Fire safety law is set to change in England and Wales, but not yet. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), which will affect all non-domestic premises in England and Wales, received Parliamentary Approval on 7 June 2005 and was due to come into force on 1 April 2006. However, the Government has announced a delay in its implementation so that businesses and those responsible for enforcing the new laws have adequate time to familiarise themselves with the new regime and the guidance that will accompany it. Accordingly, the new rules will now be brought in on 1 October 2006, which is the same date as for the introduction of the new safety laws in Scotland.
The main emphasis of the changes will be to move towards fire prevention. Fire certificates will be abolished and will cease to have legal status. Under the RRFSO the 'responsible person' for each premises will be required to carry out an assessment of the risks of fire and take action to remove or reduce them. Risk assessments will have to take into consideration the effect a fire may have on anyone in or around the premises and will need to be kept under regular review.
There will be a series of guides published to assist those preparing fire risk assessments. More information is available on the website
for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.