Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) has made a number of amendments to the FSO to improve fire safety in all regulated buildings. These improvements form Phase 3 of the Home Office’s fire safety reform programme, building on Phase 1 (the Fire Safety Act 2021) and Phase 2 (the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022).
The changes include the following new requirements:
- All Responsible Persons must record their completed fire risk assessment, and in full (where previously only specific information was required to be recorded)
- All Responsible Persons must record the identity of the individual (their name), and/or if applicable, their organisation (name) engaged by them to undertake/review any or all of the fire risk assessment
- All Responsible Persons must record their fire safety arrangements (demonstrate how fire safety is managed in your premises)
- All Responsible Persons must record (and as necessary update) their contact information, including a UK based address, and share this with other Responsible Persons and residents of multi-occupied residential premises where applicable
- All Responsible Persons must take reasonably practicable steps to ascertain the existence of other Responsible Persons who share or have duties in respect of the same premises, and of Accountable Persons (which are a new legal entity made under the Building Safety Act in the case of higher-risk residential buildings) in relation to the premises - they must then identify themselves to said persons
- Departing Responsible Persons must share all ‘relevant fire safety information’ with incoming Responsible Persons
- Responsible Persons of a building containing two or more sets of domestic premises to provide residents with relevant fire safety information in a format that is easily understood by the residents
- We have increased the level of fines for some offences (intentionally deceptive impersonation of a [fire] inspector, failure to comply (without reasonable excuse) with specific requirements imposed by a [fire] inspector (such as by not providing a copy of the fire risk assessment when requested), and failure to comply with requirements relating to the installation of luminous tube signs)
- We have strengthened the status of statutory guidance issued under Article 50 of the Fire Safety Order by providing that, in court proceedings for alleged breaches of the Fire Safety Order, compliance with or deviation from guidance issued under Article 50 may be relied upon as tending to establish whether or not there was a breach of the Fire Safety Order.
The purpose of phase 3 of our reform programme is to improve cooperation and coordination between Responsible Persons (RPs); increase requirements in relation to the recording and sharing of fire safety information thus creating a continual record throughout a building’s lifespan; make it easier for enforcement authorities to take action against non-compliance and ensure residents have access to comprehensive information about fire safety in their building
We are not at this stage commencing a requirement for RPs to ensure that anyone they appoint to do a fire risk assessment is competent. We are actively working with the sector to develop a robust roll out plan to support implementation and will provide more information in due course.
We published guidance in July 2023 that explains to Responsible Persons what they need to do as a result of the changes to the FSO which you can read here.
NFCC has developed a short video which explains the changes here.