Anyone providing accommodation to paying guests is required by law to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA). Failure to do so may result in complications with your insurance policy and weaken your position in the event of a claim, notwithstanding the possibility of prosecution in the courts.
Under current government legislation, full responsibility for conducting a Fire Risk Assessment lies with the business owner. This applies to all businesses taking in paying guests, regardless of size or type, from a bed & breakfast with one room to guest houses, self-catering holiday cottages, caravans and camping sites.
A Fire Risk Assessment takes a thorough look at an individual premises and the type of people who use it. It considers the risk of a fire breaking out, what measures might be looked at to prevent this from occurring and how best to keep people safe should the worst happen.
A Fire Risk Assessment is something you can complete yourself, particularly in the case of a family home with commercial uses. From a legislative perspective it is deemed to be the home owner who will best know their property and is therefore best placed to assess any risk. However, should you feel uncomfortable with this responsibility, paid assessments are available.
If you plan to complete your own Fire Risk Assessment, the Government guide to fire safety law entitled ‘Do you have paying guests?’ provides a practical reference guide. Available from the Gov.UK website, it outlines your responsibilities and contains detailed information on how to undertake an assessment, the five key steps that should be taken with check lists, plus examples of written assessment formats.
Where a business has five or more employees, regardless of whether full or part time, a written record of your Fire Risk Assessment is required by law. This provides positive proof that the procedure has been undertaken with care and could also prove invaluable should you be subjected to a Fire Service inspection.