Fire Safety Law in Scotland – The Difference Between Scottish and English Fire Safety Regulations

England and Wales

In England and Wales, Article 9 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (The “Fire Safety Order”) requires that the responsible person, on whom the Order imposes requirements, must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which the relevant persons are exposed for the BGV A3 purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by or under this Regime. (For the purposes of this legislation, “relevant persons” are any person who is or maybe lawfully on the premises, and also any person in the immediate vicinity of the premises who is at risk from a fire in the premises, other than fire-fighters at the time of a fire)

The same duty is imposed on every person, other than the responsible person, who has, to any extent, control of the premises as far as the duty relates to matters within his control. (This would normally include, for example, the landlord or managing agent of commercial premises in multiple occupation).

The above risk assessment is commonly described as a fire-safety-risk-assessment. Guidance on the requirements of the Fire Safety Order and on the Fire Safety Risk Assessment required by it is produced by the Communities and Local Government.


In Scotland the duty to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment is imposed on every employer by Section 53(2) (a) of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005. The Act requires that the Risk Assessment identifies any risks to the safety of the employers, employees in respect of harm caused by fire in the workplace. Section 54(2) (a) of the act also imposes a duty, on any person who has control of any extent of the relevant premises, to carry out a fire risk assessment, and this risk assessment must identify any risks to the any relevant persons in respect of harm caused by fire in the relevant premises that; relevant persons is defined in much the same manner as it is defined Fire Safety Order in England and Wales. In Scotland, further requirements in respect of the assessments required by the Fire (Scotland) Act are imposed by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. Guidance on the requirements on this legislation and the Fire Risk Assessment required by it, is published by the Scottish Government.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland the requirements for the assessments are identical to those in Scotland, but are imposed by Articles 25 (2) (a) and 26 (2) (a) of the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006. Guidance is available at the Department of Health, Social Services, and Public Safety (in Northern Ireland)

Fire Brigade Advice

Fire and Rescue authorities can advise on the legislation that applies to any building, and for means of compliance. If in doubt regarding the requirements of legislation, consultation with the fire and rescue authority is strongly recommended.

Competence of Fire Risk Assessors

Advice can be obtained from a suitably qualified and experienced fire risk assessor or fire safety practitioner. A number of bodies including the Institution of Fire Engineers and Fire Industry Association maintain a register of persons who are competent to carry out fire risk assessments.


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