Skip to main content

Residential properties over businesses

Find information about fire safety in residential properties over businesses and commercial properties.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is working together with partners across all county, district, and borough councils in Suffolk to ensure that people living or sleeping above commercial premises are safe from fire.

About the Responsible Person

A Responsible Person must take all reasonable steps to ensure relevant people (including residents, tenants, employees and the public) are protected from the effects of fire.

The Responsible Person is normally the employer but maybe the premises occupier or owner. However, any person who has some level of control in premises must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 

 The Responsible Person must:

  • carry out a fire risk assessment (PDF, 140KB), identifying any possible dangers and risks
  • consider who may be especially at risk; you must consider all relevant people on the property, which may include people living or sleeping above your business 
  • reduce the risk from fire as far as is reasonably practicable and provide General Fire Precautions to deal with any possible risk left. You must coordinate and cooperate with other responsible persons within the building, including, for example, landlords.
  • create a plan to deal with any emergency and, in most cases, keep a record of your findings
  • review your findings when necessary

The Responsible Person must ensure that:

  • there is sufficient fire protection between the commercial and domestic parts of the building
  • there is suitable detection and warning of a fire in the building
  • the means of escape from the building is maintained and can be used safely at all material times
  • everyone in the building, including people in flats/sleeping above understands what to do in the event of a fire
  • your General Fire Precautions are maintained

Impact Days

Working with the county, district, and borough councils, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service will be identifying commercial premises with some form of sleeping above, aiming to educate and inform business owners, building owners, and landlords on the risk of fire on their premises.

They are helping to ensure that people in Suffolk are safe from fire and that all buildings comply with the current fire safety legislation. 

We will be embarking on a series of Impact Days, where Fire Safety and Housing Officers will be visiting every town in Suffolk. A number of premises in each town will be audited and inspected to ensure sufficient fire safety arrangements are in place.

We intend to visit as many premises as possible, passing on fire safety either through information leaflets or face to face contact.

Where failings are found, we will work with the Responsible Person and Landlord to ensure their premises are brought up to the required standard. If a premise has shortcomings which are considered dangerous, then it is possible that enforcement action could be taken against the Responsible Person and/or Landlord.

Further information

GOV.UK has more information about fire safety in the workplace.

To find out more, you can call the Business Support Team on 01473 260588 and ask for the Duty Fire Safety Officer.