Recent Changes to Fire Safety Requirements
In July this year the UK government published some amendments to the Fire Safety Order. Here, we aim to provide you with a brief overview of what changes have been made.
First of all, the fire safety requirements apply to all non-domestic premises, including non-domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings and state that:
· all Responsible Persons must record their completed fire risk assessment, and in full (where previously only specific information was required to be recorded)
· all Responsible Persons must record the identity of the individual, and/or if applicable, their organisation, engaged by them to undertake/review any or all of the fire risk assessment
· all Responsible Persons must record their fire safety arrangements,
· all Responsible Persons must record (and keep updated) their contact information, including a UK based address, and share this with other Responsible Persons and residents of multi-occupied residential premises where applicable
· all Responsible Persons must take reasonable steps to ascertain the existence of other Responsible Persons who share or have duties in respect of the same premises, and of Accountable Persons in relation to the premises and identify themselves accordingly
· departing Responsible Persons must share all ‘relevant fire safety information’ with incoming Responsible Persons
· Responsible Persons of a building containing two or more sets of domestic premises provide residents with relevant fire safety information in a format that is easily understood by the residents
· the level of fines for some offences has been increased
· the status of statutory guidance issued under Article 50 of the Fire Safety Order has been strengthened
There is also a legislative requirement that, where the Responsible Person appoints a person to make or review the fire risk assessment, they must be competent.
Secondly, there have been several changes to the duties for all Responsible Persons. As a Responsible Person in your building you must now:
· record the fire risk assessment in full and the fire safety arrangements for your premises in all circumstances.
· work with other Responsible Persons in the premises to help facilitate a cohesive approach to fire safety throughout the entire building. This means that you must take reasonable steps to identify whether there are any other Responsible Persons in your premises.
· take reasonable steps to identify the Accountable Persons within the premises, if you are a Responsible Person in a higher risk residential building, to ensure a whole building approach to building and fire safety is taken within the premises.
Existing Responsible Persons are also required to share any relevant fire safety information with incoming Responsible Persons to provide a continual record of fire safety information throughout a building’s lifetime, including:
· the fire risk assessment and review records (including any fire safety information provided by other Responsible Persons)
· the identity of any person who assisted with the fire risk assessment or review
· the name and UK address of any Responsible Person or any person acting on behalf of the Responsible Person who will accept notices or other documentation
· the identity of the Accountable Person, where known (if a higher risk residential building)
· any information given under regulation 38 of the Building Regulations 2010 (such as the information provided when a building is built or extended)
Duties of Responsible Persons for buildings which contain two or more sets of domestic premises must provide residents with the following information:
· any risks to residents identified in the fire risk assessment
· the fire safety measures provided for the safety of any or all occupants (such as the means of escape, the measures to restrict the spread of fire and what people should do in the event of a fire)
· the name and UK address of the Responsible Person
· the identity of any person appointed to assist with making or reviewing the fire risk assessment
· the identity of any competent person nominated by the Responsible Person to implement firefighting measures
· any risks to relevant persons throughout the building that have been identified by other Responsible Persons in the building
Lastly, the Building Safety Act amends two other articles of the Fire Safety Order, namely offences and guidance.
To read more please follow this link Fire safety responsibilities under Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Image: Sora Shimazaki