Exploring the compliance of the Fire Safety Order 2005 amongst micro and small organisations in England and Wales

Josephine Hayes, Paul Hampton, Patrick Manu

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    Abstract

    Fire safety in buildings can not be underestimated given the grave losses associated with fire incidences. Legislation has been a useful means of ensuring fire safety in buildings, and in England and Wales, the recent introduction of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (FSO) 2005 has been mentioned to be a positive progression in fire safety standards. However, since its enactment, compliance with the legislation especially among micro and small organisations continues to trail behind expectation. Given that micro and small organisations constitute an enormous proportion of UK organisations and the success of legislation depends on compliance, it is essential to investigate the reasons behind this low compliance. This research thus sought to explore the potential reasons for this situation by the use of qualitative interviews conducted with key duty-holders of the legislation: the enforcing authority; responsible persons; and competent persons. The study reveals that low awareness of the FSO in micro and small organisations is at the heart of the low compliance. Also the lack of a recognised formal qualification system for competent persons makes it difficult for responsible persons to appoint competent persons. Beyond this, micro and small organisations prefer to conduct in-house fire risk assessments despite the danger of the lack of understanding of construction materials and technical issues of Fire Safety by responsible persons. This preference is due to the financial burden of engaging a competent person. Furthermore, reduced contact between businesses/building owners and the fire service under the FSO could also be undermining its compliance. Although it can be argued that the FSO is fairly new and as such it requires time to be fully grasped by organisations, the insight provided by this study is useful in the early identification of potentially problematic areas for early redressing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCOBRA 2011 - Proceedings of RICS Construction and Property Conference
    Pages382-389
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
    EventRoyal Institution of Chartered Surveyors International Research Conference, COBRA 2011 - Salford, United Kingdom
    Duration: 12 Sept 201113 Sept 2011

    Conference

    ConferenceRoyal Institution of Chartered Surveyors International Research Conference, COBRA 2011
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    CitySalford
    Period12/09/1113/09/11

    Keywords

    • Fire safety
    • Interview
    • Legislation

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