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Amendments to Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

To ensure standards are met and fire safety is integrally managed throughout a building’s life, new Regulations have been put in place, including the Building Safety Regulations 2022.

These regulations will, on 1st October 2023 place statutory responsibilities on those who have the legal duty to manage buildings from conception, through to demolition, which includes the following:

  • Commissioning of building work;
  • Participation in the design and the construction process; and
  • Carrying out the building control functions throughout the building’s life.
Safety Alert – Amendments to Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 will place statutory responsibilities on those who have the legal duty to manage buildings from conception through to demolition.

These changes to regulation also strengthen the requirements for fire safety information to be recorded and passed on to relevant people, which in turn leads to safer and more efficient processes.

To assist the person responsible for fire safety to operate and maintain the building or extension safely, fire safety information can relate to:

  • The design and construction information concerning a building or an extension’s building materials; AND

  • The services, fittings and equipment provided in connection with the fire safety of the building or an extension.

Specific Changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

  • All commercial premises are to be the subject of a recorded fire risk assessment, regardless of employee numbers, which is to be organised, if not conducted by, the Responsible Person(s) (RP’s) who must:

    • Make available to all interested parties, all findings of the assessment, not just “significant” findings as previously required;

    • Record the identity of the competent individual(s), and / or if applicable, the organisations name, which employed those competent individual(s), who conducted the fire risk assessment, or reviewed it, in part or in full;

    • Record, and as necessary update, their own contact information, including a UK based address, and share this with all other RP’s and residents of multi-occupied residential premises as applicable;

    • Take reasonably practicable steps to ascertain the existence of any other RP’s who share or have duties in respect of the same premises, as well as of any Accountable Persons (who are a new legal entity made under the Building Safety Act in the case of higher-risk residential buildings) in relation to the premises – they must then identify themselves to said persons;

    • If departing a business/ property, share all “relevant fire safety information” with incoming RP’s.

    • If responsible for a building containing two or more sets of domestic premises, provide residents with relevant fire safety information in a format that is easily understood by the residents, with annual updates to refresh the information provided.

  • Increase the level of fines for some offences (unlimited).

  • Strengthen the status of statutory guidance issued under Article 50 of the Fire Safety Order.

  • Require Responsible Persons to record their fire safety arrangements in full (demonstrate how fire safety is managed in the premises).

Article 9 of the Fire Safety Order will also eventually have an additional clause 9A.

As the enforcement authorities cannot yet agree on how to determine the competencies of Fire Risk Assessors or what, if any qualifications or gradings they will need, to be classed as competent to assess certain types of buildings, this part of the Fire Safety Order will not be amended at the same time as the rest, (1st of October 2023), and AS OF YET, no date has been given to when this part of the Order will be enacted. However, it is expected to look like this:

  • The Responsible Person must not appoint a person to assist unless that person is competent.

  • A person is regarded as competent for the purposes of Article 9 of the FSO (to conduct or review a fire risk assessment) where the person has sufficient training, experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable the person properly to assist in making or reviewing of an assessment;

  • Where the Responsible Person appoints more than one person the RP must make arrangements to ensure adequate co-operation occurs between them.

The current statement given by the government regarding this change, or lack of it, is:

We are not, at this stage, commencing a requirement for RP’s to ensure that anyone they appoint to do a fire risk assessment is competent. We are actively working with the sector to develop a robust rollout plan and will provide more information on this in the coming months. Guidance to support RP’s in understanding and meeting these new requirements will be published before they come into force.”

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