Fire risk assessments: how often must they be done?
There are no specific time periods in law for how often fire risk assessments must be done or reviewed. The...
The Government has published ‘Sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats’, a consultation paper in which, amongst other things, it seeks views on reducing the qualifying height for the mandatory provision of sprinklers in buildings from 30 metres (approximately 10 floors) and above, to 18 metres (approximately 6 floors). It is suggested that the adjustment could make thousands of homes safer, with an estimated 1,970 additional new build properties with sprinkler systems installed over 10 years.
The consultation also seeks views on the introduction of an emergency evacuation alert system for use by fire and rescue services, alongside other fire safety measures; and it forms part of the first proposed changes to building regulations in England covering fire safety within and around buildings.
The Secretary of State for Housing, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP also announced that the Government is working with the Home Office and the National Fire Chiefs Council on the immediate establishment of a new Protection Board to ‘provide further reassurance to residents of high-risk residential blocks that any risks are identified and acted upon’. The Secretary of State announced that up to £10 million a year of funding will be available to support the new body, which will:
- provide expert, tailored building checks and inspections, if necessary, on all high-risk residential buildings;
- operate on an interim basis until a new building safety regulator is established to oversee the new regulatory regime for buildings, and legislation on a new building safety regime is introduced;
- ensure building owners are acting on the latest safety advice and keeping residents updated; and
- ensure that interim measures are in place in all buildings with unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding.
The Protection Board’s work will be informed by data collected by local authorities to identify types of cladding on high-rise residential buildings, and government is providing an additional £4 million funding to assist the collation of data.
The Secretary of State said:
“Residents’ safety is our utmost priority and we are making vital improvements to ensure buildings are safe. I have listened to concerns on sprinklers from residents and building owners and our proposals are an important step forward in shaping the future building safety standards.
The new Protection Board will make sure building owners don’t flout the rules, as well as ensuring fire safety risks in other buildings are being addressed.”
From 12 September 2019, the £200 million fund to accelerate the pace of the removal and replacement of unsafe ACM from privately-owned buildings will be open for applications. Speaking on the fund, the Secretary of State said:
“Government funds are available for private building owners to remove and replace unsafe ACM cladding, and let me be clear, inaction will have consequences and I will name and shame those who do not act during the course of the autumn. There is no excuse for further delay – and for building owners to fail to take action now would be frankly disgraceful.”
The ‘Sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats’ consultation closes at 11:45pm on 28 November 2019
You can respond to the consultation in one of three ways:
You can respond in one of three ways:
- Respond online
- Email to: [email protected]
- Write to: Building Safety Programme
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
4th Floor, Fry Building
2 Marsham Street