Addressing accountability

Share this content


Kelly Donoghue, Head of Training at the Fire Protection Association, looks at resident engagement strategies for higher risk buildings

Resident Engagement Groups are a necessary part of the requirements of the Building Safety Act 2022, that details how the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) must create a resident engagement strategy to encourage all relevant persons to participate in the process of building safety decisions.

An Accountable Person (AP) is responsible for the building or part of a building of a residential unit, and will usually be an organisation or business but could also be an individual.

Whilst the AP or PAP will hold responsibility for developing the safety case and maintaining the safety arrangements, it is likely that day-to-day activities in terms of monitoring, implementation, and review of the engagement strategy will fall to an organisation or individual with the competencies to do so effectively.

In addition to other duties, the PAP must develop a ‘safety case report’ and a strategy that encourages the participation of residents in decisions related to fire safety risks in their building.

The consultation process must consider all representations from Resident Engagement Groups during the review process.

Any decision relating to the management of the building by the AP is referred to as a ‘Building Safety Decision’.

The resident engagement strategy must therefore include: information that will be provided to relevant persons about decisions relating to the management of the building; the aspects of those decisions that relevant persons will be consulted about; the arrangements for obtaining and taking account of the views of relevant persons; and how the appropriateness of methods for promoting participation will be measured and kept under review. (Building Safety Act 2022).

A copy of the strategy must be provided by the AP to every resident – “relevant person” – over the age of 16 who resides in the building, alongside each owner, or the person who controls the premises.

However, if the AP is not aware of all persons they would be responsible for but has taken all reasonable steps to identify those in scope of the requirements, then the duty does not apply.

Residents and owners of an occupied high rise residential building, over the age of 16, can make a request to the AP for prescribed information, or prescribed documents, and the AP must provide this information as soon as “reasonably practicable”.

PAS 8673:2022 Built environment – competence requirements for the management of safety in residential buildings, echoes the importance of stakeholder engagement within the competency framework for APs and those managing safety in residential buildings.

Section 6.2 describes the competencies required of the person managing safety in relation to leadership and teamwork. It highlights they will require the ability to “evaluate the needs of occupants, including the requirements of those with mobility, cognitive, or sensory impairment”. They have to be able to effectively engage with key stakeholders to maintain positive relationships, developing and implementing an effective and inclusive engagement strategy.

Section 6.4 highlights the competency requirements in relation to operational practices requiring the stakeholder to: “communicate with, and support, occupants and other key stakeholders through practical measures relating to building safety, including reviews, analysis of findings, reporting, and feedback, taking into account primary language considerations and the requirements of those with mobility, cognitive, or sensory impairment”.

Working with industry professionals, The Fire Protection Association is pleased to offer the newly developed ‘Managing Fire Risk in Residential Properties’ course to assist the understanding of these requirements. To find out more about this course, visit:

About the Fire Protection Association

The Fire Protection Association (FPA) is the UK’s national fire safety organisation. As fire safety experts, we have an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise in all aspects of fire protection including research, consultancy, training, publications, risk surveying and auditing.

All our services are central to the reputation we’ve built amongst our membership and advocates who trust our expertise.

This exclusive article was originally published in the August 2023 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox