Is a fire risk assessment required by law?

15 October 2022

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 a fire risk assessment is required by law for all commercial premises. All commercial sectors need to carry out fire risk assessments which include but are not limited to offices, retail spaces, care homes, schools, warehouses and factories and hotel and leisure spaces.

Additional regulations are set to come into force next year under The Fire Safety Act 2022 (FSA). These regulations clarify what is needed in buildings that contain more than one residence, and clarifies that the arrangements set out in the FSO which apply to the entire structure of a building, the external walls, and any doors that separate domestic and common parts of a building.

What is a fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment is a fire prevention tool that is used to understand the potential risks of a workplace, then improving any relevant fire safety precautions to keep people and workplaces safe.

There are 5 parts to a complete fire risk assessment:

  1. Identify the fire hazards
  2. Identify people at risk
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
  4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
  5. Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly

If five or more people work at your premises or your business has a licence under enactment in force, you’ll need your fire risk assessment to be a written record.

Find out more about what to include in your fire risk assessment.

Who is responsible for carrying out a fire risk assessment?

The UK government states that a commercial fire risk assessment needs to be carried out by a “responsible person.”  This person is responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises and include:

  • an employer
  • the owner
  • the landlord
  • an occupier
  • anyone else with control of the premises, for example a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent or risk assessor”

If there’s more than one responsible person, you have to work together to meet your responsibilities.

What are the consequences of failing to conduct a fire risk assessment?

Your local fire and rescue authority visits premises to check the fire risk assessment and fire prevention measures are appropriate and can take action if they think your fire safety measures are not adequate. 

There are three types of notices that they can give you:

  1. Alterations notice
  2. Enforcement notice
  3. Prohibition notice

You can also be issued with penalties for failing to follow fire safety regulations. Minor penalties can be up to £5,000. Major penalties can have unlimited fines and up to 2 years in prison.

But more generally, failing to conduct regular and thorough fire risk assessments puts your workplace and people at serious risk.

Getting help with your fire risk assessment

You can do the fire risk assessment yourself with the help of standard fire safety risk assessment guides, however, if you feel like you don’t have the time or relevant expertise to do so thoroughly, you need to appoint a ‘competent person’ to help, for example a professional risk assessor. Your local fire and rescue authority cannot carry out risk assessments for you.

At Total Fire Group, we can help you conduct your fire risk assessments to ensure you’re fully compliant. We work with clients across a range of sectors and our innovative fire risk assessment software, Aurora, simplifies and speeds up even the most complicated assessments.

We can also offer an ongoing, fire consultancy service which includes the initial fire risk assessment(s), as well as more in depth support. This is more suited to clients with several properties or where mediation with the Fire Service is required following an inspection or enforcement notice being served.

Contact Total Fire Group for help with your fire risk assessment.


We offer our clients a complete fire safety management service, our key services include:

Fire Risk Assessments

Delivering a comprehensive and detailed report on your property.

Fire Safety Consultancy

We can provide a partnership which offers auditing and consultancy services.

Fire Risk Management Software

Manage multiple risk assessment actions with our Aurora software.

Fire Safety Training

Our fire safety training courses cover every level of fire safety, from basic through to advanced.