Building safety: Government introduces new Fire Safety Bill for England and Wales

News

  • General news

18 March 2020

The Home Office is bringing forward legislation to amend the Fire Safety Order 2005, clarifying that the responsible person or duty holder for multi-occupied, residential buildings must manage and reduce the risk of fire for:

  • the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows
  • entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts.

Under the plans, building owners will face enforcement action from emergency services if they do not manage fire safety in their buildings. Other proposals include giving Government the powers to amend the list of qualifying premises that fall within the scope of the Fire Safety Order.

The Bill follows last year’s public consultation on the application of the Fire Safety Order. IWFM contributed to the process, advocating a ‘whole building’ approach to building safety.

It is one of a number of measures Government is taking to improve building and fire safety. Additional legislation is expected to implement recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report that building owners and managers of high-rise and multi-occupied residential buildings should be responsible for areas including:

  • regular inspections of lifts and the reporting of results to the local fire and rescue services
  • ensuring evacuation plans are reviewed and regularly updated and personal evacuation plans are in place for residents whose ability to evacuate may be compromised
  • ensuring fire safety instructions are provided to residents in a form that they can reasonably be expected to understand
  • ensuring individual flat entrance doors, where the external walls of the building have unsafe cladding, comply with current standards.

Another consultation on further proposed amendments to the Fire Safety Order will be held later this year.

If you would like to contribute your views and expertise to IWFM’s ongoing work in this area, please email: policy@iwfm.org.uk