Building owners could face unlimited fines following a Home Office announcement of a raft of new measures aimed at strengthening fire safety.
These new measures, announced as part of the government’s response to the Fire Safety Consultation, will come into force as part of the legislation in the Building Safety Bill.
They will amend the Fire Safety Order and will include a requirement for fire risk assessments to be recorded for each building and improve how fire safety information is handed over throughout the lifetime of a building.
The government said the new measures will:
- Improve the quality of fire risk assessments and competence of those who complete them;
- Ensure vital fire safety information is preserved over the lifespan of all regulated buildings;
- Improve cooperation and coordination amongst people responsible for fire safety and making it easier to identify who they are;
- Strengthen enforcement action, with anyone impersonating or obstructing a fire inspector facing unlimited fines;
- Strengthen guidance issued under the Fire Safety Order so that failure to follow it may be considered in court proceedings as evidence of a breach or of compliance;
- Improve the engagement between Building Control Bodies and Fire Authorities in reviewing plans for building work;
- Require all new flats above 11m tall to install premises information boxes.
The Fire Safety Consultation took place last year, with feedback from over 250 stakeholders with an interest in building and fire safety.
The government said it planned to launch a further consultation on personal emergency evacuation plans this spring to seek additional views on implementing the relevant Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations.
The Home Office said that subject to the Fire Safety Bill receiving Royal Assent, it would lay regulations before the second anniversary of the Grenfell Inquiry Phase 1 Report which will deliver on the Inquiry’s recommendations.
Roy Wilsher, National Fire Chiefs Council chair, said: “Ultimately, we want to see safer buildings for residents and are committed to working constructively with the Home Office and other partners on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations and other key fire safety policy areas.”