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What to expect from an audit

A Visit by an Officer – What to Expect

Audits are carried out following nationally agreed guidelines so that any advice given to you is consistent and proportionate to any risk in your premises.

We believe prevention is better than cure and our inspectors will actively work with you to advise and assist with meeting the required standard. The inspector will explain the reason for the inspection and what you will be required to provide during the inspection.

As the responsible person it is your duty to ensure the health and safety of your employees and others, such as members of the public, who could be affected by the way you run your business. The purpose of an inspection is to sample how you are complying with your legal responsibilities imposed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Order).

Therefore, the audit is based on questions posed by articles from the Order. For example, Article 11 states that "the responsible person shall make... appropriate arrangements... for the effective planning, organisation control, monitoring and review of preventive and protective measures". So the question posed is "is there effective Fire Safety Management?". Whether the appropriate arrangements are in place will score each business on their compliance level, ranging from 'Non-compliant, Major Deficiency/Risk' to 'Broadly Compliant'.

Documentation Required During the Audit

During the Audit, the Officer may request to see the following documents (where applicable):

  • Fire Risk Assessment
  • Fire Precautions Log Book
  • Records of Staff Training and Fire Drills
  • Records of Testing and Maintenance for all Fire Safety Systems including Fire Alarms, Emergency Lighting, Fire-fighting Equipment (Extinguishers).

For a template Fire Risk Assessment and Log Book, please see our Fire Risk Assessment page.

Fire Safety Standards Within the Building

As part of the Audit, the Officer may wish to inspect Fire Safety Standards in all or part of the building in order to confirm the significant findings from your risk assessment. The officer may also wish to talk to members of staff to confirm their level of Fire Safety Awareness.

Summary of Powers

An inspector appointed by the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and in possession of a written warrant, has powers under the following legislation:

  1. Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (opens in a new window)
  2. Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASWA) (opens in a new window). Sections 19, 20, 21, 23 and 25 of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations made under HASWA.
  3. Regulations made under the above Acts.

An inspector may do anything necessary for the purpose of carrying this Order into effect and, without prejudice to the generality of these powers, in particular shall have the power to do, at any reasonable time, the following:

  1. to enter any premises and to inspect the whole or part of the premises and anything in them;
  2. to make such enquiry as may be necessary to ascertain whether the provisions of this order have been complied with and to identify the responsible person in relation to the premises;
  3. to require the production of any records, and to take copies of any entry in the records, which are required under any provision of the Order or for the purposes of examination;
  4. to require any person to give such facilities and assistance to enable the inspector to exercise the powers conferred by the Order;
  5. to take samples of any articles or substances found on the premises for the purposes of ascertaining their fire resistance or flammability; and
  6. in the case of any article or substance, to cause it to be dismantled or subjected to any process or test.

Enforcing the Law

Where a breach of fire safety legislation is found, the inspector will decide what action to take. The action will depend on the nature of the breach and will be based on the principles set out in our Enforcement Policy (.pdf, 7 pages, 515KB).