If you have business premises, taking measures to avoid potential fire hazards is mandatory. These measures must be taken in accordance with the 2012 Dutch Building Decree (Bouwbesluit).
In some cases, you will need an all-in-one permit for physical aspects (omgevingsvergunning). You may also have to submit a notification of fire-safe occupancy to your local municipality.
Statutory rules and regulations
You should take measures to improve fire safety. The Building Decree includes regulations around:
- preventing fire by banning smoking and open fires and drawing up clear rules for the storage of flammable substances
- noticing fire by installing smoke detectors
- limiting the spread of fire and smoke by using non-flammable or fire-retardant materials
- escaping fire by drawing up an evacuation plan and escape routes
- extinguishing fire by installing fire extinguishers or hoses and automatic fire sprinklers
- increasing accessibility for emergency services by constructing fire brigade lifts and entrances
You can use the calculation toolVeilig Vluchten (Safe escape, in Dutch) to find out your building's capacity to shelter and manage flows of people. This is important to know in case of fire.
What fire safety measures should you take?
The rules that apply to you depend on your situation. For example:
- which flammable materials you work with
- which function your building has (for example healthcare institution, office or hotel)
- how many people enter your building on average and whether your building is open to the public
You can look up which rules apply to you based on the function of your building in section 6.5 to 6.8 of chapter 6 of the Building Decree 2012 (Bouwbesluit 2012, see draft text: en).
When do you need an All-in-one permit for physical aspects?
All buildings need to comply with the regulations as stated in the Building Decree 2012. In some cases, you need an all-in-one permit for physical aspects. This applies to high-risk premises, where many people get together. For example, if your building is used in one of the following ways:
- as overnight accommodation for more than 10 people (such as hospitals, childcare centres, primary schools or hotels);
- for daytime accommodation for more than 10 people under the age of 12; or
- for people who are physically or mentally disabled.
You can apply for an all-in-one permit for physical aspects from your municipality (in Dutch) or via the online service counter all-in-one permit for physical aspects. Please note: You also need an all-in-one permit for physical aspects for non-construction structures, such as a floating disco or a floating hotel. The municipal fire safety rules apply to these premises.
Notification of occupancy
Certain buildings require a notification of occupancy. This applies in the following cases:
- Public buildings in which more than 50 people may be present at once, such as secondary schools, offices, restaurants, sports facilities, shopping centres and supermarkets.
- Housing in which 5 or more rooms are rented separately (such as communes or student complexes).
- If fire safety measures are taken which are not included in chapter 6 and 7 of the Building Decree 2012 (Bouwbesluit 2012, see draft text: en).
If you have to submit a notification of occupancy, you can do so at the time you apply for the all-in-one permit for physical aspects for other activities.
Online application procedure via Message Box
If you provide the notification of occupancy via the online service counter all-in-one permit for physical aspects (Omgevingsloket online), you may complete your application digitally via Message Box. Message Box is a secure email system which allows you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government organisations.
Where to find information and advice?
- You will find regulations about fire safety in documents such as the Building Decree 2012 (Bouwbesluit 2012, see draft text: en).
- If you are looking for a summary of rules and laws that apply to fire safety, please check the Fire Safety Knowledge Centre's website (Netherlands Institute for Safety, NIFV, in Dutch) or read their English-language fire prevention publications. Intended as a reference book and a practical manual, The Basis for Fire Safety is a useful publication by the NIFV.
- In the Fire Safety Systems Inspection Schedules (Inspectieschema Brandbeveiligingssystemen, in Dutch) from the Centre for Crime Prevention and Safety (CCV), you will find the rules your fire safety system has to meet.
- In some municipalities, the local fire brigade (brandweer) may provide free advice about how to make your premises safe from fire.
Specific fire safety information
- The European Recommendation 86/666 EEC on fire safety in hotels defines minimum safety standards in hotels and serves as a basis for common safety rules throughout the EU.
- The Holland Marine Industry (HISWA) publishes tips on fire prevention. Read the HISWA's instructions on checking gas installations on board (in Dutch).
- The Building Decree 2012 and the Occupancy Decree (Gebruiksbesluit) contain specific building requirements for childcare centres in existing and new buildings for day nurseries, playgroups and establishments that offer after-school or 24-hour childcare. They are described in the (Dutch-language) Information sheet Childcare (in Dutch) of the Dutch government.
- The Netherlands Institute for Safety (NIFV) has published a (Dutch-language) file on fire safety regarding cultural heritage on its website.
- The Netherlands Institute for Safety (NIFV) has published a (Dutch-language) file on wildfires on its website.