Safety update: Changes to fire safety responsibilities from 1 October

Document of a Citation employee providing Method Statement support to businesses

Changes have been made to the Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO 2005) via the Building Safety Act 2022 that impact the role and responsibilities of the Responsible Person (RP) from 1 October 2023 in England and Wales.

The new requirements cover the Responsible Person within all non-domestic premises, like a workplace, and a building containing two or more sets of domestic premises.

What is a Responsible Person? 

The RP is a company/person that’s responsible for ensuring all relevant fire safety arrangements are implemented/carried out.

A. In relation to a workplace the employer is the RP (if the workplace is under their control).
B. In relation to any premises not covered in the above sentence, the RP is:
1 – The person who has control of the premises (occupier) in connection with their trade, business, or other undertaking.
2 – The owner, where the person in control of the premises doesn’t have control in connection with their trade, business, or other undertaking.

What are the changes to the role of a Responsible Person?  

The new legislation requires the RP to:

  • Record all fire risk assessments in full. Previously, only part of a fire risk assessment was recorded (this was previously referred to as ‘significant findings’ whereas now all findings both positive and negative are required to be recorded regardless of the significance).
  • Record the identity of the individual and the company name of the person carrying out the fire risk assessment.
  • Record their fire safety arrangements. This is to show how fire safety is managed on your premises.
  • Record their contact information, including a UK-based address. Where applicable, this information should be shared with other RPs and residents of multi-occupied residential premises.

Working with other Responsible Persons 

If you are an RP within a multi-occupied premises, then there may be more RPs (landlords, managing agents, etc.). It’s your responsibility to take all reasonable steps to liaise with them. Make sure you all work together on fire safety arrangements and you have all their contact information. This should also be done for the Accountable Person (AP). An AP is a new role for high-rise residential buildings (An Accountable Person is an organisation or individual who owns or has a legal obligation to repair any common parts of the building).

It’s important to share your RP responsibilities with other RPs on the same premises. This information can be set out in a contract, but if you’re unsure of your RP responsibilities then contact your manager or landlord for the required information.

A departing RP must share all relevant fire safety information with the incoming RP. All RPs within a premises should be informed about a change of RP.

The RP of a premises containing more than two residential buildings must share relevant fire safety information with the residents, in a format that can be easily understood.

More changes to come 

More changes will be introduced in the future. One of those pending changes is that if an RP appoints someone to carry out the fire risk assessment, that person must be deemed competent. A person’s competency is based on training, knowledge and experience.

It’s still the RP’s responsibility to make sure a fire risk assessment is carried out. This is now the case for all premises.  The old ruling of ‘a fire risk assessment is only required to be recorded for premises with five or more people’ is no longer in place.

Accountable Persons 

An AP is an organisation or individual who owns or has a legal obligation to repair common parts of a building.

If you’re an RP for higher-risk residential premises – like a building over 18m in height or with at least seven storeys and containing at least two residential units – then you must take steps to identify the AP.

Cooperation is required between both roles to perform the duties mentioned in the Building Safety Act. This is to ensure a ‘whole building approach’ to building and fire safety is carried out.

What do you need to do now?

The main thing you need to do now is make sure that you have an up-to-date fire risk assessment which has been completed by a competent person, and that you’ve clearly identified and understood who the RP is and who the AP is (if applicable) for your premises. You also need to make sure you start working through the actions above if you haven’t already.

For more support with this or any other Health & Safety issue, call your 24/7 Health & Safety advice line on 0345 844 4848.

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.