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Fire Safety Act 2021 (Last update: 04.05.21)
When it comes to fire safety management, the authorities are turning up the heat.
Fire safety risk management should always be high on the agenda for organisations in the care sector. Serious fire incidents in the sector may be fairly rare, but if such an incident occurs it has the potential for catastrophic consequences.
As a business owner, care home operator, manager, or employee you should already have an in depth understanding of your fire safety duties and responsibilities as well as an understanding of the uniquely complex challenges that fire safety management presents in your setting.
On the day that the Fire Safety Bill completed its meandering journey through government process, received Royal Assent and became the Fire Safety Act 2021, it's important you are aware of what’s changed and what’s still to come.
Amendments to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the main legislation which governs fire safety in England & Wales, are imminent.
While these latest developments which saw the passage of the Fire Safety Bill through the government's law making processes won’t present widespread immediate challenges or significant immediate change for duty holders in the care sector, they are a first landmark indication of extensive reforms to building fire safety which are expected to continue in 2021 and beyond.
The Fire Safety Bill was put forward, along with the draft Building Safety Bill in 2020, as part of a package of new legislation targeted at tackling the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and preventing recurrence of catastrophic events such as that which took place at Grenfell.
The imminent changes to existing fire safety laws brought about by the Fire Safety Bill won’t directly influence Fire Risk Assessment in care homes. They provide for an amendment to the application of the Fire Safety Order which means that where a building contains two or more sets of domestic premises the Fire Safety Order will apply to the building structure, its external walls and any common parts, as well as all doors between domestic premises and common parts – in effect meaning they would need to form part of the Fire Risk Assessment.
The Fire Safety Bill also effectively provides for the addition of further secondary legislation in the future which may include a requirement for further fire safety measures in certain circumstances, where recommendations indicate such measures may be necessary.
It’s important to be aware that further changes are expected in the coming months that will impact the sector and we will aim to keep you up to date with the latest news and how it affects your business.
Consultations on many fire safety matters including; the competency of Fire Risk Assessors and arrangements for Enforcement, amongst a host of other fire risk management topics, have been carried out, and these areas are expected to form the basis of further new regulation and amendments to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order itself in 2021 and beyond.
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