After much deliberation and passing back and forth through parliament, it was announced on Thursday 29th April that the Fire Safety Bill will finally become law.
This is much anticipated news and means that the proposed requirements we have all been preparing for are now actual requirements by law.
The Fire Safety Act 2021 amends the Fire Safety Order 2005, and along with the draft Building Safety Bill, is part of a collection of new legislation in response to the recommendations within the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and Hackitt Review.
What does this mean for Freeholders and Managing Agents?
This new law will mean that, on top of the communal Fire Risk Assessment, the Responsible Person will need to ensure that Residents flat entrance doors are, and remain, suitable and sufficient as fire doors.
It will also necessitate the need to ensure that a building’s external wall systems, and anything else affixed to the envelope of the building (such as balconies), do not support or promote the spread of fire.
This is something that we have mentioned many times previously as the industry has been preparing for this change for well over a year now. You can find out more about the Fire Safety Bill here, however, please note that references to the Bill in those articles were written before the requirements became law.
What are the main changes?
As previously mentioned, the main changes set out in the Fire Safety Bill apply to external wall systems and residents’ flat entrance doors. The Fire Safety Act clears any ambiguity in responsibility for fire safety in managed blocks; in particular the responsibility for ensuring that flat entrance doors are suitable and sufficient as fire doors which can only be ensured by having regular Fire Door Inspections carried out by a competent individual or organisation (find out more about our Fire Door Inspection service here).
The Fire Safety Bill and draft Building Safety Bill, (the latter of which is due to become law within the next couple of years), are two of the biggest changes for the industry and aim to prevent history repeating itself and to avoid any tragic incidents, such as Grenfell, occurring again.