Legislative amendments to Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 will begin to take effect starting this weekend, October 1, 2023 and will affect future fire safety guidance.
These changes will modify the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) with the goal of enhancing fire safety in buildings falling under its regulation.
The government is implementing fire safety revisions in multiple stages. Often in response to suggestions from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
2021 and 2022 Fire Safety Phases
Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) introduces several changes to enhance fire safety guidance in buildings governed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO).
These new enhancements are being introduced on October 1st 2023, marking the third phase of the Home Office’s fire safety reform initiative.
This follows the two earlier phases:
- Phase 1 (the Fire Safety Act 2021)
- Phase 2 (the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022).
Phase 1 – Fire Safety Act 2021
This phase was applicable to buildings housing multiple domestic premises (HMO).
Phase 1 of the Fire Safety Act was a direct result of the Grenfell Tower incident. These measures detailed fire safety legislation applicable to:
- The structure and cladding on external walls
- Common areas
- Doors between domestic units and common spaces.
This Act became effective on May 16, 2022, in England and on October 1, 2021, in Wales.
Phase 2 – Fire Safety Regulations 2022
Phase Two in England was rolled out through the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 starting from January 23, 2023.
The second phase implemented fresh guidelines, outlining the display and issuance of fire safety guidance and fire door instructions. This was to share information with new occupants, and, share new information with all residents every 12 months.
- Share information about the building’s external walls electronically with the local fire and rescue service.
- Share electronic copies of floor plans and building plans.
- Install directional signage in high-rise buildings which are visible in low light.
- Monthly checks on lifts.
- Monthly essential firefighting equipment checks.
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What Constitutes a Responsible Person?
The Responsible Person refers to a company or individual tasked with ensuring the enforcement of all pertinent fire safety guidance.
- Concerning a workplace, the ‘Responsible Person’ is the employer, provided the workplace falls under their control.
- For premises not described in the above sentence, the Responsible Person can be identified as follows:
- The individual in control of the premises (occupier) in relation to their trade or business.
- The owner, in cases where the person overseeing the premises lacks control within the context of their trade, business, or other pursuits.
Phase 3 Fire Safety Guidance
As mentioned above, new fire safety guidance is set to come into force on October 1st 2023.
Phase 3 enhances fire safety standards across all premises regulated by the FSO, also known as the RRFSO 2005.
Section 156 of the Building Safety Act will make amendments to the RRFSO with the aim of building on Phases 1 and 2 (mentioned above).
Phase 3 strengthens both fire safety and the RRFSO legislation by ensuring:
- Responsible Persons must record all fire risk assessments in FULL. In the past only ‘significant findings’ were required.
- Responsible Persons must record the identity of the individual and company name of the fire risk assessment conductor.
- Responsible Persons must record all fire safety arrangements.
- Responsible Persons must record contact information including UK-based addresses.
- Responsible Persons must share this information with other Responsible Persons and residents of HMOs.
All of this new information aims to:
- Enhance collaboration and coordination among Fire Safety Responsible Persons (RPs).
- Raise standards for recording and sharing fire safety information to maintain a continuous record throughout the lifespan of a building.
- Simplify the process for enforcement authorities to address and take action against non-compliance.
- Guarantee that residents can easily access detailed information regarding fire safety within their building.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should A Fire Risk Assessment Be Reviewed?
Fire risk assessments are a legal requirement. We recommend they are reviewed annually. In addition, The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, requires a fire risk assessment to be reviewed if there are changes in the business. For example structural alterations, change of building use and increase in occupancy. For this reason a new fire risk assessment should be completed.
If you’re in need of an updated fire assessment or aren’t sure whether you are, get in touch. After that one of our Fire Protection Consultants can answer all of your questions.
Who Is Responsible For Completing A Fire Risk Assessment?
In England and Wales, you may be responsible for fire safety and are known as the ‘responsible person’. Certainly if you’re an employer, person who has control of the premises or owner of the building/business other than a single domestic dwelling.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 details what you have to do to comply with the law. In addition, you must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment if your business has 5 or more people.
Finally, it is important to note that you could be fined and/or go to prison if you don’t follow fire safety regulations.
In order to properly carry out the assessment, the assessor should have a minimum understanding of the following:
- Fire alarm system categories and design standards
- Emergency lighting design standards
- Fire extinguisher and fire safety sign and notice standards
- Fire risk guidance documents
- Current building regulations
- Effects of fire on people and behaviour of people in fire situations
- Means of escape
- Fire prevention
- Management of fire safety
- Subsequently the assessment should be carried out by a suitably trained, qualified and experienced fire risk assessor.
At OHEAP Fire & Security all of Fire Risk Assessors are experts in their field and can take on the mantle of the “responsible person”. In conclusion, you can be confident that your assessment has been completed diligently and accurately.