What is the new 2021 Fire Safety Act, and what does it mean for your business?
The new Fire Safety Act was introduced in 2021 in the aftermath of the tragic events of Grenfell Tower, in which 74 lost their lives. The British government was under significant pressure from the public to introduce legislation to prevent a catastrophe of this kind from happening again. So this bill was tabled and consequently passed. Before submitting the Fire Safety Act 2021, the ruling had been based on the Reform Fire Safety Order of 2005.
The Fire Safety Act 2021: How did we get here?
Public outcry against the backdrop of the Grenfell Tower incident resulted in the commissioning of an independent report on fire safety in the UK. The findings of this report saw the Royal Institute of British Architects proposing that the current Fire Safety Guidelines were insufficient and putting forth a new set of recommendations to the government.
One such recommendation was the Fire Safety Bill, which outlines the duties of the ‘responsible person’ when managing fire risks. Unbelievably, the government rejected this bill five times before coming into law in 2021!
What does the Fire Safety Act include?
The act applies to all residential buildings with “two or more sets of domestic premises.” This includes buildings of any height.
The act will give recommendations and new guidance on the responsibilities included in a risk assessment. These guidelines aim to help the responsible person assess and identify the risk to occupants – with a particular focus on the external areas of a building, including cladding. It will be the responsible person’s duty to conclude whether further fire prevention treatment is required for an installation.
It also offers an amendment to the 2005 Fire Safety Order, which now requires all responsible persons to manage, assess and reduce the risks of fire in structures, the external building (including balconies and windows), and any areas of the building in everyday use.
Unlike the Fire Safety Order, the new act now allows fire and rescue authorities to enforce against non-compliance regarding external walls and standard doors of a building.
Why is The Fire Safety Act important?
The Fire Safety act insists that if the responsible person(s) fails to comply with its requirements, the fire service can enforce action. The act’s introduction places further responsibilities on the responsible person(s), and those who fail to comply with the guidance are liable to criminal prosecution or a fine. In short, the remit of a fire risk assessment has increased, and it is essential that these responsible persons(s) fully understand what is expected of them and that they know that if they do not fully understand this, there may be far-reaching legal consequences.
How FireCloud365 can help you maintain high standards of Fire Safety
With increasing pressure on leaseholders to adhere to fire safety regulations, never has there been a more critical time to bring your fire prevention activity into the 21st century. Firecloud365 is a digital technology which manages fire safety in any building. We are widely acknowledged as the #1 choice for hotels worldwide, meaning we have experience in a wide range of multiple occupancy buildings.
FireCloud365 schedules. Automates and reports on your daily firewalk, offering you accountability and transparency, providing peace of mind that your building is safe, and avoiding costly legal activity.