Small Premises Providing Sleeping Accommodation

Small premises providing sleeping accommodation, including small Bed & Breakfasts and Guest Houses, had not, since the introduction of the Fire Precautions Act, been required to have the same standards as those premises that required  a Fire Certificate. When the “Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order” (RRFSO) came into force on 1 October 2006 this changed and all premises became subject to the same requirements and all premises providing sleeping accommodation, with the onus on every owner, must now assess their own fire risks, by carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA).

However, it has become clear that different Fire and Rescue Services throughout the country have different interpretations and very different ideas about standards and enforcement.

Some owners are being told by their local Fire Authority that they must install fire precautions of the sort that would have been required for larger premises. Consequently some owners are finding that:

  • the precautions demanded by fire inspectors in many areas are disproportionate to the risks posed by the premises and their use
  • the financial cost of compliance is disproportionate to their turnover and profits
  • the changes required by their fire department could compromise the character of their premises
  • the changes may be difficult to obtain planning/listed building consent for
  • they are told that the less costly precautions their own FRA indicated are not sufficient.

As a consequence the government has produced a guidance document called “Do you have paying guests?” It provides information on how small premises providing sleeping accommodation can comply with the fire safety law. Another guidance document can be found on the CIEH website and is called Housing Fire Safety: Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing.


March 17, 2011[Last updated: April 22, 2022]

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