The The Fire (Scotland)
Act 2005 (“FSA”) came into effect after the Fire (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 23rd
February and received Royal Assent on 1st April 2005.
Part 3 of the Act
introduces a new fire safety regime in Scotland which was brought into force
with effect from 1st October 2006 (see “timescale” below). The other
parts of the act had already been bought into force on 2nd August 2005.
This document seeks only to highlight some of the key parts of this
Act alone and is broken down into the following sections:
Of more practical significance are the
(Scotland) Regulations 2006, which build upon this Act as mentioned in
Power to Make Regulations, below. Please refer to the Fire Safety
(Scotland) Regulations 2006 page
for more useful guidance.
Throughout, references to the pertinent legislation have been included as footnotes. The reader is referred to the full text of the
Act (available here from the
Government’s Official UK legislation site) for full details.
‘Relevant premises’ are, broadly speaking, the vast majority of premises,
- shops, offices, factories & warehouses;
- pubs, clubs and restaurants;
- schools, sports centres, community halls & places of worship;
- hotels, hostels, hospitals and care homes;
- communal areas in shared housing (including houses in multiple
occupation (“HMO”) requiring a licence); and
- tents and other moveable structures,
but excluding domestic premises1.
The act sets out the parties with that have responsibilities under it. A relevant employer is always a
legal duty holder
in this context2, as is a person that “has
control to any extent of
(including as occupier, not just as owner). For shorthand, we’ll refer
to this person (or persons) simply as the legal duty holder.
Please note that that the term ‘person’ is a legal term in this context and, in
addition to referring to an individual, it may equally refer to an incorporated
company, a partnership, etc.
The nature of this act is such that
responsibility is hard to avoid - indeed there may be many people (individuals,
companies or otherwise) that all have some responsibilities under
this act. It is
perfectly conceivable that a company-landlord, his owners, his key employees, a
company-tenant and the tenant’s owners and key employees may all be in jeopardy if
the Regulations are not adhered to (see Offences, below).
This act requires the legal duty holder to
undertake a fire risk assessment4.
More detailed requirements in respect of these fire risk assessments
(including the need to review and record such assessments) will be
laid down in the forthcoming
(Scotland) Regulations 2006, made under the powers discussed
This act also gives Scottish Ministers’ power to make regulations about risk
assessments and fire safety5, including in
the following areas
- provision and maintenance of firefighting equipment
- employee training
- provision and maintenance of fire alarm systems
- means of escape
- keeping of records in relation to fire safety
These powers were first used to lay down more stringent requirements in the
Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
The Act sets out6 the duties of the various enforcing authorities (typically the Fire &
Rescue Service7) in relation to
These duties include statutory responsibilities requiring them to:
- enforce the Order (and any regulations made under it) in
relation to the premises that they have responsibility for8; and
- “have regard to any guidance given by the Scottish Ministers”9.
The combined effect of these elements is to give significant
statutory weight to the Scottish Government’s Guidance, which
“constitute guidance given by the Scottish Ministers”10.
Further information on this guidance, along with links to the guides
themselves, can be found in our Government
There are many new offences in relation to the Act11
with penalties extending up to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2
years and/or an unlimited fine12.
The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 is already law, with Part 3 having taken full effect
from 1st October 2006 and the other parts previously having taken
effect from 2nd August 2005.
It is now the duty of the legal duty holder to
ensure full compliance with the Act.
More information on this subject can be found from the
& rescue services section.
for the full text of the Act available from the
Government’s Official UK legislation site.
Should you wish for any further information under this subject, please feel free to contact us.
- As laid out in
section 78 of this act.
Section 53 of part 3 of this act.
of part 3 of this act.
54 of part 3 of this act.
- Including sections
58 of this act.
61 of this act.
61, paragraph (9) and
6 of this act.
61, paragraph (1) of this act.
61, paragraph (2) of this act.
- Chapter 3,
series of guides: “Practical Fire Safety Guidance”. NB
References and text may vary from guide to guide.
- The offences are laid down in
Chapter 4 at sections
74 of this act.
Section 72, paragraph (5)(b) of this act.