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Top Fire Safety Regulations Every Commercial Property Owner Must Know

As a commercial landlord or commercial building owner, it is essential you know what fire safety measures you are responsible for within your building. Of course, fire safety plays a vital role in protecting visitors, workers and the building itself. Therefore fire safety equipment and plans are paramount and by law, essential, in helping prevent tragedies, damage and any legal issues. Fireproofing is essential and whether that’s informing occupants of the fire safety measures in place, fire safety equipment or passive fireproofing systems implemented into the structure of the building. 

What is classed as a commercial building?

All non-domestic premises fall under the same fire safety category. This includes workplace buildings and buildings where activities of a commercial nature take place, including business and financial activities. This includes common areas of multi-occupancy residential buildings and all kinds of premises that the public has access to like shops, museums, hotels, etc. 

What is commercial fire safety?

The Fire Safety Act 2021 holds all persons responsible for a premises legally accountable for the safety of all occupants. A commercial building refers to all “all non-domestic premises, .. where people work, visit or stay, including workplaces, and the non-domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings (e.g. communal corridors, stairways, plant rooms)” – www.gov.uk

This includes ensuring that fire risk assessments are carried out and fire precautions are put in place, reinforcing the safety of all building occupants at any given time. Create a safe working or living environment while minimising irreversible damage to your property with appropriate fireproofing.  

Fire safety requirements for commercial buildings

The Fire Safety Act states that external walls, building structures and doors leading into communal areas must be fire safety compliant in commercial or multi-occupancy buildings. All are to be assessed and examined in the fire risk assessment. You might be wondering who is responsible for the fire regulations of a commercial building, it could be you! Property owners, landlords, employers and occupiers can all be held responsible as well as anyone who is involved in the management of the premises/building and/or risks assessors. 

Essential fire safety measures for commercial buildings include:

1. Mandatory fire risk assessments 

Required for any building that contains two or more domestic dwellings. There must be an appointed responsible individual who ensures fire risk assessments are carried out. We recommend annual fire risk assessments to identify and address potential fire hazards. In addition, all findings must be recorded and relayed to staff and building occupants, this includes recording and relaying fire safety plans, evacuation processes and emergency plans.

2. Early fire warning and fire detection systems 

Active fire safety measures must be in place and must be tested regularly to ensure all are in high working order. Active fireproofing includes fire alarms, extinguishers, sprinkler systems, signage and emergency lighting. Ensure a trained, appointed fire safety expert regularly carries out maintenance and functionality checks, ensuring the integrity of all fire safety equipment. 

3. Passive fireproofing 

Passive fire protection forms an integral aspect of fire safety in commercial buildings. Passive fire safety measures include structural measures that help reduce building damage caused by a fire. Passive just means that the fire safety efforts lie dormant day-to-day, however in the case of a fire breaking out would contain and slow fires allowing occupants to vacate the building in a safe and timely manner while also allowing fire services to arrive on scene before any serious, irreversible damage erupts. Passive fire measures include structural elements like room size, fire-safe materials and equipment etc: 

  • Building compartmentalisation delays the spread of a fire from one building section to the next. Fire-resistant walls, partitions and flooring can be installed in large open spaces, reducing a rooms size, which in turn helps contain and slow fire, toxic gas, smoke and heat spread 
  • Improve structural integrity with fire-protective sprays and intumescent coatings during building construction, this coating reacts and expands up to 100 times its original thickness withstanding heat. This protective heat layer prevents fire from penetrating the structure of the building
  • Fire stopping barriers, air sealing and compounding are all designed to seal off any open spaces like gaps and holes in a building structure preventing the circulation of air in the case of a fire

4. Emergency planning & fire safety training 

Life-saving fire safety training is an essential fire safety requirement for commercial buildings. All occupants must be trained in the safety procedures and evacuation plans if a fire was ever to break out. All staff must be trained in the building’s fire safety and evacuation plan and regularly updated regarding any new fire risks that threaten the building. 

Fire drills must be practised at least once a year, all results must be recorded and used to inform the fire safety and evacuation plan for your building. Fire safety procedures must include 

a clear, short distance, direct and well-marked escape route with easy open emergency escape doors. All employees should undergo escape route training, ensuing escape routes and meeting points are common knowledge among all building occupants.

Commercial Landlord Responsibilities for Fire Safety in the UK

You might be wondering who is responsible for fire safety in places of work and non-domestic premises. Commercial landlords and business owners are in fact responsible for the fire safety within their four walls, make sure to appoint someone to carry out fire safety tasks if you are unable to do so!

The responsible person for fire safety in any building could be YOU. If you are an employer, landlord, business or building occupier or owner, building manager, risk assessor, or managing agent you are responsible for the building’s fire safety measures! If you have been appointed as the ‘responsible person’ for your building and share this role with another individual ensure you support each other in your safety duties. 

Remember as the individual responsible for the building’s fire safety you must ensure a fire risk assessment is carried out and reviewed, even if you appoint a body to do this on your behalf. Informing all building occupants of the identified hazard.  You must have a comprehensive emergency plan drawn up and all occupants must be fire safety instructed including training and must understand the emergency plan procedures. 

We’re all responsible for our own safety within a building, if you notice anything around the workplace or building that could potentially be a risk or fire hazard, warn someone immediately, and remove the object/hazard in question if it is safe to do so.  

Ensure resident and building safety with passive and active fire safety measures

For support in fireproofing your commercial building, trust Fire Immunity to ensure the structural integrity of your building. Minimise the risk of fire damage and risk to life with IFC & SMAS certified passive fire stopping and compartmentation fitted and integrated by Fire Immunity. For a free consultation call 01174056332 or contact Fire Immunity today to discuss how we can improve the fire safety of your South-West business today at a fair, competitive price.

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