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March 15, 2022

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fire safety

New fire safety guides introduced in Scotland

Multiple new fire safety guides have been introduced in Scotland, including practical guidance for existing high-rise domestic buildings, existing non-residential premises, existing specialised housing and existing care homes.

Fire safety – existing high rise domestic buildings: practical guidance

Published by the Scottish Government, the guidance set out in this document provides practical fire safety advice on how to prevent fires and reduce the risks from fires in high rise domestic buildings.

The focus is on communal areas and aspects of building design in private accommodation which could affect the safety of others.

The guidance aims to reduce the risk to life from fire. As such, the focus is on life safety rather than protection of property.

The guidance is for those responsible for fire safety in high-rise domestic buildings. This includes owners, managers, property factors, property advisors and landlords, managing agents, enforcing authorities and those assessing fire risk.

It is for existing multi-storey high-rise blocks and tenemental buildings with a storey in excess of 18m above the ground, but no storey above 60m. Specialist advice should be sought for buildings above this height.

The guidance also includes criteria for determining the level of safety; these are benchmarks to make comparison against. Similarly, the methodology outlines for assessing risk is intended to assist in making comparisons.

Fire safety – existing non-residential premises: practical guidance

This guidance covers fire safety responsibilities for business owners of non-residential premises in Scotland.

The guidance is applicable to general fire safety in existing non-residential commercial, industrial, transport, assembly, educational, day care or entertainment premises and to which Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the 2005 Act”) applies. The guide does not apply to premises used for sleeping accommodation and does not apply to premises used for child-minding for which other guidance has been produced.

The guide applies to existing premises and is not a design guide for new builds.

The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 sets out the fire safety duties in respect of the majority of non-domestic premises in Scotland. General requirements include:

  • Assessing the risk from fire
  • Identifying the fire safety measures necessary as a result of the assessment of risk
  • Implementing these fire safety measures, using risk reduction principles
  • Putting in place fire safety arrangements for the ongoing control and review of the fire safety measures
  • Complying additionally with the specific requirements of the fire safety regulations
  • Keeping the fire safety risk assessment and outcome under review
  • Record keeping.

Fire safety – existing specialised housing and similar premises: practical guidance

This guidance is for those who are responsible for specialised housing and for those who provide care and support in such premises.

The guidance aims to strengthen fire safety for people who receive care or support in specialised housing or similar premises. It will also be useful for those receiving “care at home” services.

It applies to “special housing” and similar premises for older people and others requiring care and support. This covers a wide range of premises and types of building designs.

For this guidance, specialised housing includes the following:

  • Sheltered/ very sheltered/ extra-care housing. This ranges from sheltered housing complexes with little on-site management to very sheltered or extra care premises with significant on-site management, including 24-hour care
  • Supported housing – for people with physical, sensory, mental health or cognitive impairments.

The guidance also applies to small care homes which have been constructed as domestic dwellings and accommodate only a few residents.

Fire safety – existing care homes: practical guidance

This guidance is for those who have responsibility under the Fire (Scotland) 2005 Act for ensuring ire safety in care homes in Scotland.

Guidance is applicable to general fire safety in existing premises in which a care home service is provided.

These are care homes which provide a service for the following categorised residence:

  • Older people
  • Children and young people
  • People with learning difficulties
  • People with drug and alcohol problems
  • People with mental health problems
  • People with physical and sensory impairments.

Care homes comprising of either a ground floor, ground and first floor or ground, first and second floor, will fall within the scope of this guide.

The guide applies to existing premises.

This guidance supersedes the previous February 2014 version.

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