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Changes to fire safety legislation

From 1 October 2023, new fire safety legislation came into effect which will impose new duties on businesses and buildings owners.

The Fire Safety Order is the primary fire safety legislation in England and Wales and it applies to all non-domestic premises as well as the communal parts of residential buildings. Changes to this legislation have been introduced through the Building Safety Act 2022 and represent the next phase of the Governments fire safety reform programme.

Main changes introduced by the legislation

Written fire risk assessment and fire safety arrangements

The previous requirement to have a written fire risk assessment only applied in certain circumstances (for example, where the responsible person employs five or more persons). This will no longer be the case, and if you are a responsible person, then you will need to record both your fire risk assessment and fire safety arrangement in full, regardless of the size or purpose of the business or premises.

Enhanced requirements for cooperation and coordination

In premises where there is more than one responsible person, for example in multi-occupied premises or buildings where the occupier and building owner are different entities, there are increased requirements for cooperation and coordination between responsible persons.

Provision of information to residents

In residential buildings with two or more domestic premises (for example, blocks of flats) then the responsible owner must provide residents with information on the risks from fire within their building and the fire safety measures provided to keep them safe. This requirement expands upon legislation introduced earlier this year that required responsible persons to provide residents with information on emergency procedures and the importance of fire doors.

For further information on all the changes to legislation and what you need to do to comply, the Government has published guidance.

The changes in legislation are also known as Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022, and they are in addition to the Fire Safety Act 2021 which commenced last summer.

Building Safety Act - Higher-risk buildings in-scope of the Building Safety Regulator

We are aware that the Building Safety Regulator has sent letters to a number of buildings advising that they are in scope and should be registered. A number of enquiries have been received by the Fire and Rescue Services in relation to this.

The criteria for in-scope buildings has not been set by the Fire and Rescue Service and does not form part of our regulatory activities.

The requirement for a building to be considered in scope is detailed in the Criteria for determining whether a building is a higher-risk building during the occupation phase of the new higher-risk regime (GOV.UK).

If you do not feel that you meet the criteria of an in-scope building, covered by the Building Safety Regulator then representation should be made to the contact details provided in the letter received.

You can also use the Contact the Building Safety Regulator.

Last updated:
2 January 2024
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