New fire safety guidance has been issued by the government this month. This guidance provides an explanation as to what responsible persons must do to prepare for changes made to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 through the Building Safety Act 2022.
About the New Fire Safety Guidance
The requirements apply to all non domestic premises as well as non domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings. They do not apply to individual domestic premises.
This means that if you are the responsible person in work places as well as places that people visit or stay, or the responsible person in residential buildings with communal corridors or plant rooms, you will need to read the full guidance to ensure you understand the updated requirements.
The Building Safety Bill became the Building Safety Act 2022 in April 2022. This new legislation has the effect of amending the Fire Safety Order in a number of areas. This includes increasing fines for some offences and strengthening the statutory guidance issued under Article 50 of the Fire Safety Order. Most of amendments relate to the responsible person, with increased requirement for recording and communication.
Increased Requirement for Recording of Fire Safety Information
The amendments require that the responsible person must record their completed fire risk assessment in full, and the identity and organisation engaged to undertake any fire risk assessment on their behalf. Where the Responsible person appointments a person to carry out the Fire Risk Assessment, they must be competent.
The Responsible person must record their contact information and all fire safety arrangements and demonstrate how fire safety is managed in your premises.
Communicating Fire Safety information
Not only is the responsible person required to record this information, it must be communicated too.
The fire safety arrangements must be shared with residents in – crucially – an easily understood format.
Responsible Persons are required to take all “reasonably practicable steps to ascertain the existence of other Responsible Persons who share or have duties in respect of the same premises.”. This means finding and sharing information with any other responsible persons at your premises. This includes departing responsible persons being required to share all relevant fire safety information with incoming responsible persons.
In addition to other responsible persons, accountable persons must be considered. Accountable persons is a new legal entity which has been created un the Building Safety Act in the case of higher risk residential buildings. responsible persons must also find and identify themselves to all accountable persons in relation to the premises.
Some things remain unchanged, for example the local fire and rescue authorities remain the primary enforcing body for the fire safety order. For Non domestic parts areas of residential buildings with multiple occupants, the Local Authority is the enforcing body. For non occupied buildings on a construction site the Health and Safety Executive is the enforcing body. The Defence Fire Safety Regulator and Crown Premises Fire Safety Inspectorate are listed as relevant enforcing bodies.
It’s advisable to read the complete updated guidance on the government website to ensure you fully understand your responsibilities under the new fire safety guidance.