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Minister of State says “specialist knowledge and the expertise of the fire risk assessor” will be required to comply with Fire Safety Bill

Thursday 30th April 2020


Fire Safety Bill - House of Commons 29/04/2020

Yesterday (29/04/2020) the Fire Safety Bill had a successful Second Reading in the House of Commons.

 

The Minister of State (The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP) discussed the tragic Grenfell fire and that “the Government are resolute in their commitment to ensure that [events of this kind] are never repeated.”

 

“The Queen’s Speech committed the Government to bringing forward two Bills on fire and building safety. The first is this short, technical, Home Office-led Fire Safety Bill, which will amend the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The second, the building safety Bill, led by MHCLG, will put in place an enhanced safety framework for high-rise residential buildings, taking forward the recommendations from Dame Judith’s review.”

 

He continued to note “that the [Fire Safety] Bill is a clarification of the [Regulatory Reform] Fire Safety Order. It will apply to all multi-occupied residential buildings regulated by the order. The current ambiguity is leading to inconsistency in operational practice. That is unhelpful at best and, at worst, it means that the full identification and management of fire safety risks is compromised, which can put the lives of people at risk.”

 

Importantly, the Minister also notes:I am aware that the provisions of the Bill will require potentially significant numbers of responsible persons to review and update their fire risk assessments. For many, that will require specialist knowledge and the expertise of the fire risk assessor. We are working with representatives of the sector to understand the particular challenges in delivery. That will inform our approach to the implementation of the Bill, while maintaining a clear and consistent approach to fire risk assessments. In any event, and in line with the independent expert advisory panel’s consolidated advice, I would none the less encourage those with responsibilities to carry out a fire risk assessment under the order as a matter of good practice and to consider flat entrance doors and external wall systems as part of their fire risk assessment for multi-occupied residential blocks as soon as possible, if they have not already done so.”

 

Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, comments: “BAFE welcomes the recognition by the Minister of the need for a clear and consistent approach to fire risk assessments. We are involved in the work of the expert panel and will continue to promote the need for Third Party Certificated competence [via UKAS Accredited Certification Bodies] for providers of this vital service.”

 

BAFE call for a mandatory requirement for UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification of Fire Risk Assessment providers for premises covered by this Bill, which would provide independent evidence of the “specialist knowledge and the expertise of the fire risk assessor” which the Minister calls for. BAFE continues to promote Third Party Certification for this vital service through its BAFE SP205 Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment Scheme and other UKAS Accredited schemes.

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