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The Fire Safety Act 2021 - Update

The Fire Safety Bill was introduced in March 2020 following the Grenfell Tower fire in June
2017 and was made law on 29 April 2021 when it became the Fire Safety Act 2021.

The Fire Safety Act amends parts of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 by
confirming that duty-holders/building owners of buildings containing more than 1 domestic
premises must manage and reduce the risk of fire for:

  • The building’s structure and external walls (including cladding, doors, windows and
    balconies); and
  • All doors to individual flats that open into common parts.

The Act will be enforceable after the Government publishes further guidance which is expected
to occur in early 2022.

In this document we lay out what is expected, what the new requirements will be and how we
intend to implement them.

New Requirements for Fire Risk Assessments

Fire Risk Assessments will need to be separated from General Health and Safety Risk
Assessments and will have to be completed on a block by block basis with an individual report
for each block.

Annual risk assessments will be required for most buildings. The concept of triennial full
assessments with interim reviews will no longer be found appropriate.

Fire Risk Assessments will need to take into account all demised doors leading into a common
part (i.e. flat entrance doors). We expect that further guidance will specify the percentage of
flat entrance doors that need to be inspected and the frequency of inspections.

In order to determine the extent of a risk, it is expected that more comprehensive risk
assessments may be required in the form of being intrusive and/or extending the scope to
demised areas.

Fire Risk Assessors will need to demonstrate they have appropriate qualifications,
competence and experience to consider their risk assessments to be valid.
Additional Requirements: FRAA, PEEP and PIB

The Act requires a fire assessment for the external wall (including windows, doors and
balconies) for buildings of any height. It is expected that this will be fulfilled by a Fire Risk
Appraisal and Assessment (FRAA) of the external wall. Further Government guidance will
provide more clarification on how frequent these assessments will have to be done and
confirm the extent and applicable code of practice.

It has been proposed that the Responsible Person should prepare a Personal Emergency
Evacuation Plan (PEEP) for every resident in a high-rise residential building who selfidentifies
to them as unable to self-evacuate (subject to the resident’s voluntary selfidentification)
and to do so in consultation with them.

Up to date information about residents in their building who would require a PEEP will then be
placed in a Premises Information Box (PIB) on the premises to assist effective evacuation
during a rescue by the Fire and Rescue Service.

Our approach

This Act will require some time for the market to adapt which may be hindered by the current
shortage of fire safety professionals, suitable contractors, construction staff and materials.
While these additional requirements and related remedial actions will increase the fire safety
of residents and visitors, they will introduce new costs and increase the costs of regular risk

The Government is due to announce further support in line with the loans previously
announced for buildings between 11 and 18 meters (there is some speculation that this loans
idea might be replaced). This would help to alleviate the cost of remedial actions that may be
identified by the new risk assessment regime.

At Encore we have been working with our H&S team and external consultants to implement
these new requirements. Our priority is the life safety of all residents and visitors while also
ensuring that measures put forward are cost efficient and commensurate with any identified
risks. After the Government publishes further guidance, we will be able to confirm the costs
with service providers and secure the best service and cost for you.

Building Safety Bill

In addition to the Fire Safety act 2021, the Building Safety Bill which is intended to come into
force in early 2023, will introduce a Building Safety Regulator to implement and oversee a
robust regime for high-risk buildings (buildings that are at least 18 metres in height or have at
least 7 storeys) and will set out a clear pathway on how residential buildings are constructed,
maintained and made safe.

We are part of multiple H&S forums and collaborating with ARMA (Association of Residential
Managing Agents) to provide our feedback on the published bill and make sure that any new
legislation is workable, takes into consideration residents’ views and costs