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The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force in October 2006.
The RRO replaces all other existing fire safety legislation and has had an impact on all employers, owners and occupiers. It firmly places the responsibility for all fire safety matters with not only the employer, but also the owner of a building and the employees. A 'responsible person' is to be appointed to risk assess and manage the relevant fire precautions and means of escape.
The responsible person must carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all 'relevant persons'. The fire risk assessment will help identify risks that can be removed or reduced, and to record the nature and extent of the general fire precautions needed to protect people against the fire risks that remain.
In October 2008 the long awaited publication of BS 9999:2008 Code of Practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings was launched. This gives designers additional flexibility in achieving compliant fire strategies and means of escape.
Building Regulations are based on minimum standards only. It must be noted that where residential properties are to be rented out these may be subject to further, and more onerous, legislation in relation to fire precautions and means of escape in the event of fire.
Other areas for example, room sizes and underground rooms also come under separate legislation covered within the remit of Housing Standards.
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