A New Bill Introduced To Improve Fire Safety In Buildings In England And Wales

The new legislation, if passed, will amend the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to place a legal requirement on residential building owners to inspect cladding and fire doors.

The introduction will also empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account if they are not compliant.

It will provide a foundation for secondary legislation to take forward recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry phase one report, which stated that building owners and managers of high-rise and multi-occupied residential buildings should be responsible for a number of areas including:

• regular inspections of lifts and the reporting of results to the local fire and rescue services
• ensuring evacuation plans are reviewed and regularly updated and personal evacuation plans are in place for residents whose ability to evacuate may be compromised
• ensuring fire safety instructions are provided to residents in a form that they can reasonably be expected to understand
• ensuring individual flat entrance doors, where the external walls of the building have unsafe cladding, comply with current standards.

James Brokenshire, minister for security, said: ‘We remain committed to implementing the recommendations made following phase one of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, and the government has already made major reforms to building safety.

‘[This] bill will help bring about meaningful change to improving building safety.’

The new Fire Safety Bill follows the recent announcement of the government’s intention to create a Building Safety Regulator, to be established by the Health and Safety Executive.

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