New Fire Safety Regulations From 1 October 2023
On October 1st 2023, new fire safety guidance will come into force for all buildings regulated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO). The implementation of the new fire safety regulations is set to bring significant changes and heightened responsibilities for individuals and the fire safety industry.
Understanding and complying with these new regulations is imperative to ensure the safety and well-being of occupants in buildings. Whether you are a contractor, housing association, or property owner, staying informed and prepared is crucial to meet the requirements and maintain a safe environment.
What is Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022?
Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) implements a number of amendments to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO to improve fire safety in all buildings regulated by the FSO. The upcoming improvements form Phase 3 of the Home Office’s fire safety reform programme, building on Phase 1 (the Fire Safety Act 2021) and Phase 2 (the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022).
Phase 1 (the Fire Safety Act 2021) placed additional duties on Responsible Person(s) for multi-occupancy residential buildings. Under the act, Responsible Person(s) were appointed the legal responsibility of proactively identifying potentially dangerous external wall systems and other structural issues in addition to introducing measures to prevent risk. Phase 1 emphasised the importance of Responsible Person(s) being up to date with government guidance regarding external wall systems (including balconies, doors and windows) and ensuring that they engage with fire safety professionals where necessary.
Phase 2 (the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022) was introduced as an important step towards implementing the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report which required a change in the law. The regulations under Phase 2 applied to high-rise residential buildings, residential buildings with storeys over 11 metres in height and all multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises.
Changes and improvements made to the Fire Safety Regulations have been motivated by the improvement of fire safety checks and accountability for buildings that fail to meet new standards in addition to improving collaboration and communication between Responsible Person(s).
Phase 3 aims to further strengthen fire safety in all FSO regulated premises by:
- Improving cooperation and coordination between Responsible Person(s) (RPs)
- Increasing requirements in relation to the recording and sharing of fire safety information, creating a continual record across a building’s lifespan
- Making it easier for enforcement authorities to take action against non-compliance
- Ensuring residents have access to comprehensive information regarding fire safety in their building
Preparation is Key
Organisations are required to register with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) and appoint a principal Responsible Person(s) for high-risk buildings by October 2023. Compliance with these regulations ensures the safety of occupants and properties while avoiding legal issues and reputational damage. By staying informed, you can implement the latest safety measures, such as improved plans and regulations, promoting a safer environment. With fire safety standards continuously evolving, staying up to date means that you can benefit from the latest industry advancements and standards.
Housing associations and contractors have vital roles in ensuring building safety and compliance. The upcoming changes in fire safety regulations prioritise occupant safety and mitigate risk, emphasising the importance of staying informed. Being prepared can allow you to fulfil legal obligations, prioritise safety, manage risks, and create a safer environment for all.
Building Safety Regulators and Responsible Persons
Building Safety Regulators were established as a part of the Building Safety Bill to oversee the safety of high-rise residential buildings. Building Safety Regulators are responsible for promoting competence among industry professionals, implementing up-to-date regimes for higher-risk buildings and overseeing the performance systems of all buildings.
Responsible Person(s) is a person or entity with the legal responsibility for fire safety within premises as defined by the relevant fire safety regulations. Responsible Person(s) are responsible for conducting risk assessments, implementing appropriate fire safety measures, and creating an emergency plan.
Both Responsible Person(s) and Building Safety Regulators have distinct roles in ensuring building safety compliance. Both bodies are accountable for guaranteeing compliance and enforcement with building safety regulations, providing guidance and support and sharing information regarding fire safety measures.
Fire Safety Regulations and How They Impact You
Join us for an insightful webinar presented by Brian Sims and Jerry Quayle BSc., FIMMM, AIFireE., on 31st May 2023 at 10:30 am, where we will shed light on the upcoming change in fire safety regulations set to be implemented from 1st October 2023.
As compliance is crucial, this webinar is essential for anyone who needs to understand their requirements. It will include detailed explanations of the responsibilities of Responsible Persons, the definition of an HRB (High-Risk Building), registration requirements, and upcoming deadlines to keep in mind.
These changes will have a broad impact across the industry, making this session a valuable guide for contractors and housing associations alike. Don’t miss out on staying informed and prepared.
Register by the 30th of May for our free New Fire Safety Regulations webinar.