For businesses operating within the United Kingdom, adhering to fire safety laws is not only a legal requirement but a crucial aspect of ensuring the safety and well-being of employees, clients, and property. Among these requirements, the testing and maintenance of dry risers form a significant part, especially for buildings over 18 meters in height. This blog post aims to elucidate the UK laws relating to dry riser testing for businesses, ensuring you understand your obligations and how to comply effectively.

What are Dry Risers?

Dry risers are a critical component of fire safety systems in multi-storey buildings. They consist of a network of pipes running through the building, enabling the fire services to efficiently deliver a large quantity of water to upper floors during a fire. Unlike wet risers, which are constantly filled with water, dry risers are empty until needed in an emergency.

Legal Framework and Standards

In the UK, the maintenance and testing of dry risers are governed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales, the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and associated regulations in Scotland, and similar legislation in Northern Ireland. These laws require building owners or the ‘responsible person’ to ensure that premises meet necessary fire safety standards, which include maintaining all firefighting equipment, such as dry risers.

The specific standards for dry risers are detailed in British Standard BS 9990:2015. This standard outlines the requirements for the testing, inspection, and maintenance of dry and wet risers, fire mains, and hydrants.

Responsibilities of the ‘Responsible Person’

The designated ‘responsible person’ – typically the building owner, employer, or occupier – is tasked with ensuring that the dry risers are in good working condition. This involves:

  1. Annual Pressure Tests: Dry risers must undergo a full annual pressure test and visual inspection to ensure they are ready for use by the fire services. The test involves checking all components, such as valves, landing valves, drain valves, and inlet connections, and subjecting the system to a specified pressure to ensure there are no leaks.
  2. Six-Monthly Visual Inspections: In addition to the annual test, a visual inspection of the system should be conducted every six months to check for any visible signs of damage, vandalism, or obstruction.

Professional Testing and Maintenance

It is highly recommended to engage a qualified and competent service provider to conduct the dry riser tests and maintenance. These professionals have the expertise and equipment necessary to perform the tests according to the British Standards and can provide certification of compliance.

Enforcement and Penalties

Failure to comply with dry riser testing regulations can result in significant consequences. Local Fire and Rescue Services are responsible for enforcing these regulations and can issue enforcement notices requiring compliance within a given timeframe. Non-compliance can lead to fines, prosecution, and, in the event of a fire, potentially severe repercussions if the dry riser system fails to operate correctly.


Ensuring the functionality and reliability of dry risers is a critical aspect of a building’s fire safety strategy. By adhering to the UK’s laws and regulations regarding dry riser testing, businesses can not only comply with legal requirements but also protect lives and property. Regular testing, maintenance, and inspections should be viewed as an integral part of your building’s safety protocols. Remember, the cost of compliance is always less than the cost of negligence.