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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Part 14

October 7, 2019 1:36 pm

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 13, LWF discussed the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) and Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs). In part 14, we will continue looking at the RRFSO while considering the grey area which may arise when attempting to establish if premises fall under the RRFSO or not.

While we established that holiday lets – whether a caravan park or a hotel – can fall under the requirements of the RRFSO, there are other potential holiday lets which fall into the grey area, as they may be classed as a private dwelling.

A privately-owned holiday home, flat or cottage may be used by the owner as their second home and let out only occasionally to paying customers. The premises have not ceased being a private dwelling, but may be subject to the RRFSO.

In recent years, the increase in Airbnb rooms available for booking in private homes by paying customers has risen dramatically. It’s practically fashionable to turn your spare room into a source of income. The home remains domestic and therefore a private dwelling but surely the person paying to stay there has a right to expect certain levels of fire safety in that environment?

It could certainly be viewed as remiss of the property owner not to make themselves aware of the RRFSO requirements and undertake a basic fire risk assessment if they hope to gain income from their property by letting parts of it out on an ad-hoc basis.

People who are expected to sleep in their working environments also have a right to expect that fire safety considerations have been taken into account. Some working/sleeping environments are clear-cut, for instance, a hospital which provides overnight accommodation for staff on-call would definitively be within the scope of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order. The key to being sure in this case is that the premises as a whole are not domestic or a private dwelling and the accommodation given is temporary, rather than a ‘home’ for the staff member.

LWF will continue discussing the RRFSO and work environments which involve living or sleeping for staff members in more detail in part 15 of this blog series. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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