Fire Safety in the Workplace? 

Fire safety in the workplace is the responsibility of the RP. This is usually the employer, owner, landlord, an occupier or another individual with significant control of the building or parts of it. 
 
Sometimes there might be multiple Responsible People in a premises. In such cases, they share responsibility in ensuring that all fire safety measures in the building are compliant. The RP is also responsible for all employees and visitors lawfully on the premises. 

What Actions Need to Be Taken After a Fire Safety Notice? 

If your building has been issued a fire safety notice it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure your building is safe and compliant. 
 
GRJ can rectify issues with your existing passive fire protection helping you maintain compliance with the regulations. Offering comprehensive services including structural steel fire protection, fire compartmentation, fire door installation and maintenance, we work nationwide across the UK. Our contractors are accredited under several accreditation schemes including ASFP, BM TRADA, IFC and ISO 9001. 
 
For more information get in touch with us and we'll be happy to assist. 
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GRJ CONTRACTING 
GRJ Contracting Ltd was established in 2007 with the purpose of specialising in the design, supply, and installation of quality passive fire protection systems for the commercial and residential UK construction market. As an accredited company certified with IFC, ASFP, ISO 9001 and Cyber Essentials based in the Midlands, we operate nationwide on new build and legacy construction projects of all scales and our range of services includes Intumescent Coatings and Rigid Boarding systems for Structural Steelwork protection, Service Penetration Firestopping, Mineral Fibre Boarding systems for internal building fire compartmentation and more. 
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