Changes to fire safety law in the pipeline
Dame Judith Hackitt's recommendations are now coming through in new building safety laws
Last week, Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea borough council, called on the Government to allow councils to carry out building checks in line with recommendations from phase one of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. ?We want to see more comprehensive legislation to increase the standards in all buildings owned publicly or privately, and additional powers to enforce against this,? he said.
Someone was listening. On Monday, the Government set out details of the upcoming Fire Safety Bill that is being introduced to Parliament. Using the findings from last year?s consultation, the new legislation will clarify the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, requiring residential building owners to fully assess and mitigate the risks to residents posed by external wall systems on their blocks or the front doors to individual flats.
The changes are designed to complement the powers already enshrined in the Housing Act. What this means in practice is to make it easier to enforce works where building owners have not acted to tackle safety issues such as unsafe cladding or failing fire doors.
As we blogged yesterday, the Government?s expert advisory panel has now clarified and updated the advice to building owners on actions they should take to ensure their buildings are safe. Their advice makes clear the actions that should be taken in relation to fire doors, ie ensuring they are fit for purpose and, where they need technical input, the Association of?Composite?Door?Manufacturers?is to work with building owners to replace those doors which have failed tests,.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has said it has ?sought to become early adopters? of the proposals made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her review of fire safety and building regulations. Valuable lessons have already been learned from Grenfell but they must now be put into practice.
We hope the Government?s most recent announcement around fire safety will help roll out effective and enforceable fire safety standards in blocks across the country ? regardless of whether they provide social housing or are privately owned.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
Keep up to date
(Weekly, fortnightly or monthly)