I am about to start running a small bed and breakfast operation above my pub. I have got planning permission sorted out, but someone mentioned to me that I need to contact the Fire Authority as well. Why is this necessary?
If you are providing sleeping accommodation, your premises come within the ambit of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and you will have to obtain a Fire Certificate for the premises.
In order to do this an application has to be made to the Fire Authority which must specify the use of the building, both where the sleeping accommodation will be and also other parts such as the pub itself and any staff accommodation. The Fire Authority may require plans of the premises as well.
The building will then be inspected to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Act. You may find that certain works are required, such as emergency lighting and signage on escape routes.
Once the certificate is issued, the Fire Authority may inspect at any time to ensure that the premises continue to comply with the Act. The certificate itself may also contain restrictions, such as the number of persons in the premises. If you do not comply with the fire certificate then you are committing a criminal offence. The fire certificate can be cancelled at any time, which would obviously effect the operation of your business.