Back arrowButton/calendaricon/lockicon/sponsor
Open search
Close search
Call us on0808 168 5874

We recently sat down with Phil Parsons, Health, Safety and Sustainability Consultant at Make UK, to answer some frequently asked questions regarding fire safety, particularly following recent changes to legislation.

Phil is a member of the Institute of Fire Safety Managers, indicated by the designatory letters MIFSM, and tier 2 on the Tiered Fire Risk Assessor Register (TFRAR).

What new fire safety legislation has been introduced?

Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) makes several amendments to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) to improve fire safety. These improvements form Phase 3 of the Home Office’s fire safety reform programme, building on Phase 1 (the Fire Safety Act 2021) and Phase 2 (the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022).

Phase 1 and Phase 2 focused specifically on improving fire safety in residential buildings. Phase 3, meanwhile, strengthens fire safety in all FSO regulated premises, including factories and warehouses.

Why have there been so many recent changes?

The Grenfell tragedy, in which 72 people died because of a fire in a London tower-block in 2017, highlighted the unsuitability of existing fire safety and general building safety legislation. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was nearly 20 years old, so it’s had a much-needed update.

The new regulations appear to focus on tall buildings (tower-blocks, flats). If I’m responsible for a single-storey building; do the new regulations affect me?

Admittedly, a big focus has been on buildings over 11m, however, many of the regulations introduced impact everyone.

The new regulations have placed more emphasis on responsible persons, increased requirements in relation to the recording and sharing of fire safety information, and also made it easier for enforcement authorities to take action against non-compliance.

What are the new requirements in relation to fire risk assessments?

When carrying out a risk assessments, you must now record the fire risk assessment in full and make as much information as possible about fire safety available. This new requirement replaces the previous requirement to record only the significant findings of the risk assessment. It also removes the previous limitations on the circumstances within which you are required to record both the risk assessment and the fire safety arrangements at your premises, such as only being required to record this information if there were five or more employees or where subject to licensing or an alterations notice

Can I employ a fire risk assessor to complete a fire risk assessment on my behalf?

In short, yes.

But, you must record their name and, where applicable, their organisation name. You are responsible for ensuring the fire risk assessment is suitable and sufficient, therefore it’s imperative that you’re confident that any external fire risk assessors used are competent.

How can you be sure of competence?

Competence is usually defined by having sufficient training, skills and qualifications. Check that anyone you’re using has appropriate accredited qualifications and are registered with a professional body. The Institute of Fire Safety Managers (IFSM) is a highly regarded professional body, with a tiered register of fire risk assessors to help you select a suitably competent fire professional.

There is legislation coming that will clarify competence and provide associated guidance.

How can Make UK help?

A number of Make UK Consultants are members of the IFSM at associate and member level, recognising professional development within the Institute. We also have consultants, like myself, who are on the Tiered Fire Risk Assessor Register (TFRAR).

As a Health, Safety and Sustainability member, you can use your consultancy day for support with fire safety. If you’re not a member, we’d be happy to provide consultancy support for you on an ad hoc basis, as required.

Additionally, to improve competency within your organisation we have several relevant training courses:

For more information on which course we’d recommend for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us – call 0808 168 5874 or email [email protected]

Blog / Make UK / Health Safety and Sustainability