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27 October 2023

Changes to fire safety law

Persons affected by Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022:

  1. Responsible Persons: The guidance primarily affects responsible persons, defined as individuals or entities responsible for ensuring fire safety in non-domestic premises, which include workplaces and non-domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings (e.g., communal corridors and stairways).
  2. Responsible Persons in higher-risk residential buildings: Responsible persons in higher-risk residential buildings (defined as at least 18 meters in height, with at least seven stories and containing at least two residential units) must cooperate with accountable persons, who are typically freeholders or landlords.
  3. Residents of multi-occupied domestic premises: The changes also impact residents of multi-occupied domestic premises by requiring responsible persons to provide them with relevant fire safety information.

Summary of the changes:

Responsible persons must now:

  • Record the fire risk assessment in full, including all findings.
  • Record the identity of individuals or organisations engaged to undertake or review the fire risk assessment and share this information.
  • Record their fire safety arrangements and demonstrate how fire safety is managed on their premises.
  • Record and update their contact information, including a UK-based address, and share this information with others.
  • Take steps to identify and cooperate with other responsible persons in the same premises.
  • Share relevant fire safety information with incoming responsible persons in case of changes in ownership or responsibility.

Responsible persons in multi-occupied residential buildings must also:

  • Ensure residents receive information about identified fire risks, fire safety measures, contact information of the responsible person, and more from the responsible person.

Responsible persons in higher-risk residential buildings must also:

  • Cooperate with Accountable Persons to facilitate a whole-building approach to fire safety. This includes sharing information like the fire risk assessment to maintain the highest level of safety in these buildings.

Other changes that also apply:

  • Increased fines for certain offences under the Fire Safety Order.
  • Strengthened status of guidance issued under Article 50 of the Fire Safety Order, making it admissible in court proceedings to establish compliance or breach.

More information on fire safety law and responsibilities

For further detail on the changes brought in by Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022, view the government guidance.

For more guidance on responsibilities under fire safety law, view this collection.

Further guidance on fire risk management

View our fire safety guide for charities, for an overview of managing fire risk.

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