What changes are proposed in fire safety laws consultation?
The Government has just closed its consultation on proposals to amend the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to strengthen the regulation of fire safety particularly in high-rise buildings.
The consultation is a direct response to the 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire in London which caused 72 deaths.
Government says it is determined to continue to learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire and “reform building and fire safety to ensure that such a tragedy can never happen again”.
As well as strengthening the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and improving compliance, the consultation also contains proposals to implement the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 Report recommendations. The recommendations require a change in law to place new requirements on building owners or managers of multi-occupied residential buildings, mostly high-rise buildings.
It will also strengthen the regulatory framework for how building control bodies consult with Fire and Rescue Authorities and the handover of fire safety information
Some of the specific proposed changes include:
- Setting competency requirements for fire risk assessors
- Giving the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) position greater prominence when considering refurbishment and new build construction work
- Allowing the FRS to charge those found to be in breach of the regulations for its enforcement services, similar to the way in which the HSE runs its Fees For Intervention scheme
There is broad support for tightening up fire safety legislation. The fire safety consultation was published alongside the draft Building Safety Bill, another key part of government’s package of reform to improve building and fire safety in all regulated premises where people live, stay or work.
Any changes will, undoubtedly, lead to a raising of the bar regarding standards. We will be monitoring developments closely and will keep you informed of when the changes are implemented.