Fire Industry Association offers guidance amid fire safety regulation changes

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Sweeping changes to fire safety regulations in the UK

Effective from October 1, 2023, the UK government will enforce new fire safety regulations.

The Fire Industry Association (FIA) has provided guidance to local governments and housing providers on these changes.

Will Lloyd, the technical manager at FIA, has expounded on these regulations. He highlights that changes have been influenced by significant events such as the Grenfell Tower disaster and the ensuing investigations.

The Building Safety Act 2022, notably Section 156, marks the third phase of the Home Office’s plan to improve fire safety in higher-risk buildings.

A deeper look into the amendments to fire safety regulations

These new measures further amend the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The aim is to ensure that all premises under this order achieve an improved level of fire safety.

It is particularly intended to safeguard residents in buildings containing two or more sets of domestic premises by making essential fire safety information readily available to them.

While Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 specifically highlights residential buildings with multiple domestic premises, these changes will apply to all buildings within the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The impact of the new fire safety regulations

The latest regulations introduce several key changes for responsible persons (RPs), including the need to:

  1. Fully record their Fire Risk Assessment (FRA),
  2. Ensure the competence of those assigned to make or review a fire risk assessment,
  3. Document the identity of any person assisting them,
  4. Record their fire safety arrangements,
  5. Attempt to identify any other RPs for the same premises,
  6. Share relevant information about the premises and contact details with other RPs.

The majority of these new requirements will come into effect from October 1, 2023.

However, the stipulation concerning the competency of individuals carrying out risk assessments will be enforced at a future date.

The FIA’s advice on handling the new fire safety regulations

The FIA suggests employing UKAS-approved, third-party certified companies to conduct any fire safety work, including those under the BAFE SP205 Scheme or the FRACS Scheme by Warrington fire.

The amendment to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 now requires RPs to fully record their fire risk assessments.

This change affects all organisations, regardless of size, necessitating full documentation of fire risk assessment findings.

Mandatory sharing of comprehensive fire safety information

Another crucial amendment requires the responsible person to supply residents in buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises with comprehensive and relevant information regarding the fire safety matters of the building.

Understanding the risks identified within the fire risk assessment is key. Residents need to be informed about the actual risk levels, potential consequences, mitigation measures, and timelines for remedial actions required.

Emphasising a cooperative approach in fire safety management

Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 calls for RPs to identify and share information with other responsible persons in the premises. This facilitates a united approach to fire safety throughout the entire building.

Whenever control of the building changes hands, the outgoing RP must pass on the fire safety information to the new RP. This ensures a continuous record of fire safety information, commonly known as the “Golden Thread”.

You can read the FIA’s full guidance on the new fire safety regulations here.

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