The Hackitt Review, responsible for changing the regulatory landscape of building and fire and life safety, has introduced several significant pieces of legislation since the Grenfell Tower fire, imposing consequences for developers, contractors, building owners and landlords.
This month, the Fire Safety (England) Regulation 2022 comes to fruition (23 January 2023), placing the onus on the ‘Responsible Person’ for multi-occupied, high-rise buildings to provide residents with fire safety instructions and information on the importance of fire doors. They are also required to provide information to Fire and Rescue Services to assist them to plan and deliver an effective operational response.
In addition, in a continued attempt to make buildings safer, the UK Government has recently launched a consultation to force developers into putting a second staircase in all new housing blocks over 30 metre tall and sprinklers in all new care homes regardless of building height – as part of further changes to Approved Document B.
With such a vast number of impending changes in the building and fire safety space and so much having already happened in the first month of 2023, leading compliance expert Bureau Veritas, is urging construction firms and those responsible for high-rise residential buildings to pay heed to emerging legislation, and has created a specialised webinar to bring duty holders up to speed on fire safety in the built environment.
Andy Lowe, Technical and Training Director – Building Control at Bureau Veritas, said: “There has never been a more interesting time for the industry, as the outcomes of the Hackitt Review continue to change the landscape of fire and life safety in the built environment. Already this year, a consultation has been launched to introduce a second staircase in high rise buildings over 30 metres, expanding even further on the recent changes to Approved Document B which were only introduced a few months ago. Now the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations have been written into law – changing the process of information sharing with residents and the fire service.
“All of this has a significant impact on duty holders of multi-occupied high-rise buildings, from the architects who draw up the plans and the developers who build, to the landlords or building owners responsible for maintaining a safe and compliant environment.
“A key outcome of the Building Safety Act for architects and developers stresses the need to get things right first time. The impending Gateway Two will signify a stop/go point, where anything not done correctly in the planning and design process will cause delays and more time and resource from the developer to revise plans and re-submit them.
“It’s clear the landscape is changing vastly, and quickly. With the potential introduction of the two staircase rule, updates to sprinkler requirements in care homes, the combustible materials ban as part of recent changes to Part B and the increasing need for fire safety precautions in e-vehicle and e-bike charging; architects, contractors, design and build managers and more are facing increasingly difficult day to day changes.
“At Bureau Veritas, we have launched a new webinar designed to offer support and guidance on recent and impending changes, to help those working in construction and built environment understand their responsibilities and the competencies required to meet the expectations of the HSE.”
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