A new fire safety bill has been introduced by the Home Office, and will apply to England and Wales. It’s designed to ensure people feel safe in their homes following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and will amend the Fire Safety Order 2005.
The main change is the clarification that the responsible person or duty-holder for multi-occupied residential buildings has a duty to manage and reduce the risk of fire in relation to the structure and external walls of the building (including cladding, balconies and windows) and the entrance doors to individual flats that open onto common areas.
Now that these points have been clarified, fire and rescue services can take enforcement action against building owners who fail to take the necessary steps to comply with fire safety legislation.
Roy Wilsher, chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, said that his organisation is pleased to see the new bill being brought forward.
“We have been calling for additional powers since 2017 and these changes should contribute to the public feeling safer in their homes,” he asserted.
The Home Office also explained that this bill will pave the way for new legislation that’s based on the recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry phase one report.
Spokesperson for building safety at the Local Government Association Lord Porter told LocalGov that this bill is “an important step in the right direction”. However, he stressed that the government needs to follow this up with “further effective powers and sanctions”.
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