Upcoming Legislation Changes

The Government recently announced that in 2021, the introduction of two new legislations will come into effect and directly impact the safety of buildings.

We would like to bring these new legislations to your attention, so that you have an understanding of their very nature and the anticipated changes that lie ahead.

What new legislations to expect and when?:

  • Fire Safety Bill – Expected Spring 2021
  • Building Safety Bill – Expected Summer / Autumn 2021

Fire Safety Bill

Definition: ‘A Bill to make provision about the application of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 where a building contains two or more sets of domestic premises; and to confer power to amend that order in future for the purposes of changing the premises to which it applies.’ – https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-21/firesafety.html

What changes to expect:

  • Lift inspections will be performed more frequently, with reports submitted to the local fire and rescue service
  • Implementation of a Premises Information boxes (PIB), which will include, but not limited to;
    • Building floor plans and location of safety equipment
    • Residents requiring additional support with evacuations
    • Copy of the FRA
    • Contact details of Responsible Person/Accountable Person/Building Safety Manager
    • QR Code to allow access to larger/complex docs
  • Clarity surrounding entrance doors to apartments and greater powers assigned to the Accountable Person/Building Safety Manager to take action and force replacement
  • Requirement for routine inspection of flat entrance doors to ensure adequate level of fire separation is maintained
  • Clarity surrounding external facades and their contribution towards a building fire risk assessment
  • Increased responsibility on the building owner to rectify the issue should it be identified that an exterior facade can contribute to the spread of a fire
  • Fire Risk Assessors
    • Must have industry related accreditations
    • Potentially become a licensed or register of approved fire risk assessors

Building Safety Bill

Definition: ‘[The Building Safety Bill] will ensure that high rise buildings and the people who live in them are being kept safe and will have new powers to raise and enforce higher standards of safety and performance across all buildings.’ – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/explained-the-draft-building-safety-bill

What changes to expect:

  • Broad and significant changes to the safety management of residential buildings
  • Nomination of an ‘Accountable Person’
    • Likely to be the ‘Building Owner’ (individual or body cooperate)
    • Ultimately responsible for the safety of the building and its residents
  • Appointment of a Building Safety Manager (by the Accountable person)
    • Will require license & accreditation through the Building Safety Regulator (BSR)
    • Primary contact on matters of safety – fire and structural
    • Required to compile ‘Safety Case Files’ on building
    • Required to compile ‘resident safety surveys’
    • Required to complete the Building Safety Risk (BSR) Assessment
    • Will work with the Accountable Person to reduce risks
    • Routine review of risk assessment – BSB propose 3 months intervals
  • Assessment of building safety risks
    • Similar to combined Health, Safety and Fire Risk Assessment
    • Heavy focus on structural and fire safety
    • Record new and future builds, information on building design, details of compartments etc. from ‘Golden thread file’
    • Existing builds may require intrusive surveys (Type 4 FRA) to the whole building to understand design and construction
  • Building Safety Regulator
    • Formed as part of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
    • Will oversee building safety, from construction phase throughout occupation
    • Responsible for;
      • Enforcing building safety
      • Issuing licenses to BSM
      • Reviewing Safety Case Files
      • Prosecuting offenders
      • Issuing guidance

Whilst the Fire Safety Bill will apply to all residential blocks, irrespective of height, please note that the Building Safety Bill applies to ‘buildings in scope’ that are:

  • Over 18m
  • Assisted living/Senior living
  • Student accommodation