From 1 October 2023, new fire safety legislation comes into effect which will impose new duties on businesses and buildings owners.
The Fire Safety Order is the primary fire safety legislation in England and Wales, and it applies to all non-domestic premises as well as the communal parts of residential buildings. Changes to this legislation have been introduced through the Building Safety Act 2022 and represent the next phase of the governments fire safety reform programme.
The main changes introduced by the legislation are:
Written fire risk assessment and fire safety arrangements
The previous requirement to have a written fire risk assessment only applied in certain circumstances (e.g. where the responsible person employees five or more persons). This will no longer be the case, and if you are a responsible person, then you will need to record both your fire risk assessment and fire safety arrangement in full, regardless of the size or purpose of the business or premises.
Enhanced requirements for cooperation and coordination
In premises where there is more than one responsible person, for example in multi-occupied premises or buildings where the occupier and building owner are different entities, there are increased requirements for cooperation and coordination between responsible persons.
Provision of information to residents
In residential buildings with two or more domestic premises (e.g. blocks of flats) then the responsible owner must provide residents with information on the risks from fire within their building and the fire safety measures provided to keep them safe. This requirement expands upon legislation introduced earlier this year that required responsible persons to provide residents with information on emergency procedures and the importance of fire doors.
For further information on all the changes to legislation and what you need to do to comply, the Government has published guidance which is available on the Government's website.