Is a fire risk assessment a legal requirement?

A fire risk assessment is an essential aspect of fire safety and fire prevention. By taking a detailed look at your premises and the people who use them on a day-to-day basis, you can understand the potential risks and then work to improve any fire safety measures to ensure a safe environment for people and to prevent fire in your premises.

Is a fire risk assessment a legal requirement?

Yes, in accordance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, completing a fire risk assessment for your premises is a legal requirement if you are responsible for a building that is not a ‘single private dwelling’. Other than single private dwellings, these include:

An offshore installation within the meaning of regulation 3 of the Offshore Installation and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995;

A ship, in respect of the normal ship-board activities

(d) fields, woods or other land forming part of an agricultural or forestry undertaking

(e) an aircraft, locomotive or rolling stock, trailer or semi-trailer used as a means of transport

(f) a mine

(g) a borehole site.


 A fire risk assessment is legally required in almost all other types of premises.

It is the duty of the ‘Responsible Person’to take fire precautions ‘as far as reasonably practicable’ under the RRO Part 2 article 8 to ensure that fire safety is paramount in a premises and that a building is safe for all relevant persons.

The ‘Responsible Person’ is defined in the RRO Part 1 Article 3 as:

  • (a) In relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control;
  • (b)  In relation to any premises not falling within paragraph (a)—
  1. The person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or
  2. The owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.

In Layman’s terms, a ‘Responsible Person’ could be the employer, owner, landlord, or appointed managing agent of the premises. All fire risk assessments must be carried out by a competent person.

See articles 5 (3) and 5 (4) for other responsible persons.

Is it a legal requirement to record the findings of my fire risk assessment?

It is mandatory by law for the ‘Responsible Person’ to record the findings of the fire risk assessment, including any action taken or action still to be taken. As of the 1st of October 2023, the Building Safety Act 2022 came into effect with Section 156 amending the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, setting the requirement for all fire risk assessments to be recorded irrespective of the number of employees or whether there is a license in force.

The recordings of your fire risk assessment will cover an assessment of (but not be limited to) the escape routes, identifying sources of ignition and other fire hazards, active fire protection such as fire alarm, suppression systems, as well as passive fire protection through the standards of compartmentation and fire doors. It will also cover the management aspect of the premises such as the emergency plan in event of a fire, standard of fire safety training, including fire marshals and whether they are trained in the use of fire extinguishers, evacuation aids etc. The report should assess the premises fire safety against various guidance documents, and the requirements/action plan to be taken in order to maintain compliance in line with the RRO.

How often should a fire risk assessment be reviewed?

Article 9 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that is a legal requirement that fire risk assessments should be reviewed as follows:

(3) Any such assessment must be reviewed by the Responsible Person regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if—

  • (a) there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid; or
  • (b) there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates including when the premises, special, technical and organisational measures, or organisation of the work undergo significant changes, extensions, or conversions.

Where changes to an assessment are required as a result of any such review, the responsible person must make them.

In essence, if any major changes are made to a building, and whether or not they increase the potential risk of fire, an updated fire risk assessment becomes a legal requirement to be completed by the responsible person. This can include but is not limited to, structural changes to the building, changes to the types of activity undertaken in the building, changes in the use of the building, or any change in the type of people using the building.

You can read more about how often a fire risk assessment should be reviewed here.

The Fire Protection Association can remove the stress of undertaking a fire safety risk assessment by providing a consultant who is suitably experienced in your specific industry sector. After working alongside your responsible persons, our risk assessment experts will produce a report which includes a fire risk assessment record of significant findings, a clear and concise fire safety plan detailing actions recommended, and a full fire risk assessment of the building.

Our highly experienced team of professional fire risk assessors can carry out a fire risk assessment in a variety of premises including retail centres, individual shops, healthcare buildings, industrial buildings, factories, historic buildings, commercial buildings, hotels, schools, and blocks of flats, amongst others.

To have the FPA undertake either an initial report or review your fire risk assessment, email or call us on 01608 812 500. Find out more about the FPA’s fire risk assessment services.

Please be aware that considerable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this article at the time of publication, however any legislative (or other) changes that come into effect after this may render the information out of date until it is reviewed and updated as part of the FPA’s content review cycle.