The Fire Safety Bill that was announced in the Queen’s Speech has now been launched and is making its way through the parliamentary process.
As introduced the Bill amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and is expected to result in greater clarity over responsibility for fire safety in buildings containing more than one home.
Specifically the Bill clarifies that the responsibility of the duty holder or responsible person for multi-occupied residential buildings includes the building’s structure and external walls and any common parts, including the front doors of residential parts. It also clarifies that external walls in the order include “doors or windows in those walls” and “anything attached to the exterior of those walls (including balconies).”
It is anticipated that these amendments will provide for increased enforcement action in these areas, particularly where remediation of aluminium composite material cladding is not taking place.
This Bill covers England and Wales, separate fire safety legislation is in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Although fire safety is devolved in Wales, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order is shared. The Bill also provides English and Welsh Ministers with a regulation making power to amend the type of buildings the order applies to in the future.
The Bill had its second reading on 29th April 2020 and has now been sent to a Public Bill Committee which will scrutinise the Bill line by line, the Committee is scheduled to report by 25th June 2020. You can keep up to date with the process of the Bill on the Parliament website at: https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-21/firesafety.html
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