Our commitment to fire safety
Runnymede Borough Council recognises its responsibility as social landlord to ensure that residents, staff, contractors and visitors to properties and properties managed by Runnymede Council are safeguarded in the event of fire.
To underpin our commitment to working towards best practice in fire safety, we are now member of the Fire Protection Association (FPA).
The FRA is the UK's leading fire safety organisation, committed to setting the highest industry standards, influencing policy, and supporting its 4000+ members.
New Fire Safety Regulations for 2023
After the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, serious questions were raised about the current fire safety regulations for multi-occupied residential buildings and the safety standards for firefighting. Since January 2023, the New Fire Safety Regulations officially came into effect, and with them came crucial changes for those responsible for high-rise residential buildings.
The new Fire Safety Regulations bring about new obligations for checking fire-fighting equipment, routinely checking fire doors, providing fire safety instructions to all residents and more.
In this article, we will cover all the new, important changes that have come with the new Fire Safety Act.
What are the new safety regulations?
The new Fire Safety Act 2021 was created with the intention to expand upon many of the already existing regulations in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to ensure improved fire safety standards in larger buildings. With this, the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations officially came into law on January 23rd, 2023.
The Fire Safety Act 2021 clarifies pre-existing duties and adds new ones for the responsible person of multi-occupied residential buildings. It ensures that these standards are retained throughout the entire premises.
This includes external walls and entrance doors that connect common parts with domestic parts of the building. In the new Fire Safety Act, balconies, windows and cladding all fall under the category of external walls to ensure that the risk of fire is minimised as much as possible. This is largely as result of the Grenfell Fire in which cladding was key factor in spreading the blaze.
New Building Safety Reform - What does it mean for tenants in residential buildings?
The building safety reforms are designed to help ensure that your home is safe and that you feel safe. The reforms will apply to high-rise buildings in England. They'll help protect you from fire and structural problems in your home.
Each high-rise building will have an accountable person who will need to make sure that your building is safe - but residents will have part to play.
As resident in high-rise building you must not:
- do anything that creates significant risk to your building’ structural safety
- do anything that creates significant risk of causing or spreading fire in your building
- damage or remove any of your building’ fire safety measures, such as smoke detectors, fire alarms, fire doors, and fire extinguishers (if present).
The rules of conduct above naturally remain desirable in any residential building.
Where resident notices an issue concerning any of the above, they should report this to the Accountable Person and / or the Responsible Person by email on FireSafety@runnymede.gov.uk
Residents must comply with request by the Accountable Person so they can assess and manage building safety risks.
Your Accountable Person will also need to keep you informed about your building. In some situations, they'll need to ask for your views.
What is the new Building Safety Act 2022?
The Building Safety Act 2022 sets out safety requirements for landlords of higher-risk buildings.
Higher-risk buildings are
- at least 18 or 7 storeys high
- with 2 or more residential units
The safety rules cover the different stages of building
- design stage
- planning stage
- construction stage
- whilst tenants and leaseholders live in building
The Building Safety Bill became legislation known as the Building Safety Act 2022. It received Royal Assent on the 28 April 2022.
Full implementation of the Building Safety Act is October 2023, which means each building owner should have their building safety regime in place by this time.
Tenants and leaseholders
The Act outlines what tenants and leaseholders must do around
- personal building safety responsibilities for your home and communal areas
- ongoing building safety costs (payable by leaseholders who have leases for at least 7 years)
Tenants and leaseholders in higher-risk blocks will receive resident engagement strategy.
The Act has also introduced protections for qualifying leaseholders. This includes
- Not paying towards the cost of removing dangerous cladding on buildings
- Capping the amount that leaseholders will contribute to the cost of fixing non-cladding defects on buildings
New Building Safety Regulator has been set up to oversee building owners of higher-risk buildings are carrying out their building safety responsibilities. There are laid out in the Building Safety Act 2022
This regulator will be run by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
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