In March 2020, to prevent a further tragedy like the Grenfell Tower fire, the Government introduced the draft Fire Safety Bill. The aim of this new bill is to improve fire safety in buildings in England and Wales.
Once the bill becomes law, it will mean amendments to the Fire Safety Order 2005 to clarify that the responsible person or duty-holder for multi-occupied, residential buildings must manage and reduce the risk of fire. The bill will also provide clarification over who is assigned what responsibility for fire safety in buildings containing more than one home or tenant.
The final Bill is expected to be released later this year but until then, landlords of multi-occupancy buildings (HMO’s) need to keep up-to-date with the proposed changes so they are compliant at all times.
An important change that the bill will include is that it will enable the fire service to hold owners of buildings accountable if correct measures are not in place. As a result, the construction industry in particular, including architects and building designers, will need to be accountable for new areas, including regular inspections of lifts and reporting results to local fire services.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has caused a distraction for many landlords and businesses owners have been doing their utmost to ensure their buildings or commercial premises are safe and secure for tenants, employees, clients or visitors. As a result, fire safety operations have taken a bit of a back seat.
So given that a new fire safety bill is imminent, there are a number of measure both landlords and business owners can take to keep their premises fire safe and to prepare for the new legislation.
Firstly, you should check that all existing fire safety equipment is fit for purpose and not damaged. All equipment should have had a compulsory, annual service (even if you are closed for business or your staff has been furloughed).
At Hartson Fire, throughout lockdown, our engineers have been carrying out regular servicing of our clients’ fire extinguishers, with all social distancing and safety measures in place to ensure their buildings remain safe at all times.
We also recommend that you check on the locations of your extinguishers and that you have the correct equipment in the right places. If you are unsure, our engineers can give advice and help during the annual servicing.
At the same time, you should also check on that you have the correct and adequate fire safety signage in place and that it is easily visible to those working in or visiting the building. And, if you are still open, don’t forget to carry out those all-important fire drills!!!
If you’re a landlord of an HMO or a commercial business owner and not sure about how the new rules may affect your fire safety equipment or procedures, then call a member of our team below to book your next service: