Building and fire safety update: consultations on PEEPS and schools, BSI competence standard for BSMs, guidance on blocks of flats


  • Building safety

16 June 2021


In a week that marked the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell tragedy, work continues both within Government and industry on a number of fronts, all aimed at creating a safer future for buildings and those who live, stay or work in them.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPS)
Following last year’s consultation on fire safety, the Home Office has launched a new public consultation on proposals for PEEPs in high-rise residential buildings based on recommendations made by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1.

These new proposals will require law changes to place new requirements on owners or managers of multi-occupied high-rise residential buildings. The key proposals are:

  • to require the Responsible Person to prepare a PEEP for every resident in a high-rise residential building who self-identifies to them as unable to self-evacuate (subject to the resident’s voluntary self-identification) and to do so in consultation with them
  • to require the Responsible Person to complete and keep up to date information about residents in their building who would have difficulty self-evacuating in the event of a fire (and who have voluntarily self-identified as such), and to place it in an information box on the premises to assist effective evacuation during a rescue by the Fire and Rescue Service.

The Home Office is also inviting comments on proposed templates to assist the Responsible Person and residents in completing the PEEP.

Our expert Life Safety Working Group will engage with the consultation with the view of submitting our response to the consultation (closing date is 19 July 2021), but we would of course welcome any member views on this consultation.

Fire safety in schools
The Department for Education is seeking views on a revised version of the Building Bulletin 100 design guide for fire safety in schools. This non-statutory guidance includes advice on building design to ensure that pupils and staff can evacuate quickly and safely, minimising the spread of fire, ensuring the building structure is adequately fire resistant.

Proposals include recommendations that fire sprinklers will only be mandatory in schools that are over 11 metres high, in special education needs schools and in boarding schools; and that the standard for external wall cladding should be raised to reduce the risk of fire spread over the walls.

The closing date for responses is 17 August 2021.  The Life Safety Working Group will review the guidance and consider a response.

Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats
The Home Office has re-published guidance on ensuring adequate fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats. Produced in 2011 and previously held on the Local Government Association website, the 193-page document was designed to help landlords, managing agents, enforcing officers and those undertaking fire risk assessments to understand the legislative requirements relating to purpose-built blocks of flats of any age.

BSI competence standard for Building Safety Managers 
Preparations for the long expected Publicly Available Specification (PAS) for the competence framework of individual and nominated Building Safety Managers, the new statutory role to be introduced under the forthcoming Building Safety Bill, are well under way.  A first meeting of the Steering Group is taking place on Thursday 17th June to review a first draft, before a public consultation is due to take place in a months’ time.

PAS 8673 will be based on the competence recommendations (skills, knowledge,

experience and behaviours) and assessment put forward in Working Group 8’s final report to the Industry Response Group, Safer people, safer homes: building safety management,

in which IWFM played a leading role by providing the secretariat resource.

The PAS will cover areas such as safety management, risk management, regulations and processes, building systems, ethics and fire/life safety. 

Sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and facilitated by BSI Standards Limited, the PAS is due to be published under licence from the BSI by the end of the year, although delays in the publication of the Building Safety Bill (now due either before recess in late July or just upon Parliaments return in September) may mean this publication date will be pushed back