Legislation and regulation

Fire Safety Bill

The government published the Fire Safety Bill on 19 March.

The Bill amends the Fire Safety Order 2005, to clarify building owners’ and managers’ responsibility to manage risks associated with:

  • The structure and external walls of a building, including cladding, balconies and windows.
  • Entrance doors to individual flats that open onto common parts.

This clarification will mean that fire and rescue services can hold building owners accountable if they fail to comply with these responsibilities.

When the Bill was published, the government stated that it would lay the foundations for secondary legislation to take forward the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry phase 1 report.

The recommendations state that building owners and managers of high-rise and multi-occupied residential buildings should be responsible for:

  • Regular lift inspections and reporting results to local fire and rescue services.
  • Reviewing and updating evacuation plans regularly, and putting into place personal evacuation plans for those residents who identify themselves as needing extra support to evacuate.
  • Ensuring fire safety instructions are provided to residents in a format that they can reasonably understand.
  • Checking fire door self-closers on a regular basis.

Fire safety consultation

The government then published a consultation in July 2020, seeking views on proposals to strengthen the Fire Safety Order and implement the public inquiry recommendations.

The consultation is open until 12 October, and we have summarised the proposals in a briefing and are seeking feedback from our members by 28 September.

More information

Draft Building Safety Bill

The government published the draft Building Safety Bill on 20 July 2020, setting out proposed legislative changes to deliver reforms to the building safety regulatory system.

The Bill aims to implement the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (the Hackitt Review).

The draft Bill includes the government’s final proposals for a more stringent regulatory regime for higher-risk buildings, as well as proposed regulatory changes that will affect all building work.

We have analysed the draft Bill and published two member briefings:

  • A briefing covering all the proposed changes in the Bill – both to higher-risk buildings and to all building work.
  • A briefing summarising only the changes that would apply to all building work.

News and resources

Approved Document B

Approved Document B covers building regulation in England on fire safety matters within and around buildings.

In May 2020, the government published three key changes to Approved Document B, introducing new safety requirements for new residential blocks.

The changes, which will come into effect in 2020, are that:

  • New blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level should be fitted with a sprinkler system throughout the building. This represents a change from the previous threshold of 30m.
  • Wayfinding signage for the fire and rescue services should be provided in new blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level. The amendments provide clarification on the type and placement of signage, which aims to deliver greater consistency among building owners.
  • It provides clarification on the definition of a boundary between two buildings, with a view to resisting fire spread from one building to another.

News and resources

Combustible materials ban

The government held a consultation between 20 January and 25 May 2020 on proposals to review and extend the ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings, including attachments.

We submitted a sector response to the consultation, sharing our support for the government’s proposals to:

  • Broaden the type of buildings covered by the ban.
  • Ban the use of combustible cladding materials and attachments for new buildings of 11m and over, reducing the current height threshold.
  • Specifically, ban the use of metal composite panels with a polyethylene core in or on the external walls of new buildings.

We also identified a number of important considerations that the government should take into account when reviewing the ban.

News and resources

Who to speak to

Victoria Moffett, Head of Building and Fire Safety Programmes