Regulatory Changes For Fire Safety Responsibilities
New guidance has been issued by the UK Home Office in respect to fire protection and rescue responsibilities. This guidance explains what responsible persons need to do as a result of changes made to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (‘the Fire Safety Order’) through the Building Safety Act 2022.
Which buildings are subject to these new fire safety requirements?
These fire safety requirements are applicable to all non-domestic premises, encompassing places where people work, visit, or stay. This includes workplaces and the non-domestic sections of multi-occupied residential buildings, such as communal corridors, stairways, and plant rooms. It’s important to note that these requirements do not extend to individual domestic premises.
The enforcement of the Fire Safety Order, along with these additional requirements, primarily falls under the responsibility of local fire and rescue authorities. In the case of non-domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings (e.g., communal corridors, stairways), enforcement is also listed under the Housing Act 2004 and is conducted by the Local Authority.
For specific scenarios, the enforcing body varies. The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for non-occupied buildings on construction sites, while the Defence Fire Safety Regulator handles sites occupied for armed forces’ purposes. Buildings occupied or owned by the government are overseen by the Crown Premises Fire Safety Inspectorate.
Background to Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022
The Building Safety Bill received Royal Assent in April 2022 and became the Building Safety Act 2022. The new legislation has the effect of amending the Fire Safety Order to:
- require that all Responsible Persons must record their completed fire risk assessment, and in full (where previously only specific information was required to be recorded)
- require that all Responsible Persons must record the identity of the individual (their name), and/or if applicable, their organisation (name) engaged by them to undertake/review any or all of the fire risk assessment
- require that all Responsible Persons must record their fire safety arrangements (demonstrate how fire safety is managed in your premises)
- require that all Responsible Persons must record (and as necessary update) their contact information, including a UK based address, and share this with other Responsible Persons and residents of multi-occupied residential premises where applicable
- require that all Responsible Persons must take reasonably practicable steps to ascertain the existence of other Responsible Persons who share or have duties in respect of the same premises, and of Accountable Persons (which are a new legal entity made under the Building Safety Act in the case of higher-risk residential buildings) in relation to the premises – they must then identify themselves to said persons
- require that departing Responsible Persons must share all ‘relevant fire safety information’ with incoming Responsible Persons
- require Responsible Persons of a building containing two or more sets of domestic premises to provide residents with relevant fire safety information in a format that is easily understood by the residents
- increase the level of fines for some offences
- strengthen the status of statutory guidance issued under Article 50 of the Fire Safety Order
More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/check-your-fire-safety-responsibilities-under-section-156-of-the-building-safety-act-2022/fire-safety-responsibilities-under-section-156-of-the-building-safety-act-2022. You can also contact SS Systems using the enquiry form below for expert advice.
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