The New Fire Safety Act Comes into Force in January 2023
The UK government has recently announced the start of the awaited Fire Safety Act 2021 (FSA), with the new Act set to come into force in January 2023. As with the case of the Building Safety Bill, the new Fire Safety Act was commissioned after the Grenfell fire back in 2017. The Act confirms which parts of multi-residence buildings the Fire Safety Order 2005 applied to and who is responsible for which areas.
This blog will explain all your need to know about the changes being made in the new Act coming in January 2023.
What’s the difference between Fire Safety Order and Fire Safety Act?
The Fire Safety Order of 2005 (FSO) provides a framework for regulating fire safety in all industrial, commercial, and public buildings. This includes the need for:
- General fire precautions
- Proper fire risk assessment
- Emergency routes and exits
- Fire training and procedures
- Proper storage of flammable materials and substances
- Fire detection and fire-fighting arrangements
Under the FSO, all these needs lie with the ‘responsible person’ for the building. This may be a business owner, landlord, or other managing agents. It is their responsibility to ensure that fire risks within the building and surroundings are properly assessed.
The Fire Safety Act 2021, doesn’t replace the FSO, it just clarifies existing points within it. The FSA affects buildings that contain more than one residence, ie. house shares, flats, or high-rise blocks, and confirms the arrangements within the Fire Safety Order that affect the structure of the building. This will include balconies, claddings, insulation, and windows; all of which were key factors that impacted the severity of the Grenfell building fire.
What does this mean?
The ‘responsible person’ for each building should ensure that the fire risk assessments carried out accurately reflect the new requirements. Once satisfactory risk assessments have been carried out, ensure that any intended actions are taken to make sure that anything that presents a risk to the fire safety is removed.
Fire risk assessments should be reviewed on an annual basis, but special attention should be taken when assessing risks related to material changes in the building, like repairs and refurbishments. The ‘responsible person’ may be asked to demonstrate evidence to officers that they have properly assessed and acted upon the new requirements set out within the Fire Safety Act.
At Fire Stoppers, we can provide a full fire risk assessment of your premise, and help you understand the requirements you need to follow to ensure you comply with the new requirements. Get in touch with us today to learn more.