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New fire safety guidance comes into force on 1 October 2023

11 April 2023

COMMENCEMENT REGULATIONS for new fire safety legal provisions contained within Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 have been laid in Parliament.

Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 makes a number of amendments to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to improve fire safety in all buildings regulated by the latter.

These improvements form Phase 3 of the Home Office’s fire safety reform programme, building on Phase 1 (the introduction of the Fire Safety Act 2021) and Phase 2, framed by the delivery of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, which commenced in January.

Phase 3 further strengthens fire safety in all Fire Safety Order regulated premises by:

*improving co-operation and co-ordination between ‘Responsible Persons’ by increasing requirements in relation to the recording and sharing of fire safety information, thereby creating a continual record throughout a building’s lifespan

*making it easier for enforcement authorities to take action against non-compliance

*ensuring residents have access to comprehensive information about fire safety in their building

At this stage, the Government is not commencing a requirement for ‘Responsible Persons’ to ensure that anyone they appoint to conduct a fire risk assessment is competent. The Government is “actively working” with the sector to develop a robust roll-out plan and will provide more information on this in the coming months.

Guidance to support ‘Responsible Persons’ in understanding and meeting these new requirements will be published before they come into force.

In addition, the Government has published three new fire safety guides focused on small non-domestic premises, small blocks of flats and smaller premises offering sleeping accommodation. These replace the old short guide to making premises safe from fire.

On top of that, the Government has also published and updated the fire risk assessment checklist.