Article 17

Article 17 – from the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states:

“Maintenance

The responsible person must ensure, where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, that the fire precautions are maintained in good working order (see also article 38, about protection of fire-fighters). This includes any facilities which have been provided under Building Regulations, the Housing Act 2004 or other legislation such as local Acts; and including any enactment repealed or revoked by the Order. Risk assessments, as required by article 9, should include references to maintenance. Enforcing authorities must consider the suitability and sufficiency of any risk assessment that does not address the matter of maintenance where there is the possibility of persons other than the employer/occupier being capable of omissions affecting and negating the effectiveness of the fire precautions. It is suggested that in such instances enforcing authorities could reasonably expect that any contract or tenancy agreement would contain such clauses that would enable the responsible person to show that acts or omissions which cause the effectiveness of fire precautions to be negated, and which place relevant persons at risk, may result in criminal liability.

The responsible person(s) for parts of the premises to which the Order applies may make arrangements with the occupier of parts to which the Order does not apply (e.g. domestic accommodation) for the purposes of ensuring the maintenance requirements of the Order are met. This applies to HMOs and purpose-built flats.

Occupiers of private domestic premises in such buildings are required to co-operate with the responsible person where the latter needs to maintain a common fire precaution. Although no direct offence is associated with a failure by the occupier of private domestic premises to co-operate with a landlord etc, any contract/agreement (whether in terms of a lease, tenancy or licence agreement) should allow access to the responsible person to enable him to maintain any fire safety provisions extending from the common parts to the domestic premises.

Enforcing authorities are expected to enforce the duties and in doing so seek appropriate evidence that where fire precautions extend beyond parts of premises to which the Order applies, arrangements are in place for those common precautions to be maintained.

Enforcing authorities are expected to use their professional judgement in evaluating the maintenance of any equipment and devices provided in accordance with the risk assessment to protect all relevant persons in and around the premises from the dangers of fire, eg fire extinguishers, fire suppression systems, alarm systems and emergency lighting. Enforcing authorities should be aware that there may be more than one responsible person who has duties to maintain premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises covered under this Order.”