Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Global, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
January 13, 2020

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Fire safety

Queen’s Speech outlines fire safety as key priority

The Queen’s Speech outlined that fire safety will be made a key priority in 2020, with new measures also set to be brought forward to improve building safety.

Within the Speech, it was said that “Measures will be brought forward to protect tenants and to improve building safety”, within the Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill.

QueensSpeech-Legislation-20The purpose of the Building Safety Bill is to “put in place new and enhanced regulatory regimes for building safety and construction products and ensure residents have a stronger voice in the system”. It will learn from the lessons of Grenfell and fundamental changes will be taken forward to the regulatory framework for high-rise residential buildings, as well as to improve the culture of the industry.

Meanwhile, the Fire Safety Bill is set to “deliver meaningful change” to ensure tragedies such as Grenfell never happens again and ensure that buildings owners and managers fully consider the risks of construction materials such as external wall systems and fire doors used in their properties.

Clearly, the Bill emphasises the need for responsibility on the part of building owners and managers. Key points on this matter include:

  • Strengthening the relevant enforcement powers to hold building owners and managers to account
  • Ensuring that they are clear they are responsible for assessing the risks of external walls and fire doors in buildings of any height

It highlighted the concerns of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review, which found the “current regulatory system is not fit for purpose in relation to high-rise and complex buildings” and said that it would be taking all 53 of the recommendations forward. Currently the Bill’s provisions would only cover England, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remaining independent from any changes.

National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) chair Roy Wilsher commented: “I was pleased to see the vitally important area of building safety referenced in the Queen’s Speech.”

“It is essential this work happens at pace to ensure people feel safe in their homes, while dealing with the broken building regulations system. This simply cannot be allowed to continue; I will be pushing for this to happen.

“NFCC will continue to work with the Government to push this area of work forward, while calling for increased protection resources to make it a reality and to ensure fire services are given the additional resources to undertake this work.

“The work to remove dangerous cladding needs to move much more quickly, as people across the country are living in clad buildings. The recent student accommodation fire in Bolton was a stark reminder of the need to build and maintain buildings properly and the need to address timber-frame building fires which have also been prevalent this year.”

Read the Queen’s Speech in full.

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