New Fire Safety Guidelines Released

Posted: 06.07.2023

The release of vital government guidance on fire safety requirements, made public on July 3, 2023.

What you need to know:

This comprehensive guidance addresses various aspects, including the scope of application for new fire safety requirements, the responsibilities of Responsible Persons (RPs) for different types of buildings, and important amendments to fire safety legislation. Its primary objective is to equip RPs with essential information to prepare for upcoming changes that will be enforced later this year.

A key highlight of the guidance is the emphasis on RPs maintaining a comprehensive record of a full and completed fire risk assessment. This record should encompass the fire safety arrangements within their premises. For buildings containing multiple sets of domestic premises, RPs must also provide residents with relevant fire safety information in a clear and easily understandable format.

Under the new requirement, RPs are encouraged to share as much information as possible about fire safety on their premises. This replaces the previous requirement of documenting only significant findings from the risk assessment. Additionally, limitations such as recording the risk assessment and fire safety arrangements only when there were five or more employees or specific licensing or alterations notices have been removed.

The guidance specifies that these requirements are applicable to all non-domestic premises, including 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.

According to the Home Office, RPs are required to appoint a competent person to conduct or review the fire risk assessment. However, the implementation of this legislative requirement will be enacted at a later date.

In the interim, if an RP chooses to appoint a fire risk assessor, it is strongly recommended to ensure their competence in terms of training, experience, knowledge, and other relevant qualities. The Responsible Person continues to bear the responsibility of ensuring the completion of a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.

In summary, the key responsibilities for RPs outlined in the guidance are as follows:

  • Recording the fire risk assessment and other pertinent information
  • Promoting cooperation and coordination among RPs
  • Collaborating with accountable persons
  • Providing necessary information to new RPs
  • Mandating RPs of buildings containing multiple sets of domestic premises to furnish residents with essential fire safety information

Background to Section 156 of the Building safety Act 2022:

The building Safety Bill received Royal Assent in April 2022, officially becoming the Building Safety Act 2022. This new legislation has resulted in amendments to the Fire Safety Order. Noteworthy changes include:

  • Requiring Responsible Persons to record their completed fire risk assessment in its entirety, rather than specific information only
  • Mandating the recording of the identity of individuals or organisations engaged in undertaking or reviewing the fire risk assessment
  • Obligating Responsible Persons to document their fire safety arrangements and demonstrate how fire safety is managed within their premises
  • Requiring Responsible Persons to record and update their contact information, including a UK-based address, and share this with other Responsible Persons and relevant residents of multi-occupied residential premises
  • Imposing the duty on Responsible Persons to take reasonable steps to identify other Responsible Persons and Accountable Persons with duties concerning the same premises and subsequently establish contact
  • Requiring departing Responsible Persons to share all “relevant fire safety information” with incoming Responsible Persons
  • Making it mandatory for Responsible Persons of building containing multiple sets of domestic premises to provide residents with easily understandable fire safety information
  • Increasing fines for certain offenses
  • Strengthening the status of statutory guidance issues under Article 50 of the Fire Safety Order

Visit the Gov website more information on the new Fire Safety Guideline – view here.

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