Fire Safety Responsibilities under Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022

As a result of changes made to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 through the Building Safety Act 2022 the Responsible Persons obligations have changed.

What is a Responsible Person?

In accordance with The Fire Safety Order, it is the duty of the Responsible Person to keep relevant persons safe from the adverse effects of fire and smoke. A relevant person can be defined as people on the premises or within its vicinity. As per Article 3 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the Responsible Person is a legally created entity.

Under the Fire Safety Order, a Responsible Person can be defined as:

“In relation to a workplace as the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his/her control.

In relation to premises that are not a workplace, 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) is deemed the ‘responsible person’.

Where the person in control of the premises does not have control in this way, the ‘responsible person’ is deemed to be the owner.”

The Fire Safety Order is applicable to all workplaces and commercial buildings, non-domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings (including areas clarified by the Fire Safety Act); these include balconies, structures, external walls, and flat front doors.

To comply with the Fire Safety Order, it is a requirement that the Responsible Person carries out a fire risk assessment for the relevant persons. This is to establish the fire safety precautions that are necessary to keep them safe on the premises.

Do the new fire safety requirements apply to all buildings?

The building safety act requirements apply to all non-domestic buildings i.e places of work and the non-domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings such as stairways and corridors. They are primarily enforced by local fire and rescue authorities.

Obligations of the “Responsible Person” under the Building Safety Act 2022

The Building Safety Act 2022 formerly known as the Building Safety Bill came into effect in April 2022 and determined several initial requirements for the Responsible Person. Building on this, Section 156 of the Building Safety Act (BSA) 2022 is being commenced in October this year and will amend the Fire Safety Order, thus bringing with it new requirements for the Responsible Person.

The Responsible Person would be required to record their completed fire risk assessment in full; previously only partial sections were required. Responsible Persons must also keep a record of the person engaged by them to review the fire risk assessment. This information would include the name and organisation of the person. They must also do this for themselves, including a registered UK address, with the intention to share this with other Responsible Persons of the premises. In addition to this, the Responsible Person must take steps to establish the identity of other Responsible Persons who also share responsibilities for the same premises.

A record of the Responsible Persons fire safety arrangements must also be kept, primarily to indicate how the premise is being managed in relation to fire safety. This information will also need to be shared with the new Responsible Person in the incident that the existing Responsible Person departs from the premises. It will also be a legislative requirement that the Responsible Person ensures that the newly appointed Responsible Person is competent to fulfil the above requirements.

What are the Responsible Person’s duties?

Duties specific to Fire Risk Assessments

  • All findings from the Fire Risk Assessment must now be recorded in full. The also extends to the fire safety arrangements for the premises.
    • Previously it was only required to contain the significant findings of your risk assessment, however, it is now a requirement to include all information about the fire safety of the premises. Furthermore, limitations on the circumstances to which you can include information have also been removed.
    • The Responsible Person must ensure that the Fire Risk Assessor is competent. Additionally, they must record all details of the assessor, such as their name and their organisation’s name.
  • The golden thread of information between Responsible Persons
    • It is crucial that any other Responsible Persons on your premises are identified and any shared duties established. The extent of these responsibilities under the Fire Safety Order should also be discussed and recorded.
    • Personal details such as name and a UK-based personal address should then be shared between Responsible Persons.
    • The fire risk assessment and fire safety measures that you take should be holistic and complement those for the rest of the building.
  • Cooperation with Accountable Persons
    • The Accountable Person can be defined as an individual that has a legal obligation to repair any common parts of the building.
    • You must identify the Accountable Person If you are the Responsible Person for a “high-risk” residential building; defined by the Building Safety Act as a building at least 18 meters in height (or at least 7 storeys and containing two residential units,
    • It is essential that there is cooperation between the Responsible and Accountable Persons, to ensure that there is a holistic approach to the fire safety management of the building.
  • Sharing of information between the previous and new Responsible Person
    • To establish and maintain the golden thread of information through the lifecycle of the building any relevant fire safety information must be shared between Responsible Persons. In full, this information should contain:
      • The fire risk assessment and review records
      • Identity of those involved in producing the fire risk assessment
      • The full name and UK address of the Responsible Person (including those acting as the Responsible Person)
      • If the building is classified as a “higher risk” building, the Accountable Person’s information will also need to be recorded
      • Information under Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations 2010
  • With buildings that contain two or more sets of domestic premises, the Responsible Person has the following duties.
    • Under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, specific instructions have been mandated to ensure that the residents of your building are kept informed about the fire safety of the building. With the update, these have been strengthened to provide more readily available information to residents. If you are the Responsible Person for the building, you must provide:
      • Full name and UK address of the Responsible Person.
      • Fire risk assessment which identifies the possible dangers to residents.
      • Details of the means of escape and protocol for residents in the event of a fire.
      • The personal information of anyone involved in assisting the development of the fire risk assessment.
      • The identify of the competent person.
    • Where resident evacuation is through common areas, it is already mandated in the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 that fire safety instructions must be shared with residents of multi-occupied domestic premises. This includes how to report a fire and the evacuation strategy if a fire occurs.
    • Upon a new resident arriving, they should be provided with the relevant fire safety information.
    • Information on fire doors should also be shared – most notably that they should remain shut when not in use.
    • With regards to self-closing devices, they should not be tampered with by residents and any errors should be recorded and reported immediately.
    • Fire safety instructions should be displayed in a visible part of the building.


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