Insights: Fire Safety and Protection
What The Building Safety Act 2022 means for fire compliance

From Tuesday 28th June 2022, the leaseholder protections in the Building Safety Act 2022 came into force. The Act is aimed at all parts of the building lifecycle: from the initial planning stages to design, construction, maintenance and so on. The Act therefore applies to those involved in any stage of this process, including developers and landlords. This includes tenant’s rights and responsibilities when it comes to building safety.

Who is responsible?

The new construction products regulator will have powers to issue penalties against suppliers or manufacturers who fail to comply with rules on information. It will also be able to enforce orders for recall and remedial action for defective products, as well as issuing notices requiring a supplier or manufacturer to provide information about their products. The new regulator requires companies that supply construction products to register with them and meet certain minimum standards – such as having adequate financial resources and carrying out product testing, where required.

The principal accountable person is regarded as being responsible for ensuring that people are protected from the risk of a reasonably foreseeable enforcement action on the premises. There are a number of things that they can do including, engaging with residents on aspects relating to the management and safety of the building and preparing a strategy to do so.

The act introduces a legislative ban on repairing unauthorised works in relation to certain defects causing a risk to the safety of people in or about the building due to the spread of fire, or the collapse of all or part of the building. The scope of work that requires consent is extended and there will be restrictions on recovery from leaseholders through service charges, including caps on contributions introduced.

As the property owner or landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure that any danger to people or property is assessed and steps have been taken to minimise these risks. A record of the findings must be kept, along with the actions taken and update these regularly. This should be reassessed if the building changes use or is refurbished. The overhaul will require building owners to demonstrate safety at each of three ‘gateways’ in planning and design, construction and occupation. This will be monitored by a new Building Safety Regulator with powers to stop works and demand documents as necessary.

The cost of non-compliance

The act has a wide range of enforcement powers, including the ability to issue compliance notices to principals or accountable persons who fail to comply with the act. Additionally, the act provides for the appointment of a ‘special measures manager’ to carry out the functions of all accountable persons.

Companies that sell products that are inherently defective or marketed on the basis of misleading statements will become liable to pay damages to people with a relevant interest in affected buildings, including those who have suffered economic loss. This can include tenants and owners, as well as occupiers.

It is important that those responsible are aware of their responsibility and how to provide an appropriate assessment according to the law. If your assessment and fire safety provisions are thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, this could result in a heavy fine and even imprisonment.

Regular fire risk assessments will enable you to ensure the efficiency of your wider fire safety system and ensure peace of mind. By certifying adherence to regulations through a third-party certified provider, reduced false alarms and maximised compliance with regulations are guaranteed. Compliance Group provides comprehensive fire prevention and protection, ensuring complete fire safety compliance, covering all aspects of both passive and automatic fire prevention. Contact us at info@compliancegroup.uk to discuss how we can ensure your fire compliance and safety.

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