March 23, 2020

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Fire Safety Bill

Fire Safety Bill introduced by the Home Office

The Home Office has introduced a new Fire Safety Bill, in an effort to improve fire safety in buildings in England and Wales. IFSEC Global Editor James Moore reports.

Set to amend the Fire Safety Order 2005, the bill has been designed to “ensure that people feel safe in their homes, and a tragedy like the Grenfell Tower fire never happens again”.

The Home Office has set out clarification to who is accountable for reducing the risk of fires – the duty-holder/building owner for multi-occupied, residential buildings. They must manage the risk of fire for:

  • The structure and external walls of the building (e.g. cladding, balconies and windows);
  • Entrance doors to individual flats that open into communal areas.

The Fire Safety Bill is also designed to provide a foundation for secondary legislation, based upon the recommendations made from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Extra measures may include responsibility for lift inspections, the reviewing of evacuation plans and fire safety instructions to residents.

Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council Roy Wilsher, who is set to chair the first day of this year’s Tall Buildings Fire Safety Conference at FIREX in September, said: “I am pleased to see the announcement of the new Fire Safety Bill. We have been calling for additional powers since 2017 and these changes should contribute to the public feeling safer in their homes.

“We look forward to seeing additional supportive measures to assist fire and rescue services, identify different types of cladding and take appropriate measures.”

Alongside the bill, the Government highlighted a number of other measures it is taking to improve building and fire safety:

  • Announcement of a new Building Safety Regulator;
  • Providing clearer accountability and stronger duties on those responsible for high-rise buildings;
  • A £1billion Building Safety Fund to tackle unsafe cladding;
  • Relaunch of the Fire Kills Campaign.

The article was originally published on IFSEC Global.

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