Competent Person

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) 2005 came into effect in October 2006, effectively replacing a multitude of fragmented and outmoded fire safety legislation in a single stroke.

The Order applies to all non-domestic premises across England and Wales – including the common parts of blocks of flats or houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). Separate legislation applicable to Scotland is contained in the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations (FSSR) 2006.

The RRFSO legislation applies to you if you are:

  • responsible for business premises
  • an employer or self-employed with business premises
  • responsible for a part of a dwelling where that part is used solely for business purposes
  • a charity or voluntary organisation
  • a contractor with a degree of control over any premises

In this Order “responsible person” means:

(a) in relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control;
(b) in relation to any premises not falling within paragraph (a)
(i) the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking; or (ii) the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.
In this Order “competent person” means:

“A person is to be regarded as competent for the purposes of this article where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures”.

Anyone appointed by the responsible person, for example a company fire warden or fire alarm service engineer, may be directly employed or a sub-contractor but, crucially, must possess the necessary level of competence in order to carry out their duties.