Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, existing fire safety regulations has been heavily publicised and debated.

The Fire Safety Act 2021 was introduced by the Home Office to improve the fire safety in buildings across England and Wales. And in April 2021 it received Royal Accent, putting it on the path to becoming law.

The changes from the Fire Safety Order 2005 to the Fire Safety Act 2021 helps clarify the responsibilities of what is known as the ‘Responsible Person(s)’.

What is the Fire Safety Act 2021?

The Bill has been designed to ‘ensure that people feel safe in their homes and a tragedy like the Grenfell Tower fire will never happen again.’ (Fire Protection Online)

The changes mostly apply to any premises that comprise of anything other than a single dwelling, such as multi-occupied and residential buildings. This means that even a house converted into two flats needs a risk assessment and adequate fire safety measures as well as a high-rise building with hundreds of apartments.

Now, the responsible person – such as the leaseholder – must ensure a fire risk assessment is completed for the structure and the external walls, including the doors and windows within those walls, and attachments such as balconies, cladding and insulation. Action to remove or negate the risks identified must then be taken.

Another area of clarification is the responsibility of entrance doors to individual flats that open into communal areas; these now fall to the responsible person to ensure they are fully compliant and maintained. The fire doors will need to have all the correct intumescent and fire-rated hardware, as well as a risk assessment.

Additionally, the Fire Safety Act 2021 now allows enforcement action against responsible persons far easier by the fire service and Government. As such, risk assessments are your best defense as they enable you to not only ensure you’re doing everything practically possible to prevent and protect against fire in the first place, but also to prove it.

When does the Fire Safety Act 2021 changes come into effect?

Although the law was passed on the 29th of April 2021, it is unlikely that the Fire Safety Act will be bought into force until the beginning half of 2022 – the Government has yet to set a date. Once the date is announced, there will likely then be a grace period before the updated legislation is enforced.

The new Fire Safety Order is also designed to make it easier for additional legislation – such as those based on the recommendations made when the Grenfell Tower Inquiry concludes – to pass into law.

Of course, we recommend that responsible persons act now to ensure their residential buildings are already compliant with the new legislation. You can do this by making sure you’re familiar with the materials used within the structure and external walls and their fire prevention merits, as well as ensuring all risk assessments and maintenance is up to date.

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About Cannon Fire Protection

With over 30 years experience, Cannon Fire Protection has developed an excellent reputation within the fire protection industry throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. 

For well over a decade now the company has focused on supporting fire industry trade users, providing turnkey solutions for fixed fire suppression. Independent auditing of our quality management systems, contracting and service operations ensures the very best provision of support in our sector.