Fire protection system supplier Quelfire has commented on the new Building Safety Act and what it will mean for the fire industry.
After being introduced to parliament in July 2020, the Building Safety Bill was published a year later in July 2021 and was summarised by then-Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick as a “key step in an extensive overhaul to building safety legislation.”
On the 28th of April 2022, the Bill received Royal Assent meaning that now it has passed all the parliamentary stages in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, it will take a more prominent stance in the built industry as The Building Safety Act.
The Act will apply to buildings that are at least 18 metres tall or have seven storeys, with at least two residential units. It will also cover hospitals and care homes if they meet the specification.
Quelfire explained that the government are working to ensure that the Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO), which places duty on individuals in an organisation – the Responsible Person – to identify, control and reduce the risk of fire, and the new building safety regime work effectively together.
“The Fire Safety Clause in the BSA amends the FSO to further strengthen fire safety measures for non-domestic premises, which include common parts of high-rise residential buildings subject to the BSA,” said Quelfire. “The FSO and BSA will overlap in some respects, but through the cross-work of the government, by aligning these essential regimes it will ultimately work to further protect residents “in high-rise residential buildings.
In a typical safety case report, the Accountable Person will ensure that they have a preventative approach for managing building safety risks. An aspect of this report will cover major fire and structural hazards for example, compartmentation. This includes key areas of passive fire protection: linear gaps and cavity fire stops, service penetrations and fire doors. HSE is urging anyone involved in the design or construction of a building to act now, at the earliest stage, and become proactive in the process of ‘building a safer future.’
“The work the fire industry does now can help comply with this by raising more awareness of what early engagement in firestopping is; conducting CPDS to educate the industry; providing more tested details and technical support and offering on-site support.
“Despite the Building Safety Act being law, many of the requirements will not come into force until 12-18 months after the Royal Assent as the industry prepares for the new regime. The government’s transition plan can be found here.
“The risk of fire has decreased considerably over the years. However, the tragedy of Grenfell has shown that there is too much scope for “poor practice, poor culture, poor accountability and poor management.” The Building Safety Act brings an air of hope to survivors and their family members but ultimately, pays respect to the 72 victims. Without the Act, there would be no push for government reform and the risk of Grenfell happening again would be inevitable.”