Since the tragedy that was the Grenfell Tower fire of June 2017, there have been calls for the UK’s Building Safety system to be reformed. The Government are now beginning to work towards responding to these calls and whilst nothing has changed yet, we do now have a blueprint of the intended regulations and a new Fire Safety Bill has been introduced.
The combination of these updates will have widespread ramifications affecting planning, construction, building control, building management, and occupation by residents. We are going to focus here on those changes that affect building management.
Government Proposals for Building Safety Reform
In June 2019, the government published the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation, detailing proposals to achieve long-term reform of the building safety system, following recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review.
The proposal prioritises buildings that are 18 metres (or 6 stories) and higher but indicate an intention to increase the scope gradually, by lowering that height. One of the main things that will come from Building Safety Reform will be the introduction of important new roles that will work together to ensure safety. These include the roles of the Building Safety Regulator, the Accountable Person, and the Building Safety Manager. You can find out more about these roles and the Government Proposals, here.
The Fire Safety Bill 2020
On Thursday 19 March 2020, the UK Government introduced the Fire Safety Bill (FSB), which seeks to make changes to the existing Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The amendment will focus on two specific areas: residents’ doors and external wall structures. It will place a clear legal obligation onto the Duty Holder (i.e. the Freeholder, RMC and any Managing Agent acting on their behalf) to ensure that these areas do not compromise the overall Fire integrity of the building. As it stands, the Fire Safety Bill still needs to pass through several stages before then achieving Royal Ascent, however, once it does, it will be effective immediately. You can find out more about the Fire Safety Bill, here.
Whilst our overall aim here is to prepare you as much as we can for the changes soon to come, please do note that as the plans progress through the usual parliamentary processes the specifics of them may be subject to change.
We will keep everyone updated as soon as more definitive information comes to light. In the interim, it is worth considering how you plan to implement these changes and begin to act on those points that you are able to right now.
If you do require further advice or guidance, please contact of our many safety professionals. We are always happy to support where we can and already have a number of ongoing solutions in development that are specifically designed to assist you with these emerging requirements.