Fire safety in new and existing school buildings

Published 11 March 2014

1. New buildings

Building work at all schools must comply with the building regulations enforced by local building-control bodies. Building Bulletin 100: design for fire safety in schools is the normal means of compliance with building regulations for fire safety design in new school buildings.

1.1 Who do the regulations apply to?

The regulations apply to nursery schools, primary and secondary schools, academies, free schools, special schools and pupil referral units.

2. Existing buildings

Schools are required to undertake risk assessments to identify the general fire precautions needed to safeguard the safety of occupants in case of fire, including their safe means of escape.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) fire legislation has become simplified. The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced a guide for schools - fire safety risk assessment: educational premises. The guide deals with the provision and management of fire safety.

You will need to:

  • ensure procedures are in place to reduce the likelihood of fire
  • maintain fire detection and alarm systems
  • ensure staff and pupils are familiar with emergency evacuation procedures

It is important that:

  • fire risk assessments are kept up to date
  • fire precautions remain current and adequate (they should be reviewed in detail when significant alterations are made to a school’s premises)