Now that many businesses are again up and running following the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, government thoughts are turning to housing – and social housing in particular.
In their latest report, in October last year, the Housing Regulator pointed out there were still a number of risks facing the social housing sector. Providers, it said, should be taking steps to manage those risks. Those include local authorities, and councils, of course.
@RSHEngland: “Boards will need to understand how legal requirements are changing and have assurance about health and safety so that tenants are safe in their homes.”
Grenfell And Tightening Of Fire Safety Laws
Possibly one of the biggest risks – especially in light of the Grenfell Tower disaster – is fire safety. However, with good fire safety management, this can be mitigated to a large extent.
Three years after the tragedy, new fire safety and building regulations were introduced. This included the need for the Building Safety Manager to keep up-to-date records of safety precautions concerning fire and structural risks in the buildings. They must also take appropriate steps to mitigate and manage those risks. Fire risk assessments to be carried out are those outlined and amended in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Fire Safety Order).
The Fire Safety Act 2021 has been in force in Wales since October last year (it still requires secondary legislation in England). In January this year, health care provider BUPA received a £1m fine for failing in its fire risk assessment management. This makes it clear how seriously the government is taking the fire legislation, meaning all social housing providers should be as up-to-date as possible with their fire risk management and assessment plans.
Social Housing And The Act
The Act makes clear that the order applies to any building with ‘two or more sets of domestic premises.’ It references the building’s structure, external walls and any common parts. The latter includes the individual front doors, external windows and balconies.
Social Housing providers, the Act states, should be able to demonstrate to the regulators that they have taken all possible steps to protect the householders of their properties from the risk of fire.
Being non-compliant through ignorance is not an excuse in the eyes of the regulator – hence, fire assessments should be carried out on an annual basis at least.
Get In Touch
Here at FireRite, we carry out regular fire safety assessments and offer advice with regard to ongoing safety in social housing and commercial premises.
We can ensure that you are compliant with current fire safety law, as well as train staff in methods of best practice concerning protecting both your employees and your building.
We are a family-run business with more than 30 years of experience within the fire industry. We are proud to say that we were awarded ‘Best Fire Safety & Compliance Consultancy Business 2020 & 2021’ at the Welsh Enterprise Awards. As a team, we are also members of various fire safety-related organisations, such as BAFE, BSI, ECA, FIRAS, Constructionline, SAFE contractor and NSI.