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Last updated: 02/04/2020, 7:01 PM

London Fire Brigade welcomes publication of new Bill to improve fire safety

19/03/2020 17:04
Grenfell Tower

London Fire Brigade has today welcomed the publication of a new Bill to improve fire safety in buildings in England and Wales following on from the Grenfell Tower fire. 

The Bill will amend the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) and will provide greater clarity on the additional areas which fall to the responsible person or duty-holder for multi-occupied residential buildings.

Currently under the RRO, fire and rescue services have enforcement powers over the parts in blocks of flats which are used in common by more than one flat, such as entrance halls, lobbies and landings. It does not extend beyond the front doors of flats or maisonettes into people’s homes or the exterior of buildings. 

The Bill published today sets out that the responsible person or duty-holder must manage and reduce the risk of fire for the structure and external walls of the building (including cladding, balconies and windows) and entrance doors to individual flats which open into common parts. 

Clarification will empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action

The clarification that the new Bill will bring will empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account if they are not compliant with their responsibilities for the outside of buildings, as well as the inside.

The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Dan Daly, said: “We are pleased to see these amendments to the Fire Safety Order and the clarity it provides with regards to the exterior of buildings and  individual front doors which open into common parts. 

“With so much concern around cladded buildings across the country, we welcome this clarification in legislation which will enable us and other fire and rescue services to take action against those responsible for building safety where necessary to ensure that people are safe in their homes."

The Bill also provides a foundation for secondary legislation to take forward recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase One report which stated that building owners and managers of high-rise and multi-occupied residential buildings should 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; and
  • ensuring individual flat entrance doors, where the external walls of the building have unsafe cladding, comply with current standards. 

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