January 23, 2023

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New fire safety regulation ratified

The Fire Safety (England) Regulation comes into force today (23 January) with extra onus on the ‘Responsible Person’ of multi-occupied high-rise buildings. 

The legislation sets out requirements for the Responsible Person to provide residents with safety instructions and information on the importance of fire doors. They are also required to provide information to Fire and Rescue Services to assist them to plan and deliver an effective operational response.

Potential changes to Approved Document B look set to take place following the Government’s recent consultation to encourage a second staircase in all new housing block over 30 metres, and sprinklers in all new care homes regardless of building height.

The regulatory landscape around building and fire safety has changed significantly since the Hackitt Review introduced a swathe of legislation following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Andy Lowe at Bureau Veritas says the new legislation will impact an array of stakeholders in the built environment, warning that processes musy be watertight. “All of this [new regulation] has a significant impact on duty holders of multi-occupied high-rise buildings, from the architects who draw up the plans and the developers who build, to the landlords or building owners responsible for maintaining a safe and compliant environment.

“A key outcome of the Building Safety Act for architects and developers stresses the need to get things right first time. The impending Gateway Two will signify a stop/go point, where anything not done correctly in the planning and design process will cause delays and more time and resource from the developer to revise plans and re-submit them.”

Elsewhere, Steve Hamm COO at the Institution of Fire Engineers, hopes the new requirements of the Responsible Person could reassure concerned residents post-Grenfell. “The IFE recognises the impact the new Fire Safety Act will have on the profession,” Homm said in a statement, “however, through the roles and responsibilities of Responsible Persons being clearly identified, steps toward rebuilding trust in the fire safety of residential buildings are imminent.

This level of accountability is vitally important and communities need to be confident that everything possible is being done to keep the buildings they live in as safe as possible, providing complete transparency when issues arise. As the international professional body for fire, we are committed to supporting clear competency frameworks for fire engineers whilst maintaining the high levels of ethics and standards that drive advances in fire safety.”

Fire Safety in 2023 eBook

SHP's sister site, IFSEC Insider has released its annual Fire Safety Report for 2023, keeping you up to date with the biggest news and prosecution stories from around the industry.

Chapters include important updates such as the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and an overview of the new British Standard for the digital management of fire safety information.

Plus, explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.

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