This guidance note is to help you understand the fire safety requirements when applying for a Premises Licences under the Licensing Act 2003.
It explains how to complete the Operating Schedule with regard to public safety and how to produce the plan ready for consultation with the Fire Authority. It will also be of use where you have applied for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN).
The information contained within this note is for guidance only. It is not a full and authoritative statement of the law and does not constitute legal advice.
Operating Schedule – Public Safety
In the Operating Schedule relating to public safety, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service expect to see a statement of commitment to provide and maintain adequate fire safety measures, according to the:
- risk of the premises
- activity taking place.
Provision of Plans
Where your application is for a Premises License or Club Premises Certificate you must also send a plan of the premises to which the application relates. The plan(s) must be drawn to the scale of 1 :100 for all internal areas and 1:500 for external areas, unless the licensing authority has previously confirmed that an alternative scale plan is acceptable. It must show the location of:
- the building boundary, if relevant, and any external and internal walls which comprise the premises
- any exits from the premises
- any escape routes from the premises, and door opening direction
- where all licensable activity is to take place
- where the supply or sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises is to take place
- where the consumption of alcohol is to take place
- fixed structures which are impediments to movement
- any stage or raised area, including height
- fire safety measures and type (such as fire alarm and detection, escape lighting, fire doors, signs, fire fighting equipment)
- any kitchens on the premises
These details are important to clarify which premises or parts of premises are licensed if the application is granted. It also enables responsible authorities and interested parties to better consider the adequacy of any operating schedule.
With some exceptions (for example, off-licences) a licensed premises (or event) must have an acceptable occupancy capacity established to achieve the licensing objective of “public safety”.
For premises with no previously determined occupancy capacity, we expect you to consider and address this within your operating schedule, based on the following criteria:
- Number of exits
- Overall floor area
- Means of escape
- Activity taking place
- Type of structure/building
If you make the maximum use of the premises, you should have sufficient number and width of available exits to permit safe evacuation of the proposed capacity.
You must also consider the needs of disabled persons.
For more detailed advice on occupancy capacities, refer to the appropriate fire safety guide here.
Where the premises is likely to reach maximum occupancy (such as on known busy evenings) and particularly where a special event or promotion is planned, you should detail the additional arrangements you will put in place to ensure that the maximum occupancy is not exceeded.
The requirement to provide monitoring arrangements is determined by risk assessment.
Fire Safety Checks
You do not have to include the following information with your application. It is provided to assist you with fire safety matters in your premises.
You should carry out a risk assessment to determine the adequacy of existing fire safety measures in your premises.
Where you have applied for a Temporary Event Notice and there is an existing fire risk assessment for the venue, you must ensure that you co-operate with any specific requirements contained in it and address any new hazards you introduce.
The following checks (although not exhaustive) help you address and manage the fire safety measures in your premises. The responsible person carrying out the checks should consider the following:
- Has a fire risk assessment been carried out?
- Has the maximum occupancy of the premises been determined?
- Are all escape routes properly maintained and free from obstructions?
- Are all stairways, corridors and lobbies kept free from combustible storage and furniture?
- Are all stairways, ramps and steps comprising part of the means of escape maintained in a safe condition with even and non-slippery surfaces, with all floor coverings secured in position?
- Are all self closing doors (other than those held open automatically) maintained self closing at all times and not provided with any means of keeping them in the open position?
- Are there any fire doors held open with automatic devices?
- Do they close automatically upon operation of the fire alarm?
- Are all exit doors, through which a person may have to pass, unlocked and free to open for persons leaving the premises?
- Are arrangements in place so that persons with mobility difficulties are able to leave the premises safely in the event of fire?
- Are all surface finishing’s on walls, partitions and ceilings of such a standard to minimise fire spread?
- Is all firefighting equipment readily available for use?
- Is all firefighting equipment tested and maintained in efficient working order?
- Is the means for giving warning in case of fire adequate?
- If there is a fire alarm system, is it being tested and maintained in efficient working order?
- Is the escape lighting readily available for use?
- Is the escape lighting tested and maintained in efficient working order?
- Are all persons employed in the premises given instruction and training in the action to be taken in case of fire?
- Are there records of all tests, training and fire drills?
- Are all notices, signs and fire exit signs legible and unobstructed?
- Is the electrical installation in a good state of repair?
- If you will use special effects such as lasers, pyrotechnics, smoke machines, foam machines what additional fire safety measures are provided?
- For premises with moveable seating (such as village halls), are adequate gangway widths and seatway widths provided?