Fire Safety Bill what will this mean:
The new Bill to be introduced will improve fire safety in buildings in England and Wales following on from the Grenfell Tower fire.
The Bill will supplement the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) and will provide greater clarity on the additional areas which fall to the responsible person or duty-holder for multi-occupied residential buildings.
Currently under the RRO, fire and rescue services have enforcement powers over the parts in blocks of flats which are used in common by more than one flat, such as entrance halls, lobbies and landings. It does not extend beyond the front doors of flats or maisonettes into people’s homes or the exterior of buildings.
The Bill published sets out that the responsible person or duty-holder must manage and reduce the risk of fire for the structure and external walls of the building (including cladding, balconies and windows) and entrance doors to individual flats which open into common parts.
Clarification will empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action
The clarification that the new Bill will bring will empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account if they are not compliant with their responsibilities for the outside of buildings, as well as the inside.
The buildings that are targeted under this new legislation are termed “In Scope buildings”. These buildings are buildings that are deemed high risk. Such as: –
Residential buildings over 11 meters in height.
What Are the Main Changes?
External Cladding on buildings to include EWS1 form
Windows & Balconies
Fire Doors on residential flats / apartments
Fire Risk Assessors – must be accredited and on a public register
Have written fire safety instructions for residents
Buildings over 11 meters to have sprinkler systems
Buildings over 11 meters to have trained building safety managers
The impact assessment’s estimates for the buildings likely to be covered by the legislation are very imprecise. It states that the volume of flats in England is between 1,189,200 and 2,198,600. It estimates the number of private landlords at between 875,000 and 1.4 million, once double-counting has been considered. Social landlords are estimated at between 3,300 and 16,300.
With the Hackett review having a major influence on how the fire safety will be impacted over the coming years, multiple areas are in for discussion and change this will take some considerable time in our view.
Legal Responsibilities (Responsible Person):
One area that is usually up for discussion or debate is to understand who the responsible person is on the fire risk assessment, the company name registered with companies house is usually the name recorded on the fire risk assessment, also on the Fire risk assessment should be recorded the responsible person for the building under section 3 of the RRO this is usually the owner, managing director, director or head of health and safety in some instances.
Contracts that are set up for people managing buildings should look at this in the contract to make sure that this is clearly defined for the purpose of fire risk assessments.