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.

A Responsible Person must take all reasonable steps to ensure relevant people (Residents, Tenants, Employees, 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 even of a fire.
  • Your General Fire Precautions are maintained.

Impact Days

Working with 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.

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.

It is our intention 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 premises has shortcomings which are considered dangerous then it is possible that enforcement action could be taken against the Responsible Person and/or Landlord.

Links and more information

National Information

Local District Councils

Further information

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