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30th March 2020

 The UK government has introduced a new bill to improve fire safety in buildings in England and Wales.

The new legislation, if passed, will amend the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to place a legal requirement on residential building owners to inspect cladding and fire doors.

The bill provides a foundation for additional legislation to take forward recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

Building owners and managers of high-rise and multi-occupied residential buildings will be responsible for a number of areas including:

  • regular inspections of lifts and the reporting of results to the local fire and rescue services
  • ensuring evacuation plans are reviewed and regularly updated and personal evacuation
  • plans are in place for residents whose ability to evacuate may be compromised
  • ensuring fire safety instructions are provided to residents in a form that they can reasonably be expected to understand
  • ensuring individual flat entrance doors, where the external walls of the building have unsafe cladding, comply with current standards.

The new Fire Safety Bill adds to recent proposals from the government to create a Building Safety Regulator,managed the Health and Safety Executive.

Building owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe and where there is no clear plan for remediation, the government will work with local authorities to support them in their enforcement options.

The Health and Safety Executive will oversee the new regime and will be publishing consolidated guidance for building owners.

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